Collagen Building Foods

Collagen is the foundation of healthy skin. It provides the natural support structure that gives skin strength and resilience. It helps our lips stay plump and prevents our cheeks from drooping into jowls. However, as we age, our body’s natural production of collagen decreases. Generally, the first signs of age-related collagen loss are fine lines, which can develop into wrinkles over time. Both men and women lose about one percent of their collagen per year after their 30th birthday. For women, however, this loss of collagen escalates significantly in the first five years after menopause.

To help combat this decline, here are nine collagen-boosting foods you can easily incorporate into your daily diet:

  1. Fish

    Omega-3 fatty acids create an ideal environment for collagen production. Find this nutrient in fish such as salmon and black cod.

  2. Prunes

    As free radicals attack the skin, they break down collagen. To combat free radical damage, eat antioxidant rich prunes. Eat five to six prunes daily for a great health boost.

  3. Manuka Honey

    This special honey from New Zealand has long been promoted for its special healing properties. Manuka Honey has been touted as helpful in the formation of strong collagen. Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants and has been traditionally used to help to reduce inflammation and breakouts.

  4. Pineapple

    Your body needs an ample amount of the mineral manganese for collagen production, especially when healing wounds. Pineapple is high in manganese and can help you achieve the recommended daily amount of 2.3 milligrams per day.

  5. Turkey

    Turkey contains carnosine, which research suggests may slow down the collagen damaging aging process called cross-linking. Cross-linking makes collagen stiff and less resilient. Eat turkey two to three times a week to help your skin snap back into shape.

  6. Oranges

    Your body uses Vitamin C to make collagen and elastin, proteins that help keep your skin firm. Get 75 – 90 milligrams of vitamin c daily for ideal collagen production.

  7. Grapefruit

    After age 50, it is recommended that you concentrate on a variety of fruits and vegetables to boost your vitamin c intake. Grapefruit is a great vitamin c-rich alternative to oranges.

  8. Shellfish

    Shellfish contains a concentrated amount of copper, an essential mineral the body uses to bind collagen and elastin for strong, healthy skin. Consume 0.9 milligram of copper a day to help boost healthy collagen and elastin production.

  9. Tomatoes, pepper and beets.

    These red foods are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that boost skin’s own natural sun protection to help prevent collagen damage resulting from UV exposure.

While the body is constantly producing new collagen, since that production naturally decreases with age, adding collagen-boosting foods to your diet is a great way to encourage your body to produce as much as it can, no matter what your age.

It’s a smart step that can help keep skin healthy and supple.

Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Learn more about Dr. Murad.

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