What foods increase collagen production in the body?
April 08, 2019
Everyone loves food and chowing down on a healthy, nutritious meal, but you might be wondering what foods increase collagen production.
Topical creams and lotions can’t really boost collagen, it must be done through dietary intake.
That’s why our ingestible supplements work so well to kick-start collagen production.
So what foods increase collagen production and help us to keep looking and feeling our best?
Let’s explore the different types of nutrients that can positively impact the collagen production process.
The importance of nutrients
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that it’s not the foods themselves that affect collagen production, it’s the powerful nutrients contained within these foods.
There are many different vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are great for stimulating, supporting and encouraging collagen production, and we’re going to take a look at some of the most vital nutrients to collagen synthesis.
These are Vitamin C, proline, anthocyanidins, copper and lysine.
Here are 5 collagen-boosting foods that everyone should think about adding to their shopping list:
Vitamin C is shown to support collagen synthesis in the body, so if we’re thinking about what foods increase collagen production, Vitamin C is the obvious place to start.
Vitamin C is an essential building block in the collagen production process, and a deficiency can actually prevent the body not only from making enough collagen but from being able to store it properly too.
That’s why it’s an important ingredient in our sachets.
Unfortunately, the body doesn’t hold onto Vitamin C for long, which means daily intake is important.
The good news is that high levels of Vitamin C are found in citrus fruits like oranges, as well as in blackcurrants and strawberries.
Also try … red peppers, tomatoes and leafy green vegetables.
An estimated 17% of collagen is made up of an amino acid called proline, and it’s what helps give collagen its structure and stability.
The body does actually make its own proline, but as our need for it increases as we age, the body often struggles to keep up, which means it relies heavily on what we give it through our diets.
Chicken and other meats, including beef and turkey, are excellent sources of proline, but there are plenty of options for those following vegetarian and vegan diets too.
Dairy products such as cheese are good choices, along with cabbage, bamboo shoots and soy products such as tofu.
Also try … oily fish like tuna, white beans and eggs (especially the whites).
While anthocyanidins (a type of plant pigment) aren’t thought to directly affect collagen production in the body, they still make the list for being highly effective at keeping the collagen that the body does make strong and healthy.
Anthocyanidins have clear collagen-stabilising properties that reduce the risk of them being destroyed and help to keep your collagen levels up so that you can enjoy more consistent benefits.
As a purple-coloured plant pigment, anthocyanidins are typically found in dark fruits and vegetables, such as blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, red cabbage and red radish.
Also try … other fruits like grapes, plums and prunes.
4. Pumpkin seeds
Collagen production relies heavily upon a number of enzyme reactions taking place within the body.
One of these necessary reactions occurs between an enzyme called lysyl oxidase and the mineral copper.
Therefore, copper is perhaps just as important as Vitamin C when it comes to collagen synthesis.
To prevent a copper deficiency, health professionals advise that the average healthy adult should be consuming 1.2mg of copper per day through their diet.
Fortunately, copper is present in a wide range of foods, including pumpkin seeds, leafy greens, shellfish (such as oysters) and organ meats (such as the liver).
Also try … dark chocolate, mushrooms and other types of nuts and seeds.
The important collagen-producing reaction between lysyl oxidase and copper requires two components.
We’ve already looked at the role of copper, but how about the role of lysyl oxidase?
Lysyl oxidase is an enzyme that includes the amino acid lysine; something that the body cannot make on its own and so relies heavily upon dietary intake.
Lysine is primarily found in meats, cheeses and fish, so you may want to eat more of these foods to increase collagen production, although peas are also an excellent source, along with many other types of bean and pulse. White beans, black beans, lentils and quinoa are good.
Also try … fruits and vegetables, including dried varieties such as dried apricots.
What not to eat
We’ve looked at what foods increase collagen production, but are there any foods that could actually decrease collagen production?
It’s certainly possible. Although it’s more common to see foods have an impact upon the lifecycle of collagen, rather than directly affecting production levels.
There are actually some foods that can result in a very significant collagen decline, with sugar being the worst offender.
High blood sugar levels can increase the number of harmful compounds in the body called advanced glycation end products, which can weaken collagen or even destroy it altogether.
This can leave your skin feeling dry and dull and make hair and nails more brittle and prone to breakages. Cutting out sugar — or reducing your intake — can boost collagen levels, and there are other benefits to a low sugar diet too.
Seeing the benefits
Understanding what foods increase collagen production, and working to include more of these foods within your diet, is one of the best ways to encourage the body to increase its rate of production.
However, food alone is not always powerful enough to provide differences that we can see on the outside, as well as feel on the inside.
This is especially true for people who have notably slower rates of collagen production, such as those who smoke, those who sunbathe and the older generations.
To really see a difference, it’s best to take a combined approach to improve collagen production.
Making small changes to your diet, as well as taking collagen supplements like Absolute Collagen, provide the body with that little extra help it needs to keep you looking and feeling fresh and healthy.