12 Best Collagen-Rich Foods – Foods High in Collagen
Many of us are looking for that perfect anti-aging skin care routine. We use all sorts of face washes, creams, and supplements in the morning — maybe a night mask or a serum before bed. We go to spas or treatment centers to get acid peels, or use makeup to cover up the wrinkles we don’t like.
While there’s nothing wrong with any of this, you might find that all of these treatments are creating a deeper hole in your wallet than you’d like.T he good news is, you can save a buck by eating foods that help the body produce its natural anti-aging protein: collagen.
“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body,” explains Marisa Moore, RDN, LD. “It is present in skin, muscle, bone, and connective tissues and plays a key role in joint health and maintaining supple skin and elasticity.” As we get older, our body produces less collagen, she adds.
But the speed of that aging process is different for everyone. “How quickly we lose collagen varies with several factors including the environment and genetics,” she says.
So to make sure you’re giving your body the ingredients it needs to keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy and glowing, here are the 12 biggest collagen-rich foods that can help.
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Fish (with the Skin!)
Next time you’re eating a salmon dinner, you might want to leave the skin on, suggests Moore. Fish, in general, is already a great option as it’s rich in the amino acids needed to produce collagen. But ever wonder why a fish’s skin is so smooth after you remove the scales? That’s because there’s a high concentration of Type I collagen, which accounts for the majority of collagen in skin.
Red Bell Peppers
“Vitamin C is one of the primary nutrients involved in collagen synthesis,” says Moore, and red bell peppers are chockfull of it. This isn’t to hate on our green and yellow varieties, of course. Red peppers are just super ripe green peppers, while yellow peppers are somewhere in the middle. Each have vitamin C. But the older the pepper gets, the more vitamin C it contains, making the red ones even more useful for that collagen factory.
Tomatoes — especially sun-dried tomatoes — also contain high levels of the vitamin C needed for collagen production. They also contain antioxidant lycopene, which is known to protect skin from sun damage and collagen breakdown. Toss these in a salad or place them on top of your pasta to add a little tang to you plates. Grape tomatoes also make a healthy grab-and-go snack on their own.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries … all of them contain a great dose of vitamin C that’s works wonders on the skin. They also have ellagic acid which fights against UV ray damage, according to research.
If you’re about to bite into a burger or sink your teeth into a juicy steak, know that piece of meat is high in zinc. Zinc is one of the essential ingredients to collagen production, says Moore. What’s more, beef contains three of the amino acids that make up collagen: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
Here’s another fun fact about vitamin C: this nutrient is what helps link amino acids during collagen production. People often consider citrus fruits to be the kings and queens of vitamin C. But other fruits and veggies have been found to carry more. Still, one medium-sized orange has about 70 mg of vitamin C. That’s respectable considering the recommended daily value for an adult woman is 75 milligrams.
Scramble ’em. Fry ’em, Boil ’em. Just remember to keep the yolk. That gooey yellow center contains collagen that will help keep your hair nice and shiny. The egg whites also carry the animo acids needed to make collagen.
Dark Leafy Greens
Greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and rainbow chard are known for carrying all sorts of nutrients — including that oh-so-desirable vitamin C. But the nutrient that makes these veggies green is just as important to keeping your skin healthy. Chlorophyll, the source of the pigment, may increase the amount of procollagen (the precursor to collagen).
Like beef and fish, chicken has all of the animo acids required to make collagen. In general, if you’re a meat eater who eats a balanced plate of protein and vegetables, you’re probably giving your skin a good dose of what it needs to stay as smooth as possible.
Legumes contain many minerals and proteins that will help your skin. Chickpeas are especially great for collagen synthesis because they are rich in zinc and vitamin C.
Once you read this, you might find yourself casually slurping these at home on the couch instead of waiting for that rare occasion you go out for oysters and cocktails with your friends. Oysters contain high levels of copper which, according to Moore, is another mineral that helps us to create collagen.
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