Boost and Protect Collagen Through What You Eat For Healthy, Youthful Skin

Anthia Koullouros

Naturopath and Holistic Health Expert

Do you love all things anti ageing and anything that contributes to youthful looking skin? Well you’re probably familiar with collagen, a common ingredient found in our creams to improve skin strength and firmness. It’s the main structural protein in the human body found not only in our skin but also in our bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. It is also abundant in our corneas, blood vessels, the gut, discs and the dentin in our teeth.


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I’ve always been curious about whether the collagen we apply topically on our skin actually gets absorbed and have the same effect as the collagen we consume.

I have discovered that there are different forms of collagen used in the beauty industry, which can penetrate the deep skin layers, as well as beauty treatments that can stimulate new collagen growth.

For those naturally inclined individuals like me, who want to support Mother Nature’s route, we can eat certain foods to prevent collagen from deteriorating by providing essential nutrients to support collagen production, as well as consume high collagen rich foods.

Essential nutrients needed for collagen production include:

– Lysine is an amino acid that promotes the formation of both collagen and muscle protein. It also acts as an anti viral and is needed for hormone production and the growth and maintenance of bones. Lysine rich foods include cheese, eggs, fish, lima beans, milk, potatoes, red meat, soy products, and yeast.

– Proline is an amino acid needed for the production of collagen and cartilage. It is essential to the development and maintenance of healthy skin and connective tissues. Egg whites are a rich source but the richest source is gelatine powder.

– Vitamin C plays an essential role in the maintenance of a normal mature collagen network by preventing the auto-inactivation of lysyl and prolyl hyroxylase, two key enzymes in collagen biosynthesis. Vitamin C is found naturally in Gubinge fruit or kakadu plum, citrus, rosehips, cherries and kiwi fruit. Find out more about the source and other health benefits of Vitamin C here.

– Zinc is also essential in the production of collagen. Oysters are the richest source. Pastured chickens, eggs and meat are second to oysters.

– Vitamin E works synergistically with vitamin C to stimulate collagen formation. Vitamin E is found in wheatgerm oil and nuts and seeds.

Foods rich in collagen:

– The stuff that makes jelly, is the richest source of collagen. Choose unsweetened and additive free collagen powder that comes from healthy pastured animals. Brands like Great lakes and Jensen are excellent. Make delicious fresh fruit, sugar free jellies, panacottas or delicious natural treats like gummy bears.

– Collagen hydrolysate by Great lakes. “Hydrolyzed Collagen is unique in its amino acid structure because of its high amounts of glycine, lysine and proline, which are found in lower amounts in other protein food supplements. These particular amino acids are found to generate cell growth much quicker because the natural ability to produce supporting amounts of connective tissue diminishes after the age of 25. Hydrolyzed Collagen is easily digested because of its low molecular weight and is absorbed within 30 minutes. All of the amino acids collectively are beneficial to cell reproduction, but it is the distinctive spectrum of this product that impacts the metabolic pathways to healthy tissue”. Collagen hydrosylate won’t gel like regular gelatine, but it dissolves easily in cold drinks and hot drinks.

– Broth and soups made from bone stock. Bones that yield the most gelatine are those with plenty of skin, cartilage and tendons. You will know you have plenty of collagen in your stock when it sets like a wobbly gelatinous jelly in your fridge.

It goes with out saying that addressing and balancing day-to-day lifestyle factors, that contribute to the ageing process, go a long way in looking after our collagen – balance stress, eliminate smoking, and minimise sun damage and the consumption of sugar and other processed foods and additives.

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