Collagen is a trendy word in the health and wellness realm that is often mentioned but not talked about enough. In this article, we go into what collagen really is, the top 3 things it’s good for, and how to make sure you are getting adequate amounts!
What is collagen
Collagen is a protein that is one of the most plentiful proteins found in the body. It has many roles, including providing structure to our skin. It is also one of the major building blocks of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in other body parts like blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.
One way to think of it is that it’s the ‘glue’ that holds things together. There are actually 16 different types of collagen in our bodies! While we won’t go into all of them, there are four main types that are found in the greatest abundance. These types, also known as type 1, II, III, and IV, support and provide structure to our skin, bones, cartilage, organs, and arteries. As our body ages, we produce less and less collagen over time. One way this shows in our physical features is loosening skin.
Reasons to take collagen
- Collagen can improve your skin - Collagen plays a major role in skin health. It’s a main component of your skin and can help to strengthen it, improve elasticity, maintain hydration status. It also may reduce effects of aging of the skin such as wrinkles and dryness. Adequate collagen consumption through food and / or supplements can promote the production of collagen in your body.
- Collagen can relieve joint pain – Collagen maintains the integrity of cartilage which is a tissue that protects our joints. As we age and our collagen production is decreased, our risk of degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis increases. Collagen supplementation can reduce joint pain and improve symptoms.
- Collagen boosts muscle mass – Collagen can increase muscle mass as 1-10% of our muscle tissue is composed of collagen. Therefore, collagen helps to keep our muscles strong and functioning adequately. As we age, we are at risk of sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass due to aging), and collagen can help combat this. Collagen may promote the synthesis of other proteins such as creatinine which can stimulate new muscle growth.
Food sources of collagen
To see the health benefits of collagen, it’s important to make sure that you are obtaining adequate amounts! You can obtain collagen in two forms – from diet or supplementation. Supplementation comes in many different forms and therefore won’t be discussed in-depth in this article. There are also many supplement companies out there.
So what food sources are highest in collagen? Protein-rich foods, like meat, eggs, fish, seafood, beans, and dairy are all great sources of amino acids that will help your body make collagen. Bone broth and gelatin are other foods that are collagen-rich. Pure Plates offers many collagen containing foods so that you can see the benefits in your own health. Let them take the guess work out of which foods to eat for collagen benefits to make your life a bit easier!