Collagen and Your Diet: How Can it Improve Your Overall Health?

OVERVIEW:

The key to your health is what you eat. What you put into your body has a direct effect on your overall health, both mentally and physically. This means being conscious of what you eat, knowing it can either help or hurt your health. This doesn't mean you need to be super strict and restrict yourself from eating foods you enjoy. Just try to eat a majority of clean, whole foods and limit your intake of processed foods. You can also add supplements into your diet. One great supplement for skin health and other concerns is collagen. Collagen is found in our connective tissues, joints, bones, tendons, and skin. It is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it is formed through chains of amino acids (such as glycine and proline) that act as building blocks. Dietary supplements can help increase your collagen intake and collagen levels. Read on to learn more about collagen, your diet, and how they can improve your overall health. 

Is it good to add collagen to your diet?

Yes! It is good to add collagen to your diet. Adding collagen to your diet can help increase your protein intake, give you glowing skin, and support several other functions related to your gut and connective tissues. For collagen supplementation, you can try collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen protein powder, collagen pills, and liquid collagen. There are many foods that either contain collagen or will help you to produce more collagen. One such food is bone broth. You can make this nutrient dense broth by simmering animal bones in water with herbs. It is packed with collagen, amino acids, calcium, and magnesium. It’s easy to make and the only time consuming part is how long it takes to simmer. Fish contains amino acids such as proline and glycine, which are the necessary building blocks for collagen. Pretty much any fish will help with your collagen intake, but keep in mind the most collagen is in parts we don’t normally eat (such as the scales). Foods high in vitamin C are important. For vitamin C, citrus fruits are key, with grapefruit being one of the best for your skin. Even fruits such as raspberries contain a large amount of vitamin C. If you want to watch your sugar, try eating bell peppers. They are just as high in vitamin C but with a lower sugar content. This vitamin is essential for both improving collagen production and naturally giving you stronger, glowier skin. Similarly, foods rich in vitamin A are important. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, which is essential for a strong skin barrier and overall skin function. Other foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, carrots, and broccoli. Leafy greens and veggies are essential. Kale and pretty much any green vegetables will give you a huge boost in helping with collagen production, as well as help you achieve glowing skin, due to all the antioxidants they contain. Lastly, try egg whites. While eggs themselves don’t support collagen production, egg whites do. They contain proline, which is an amino acid that is needed for collagen production. 

Does collagen make you gain weight?

No, collagen does not make you gain weight! In fact, it may have the opposite effect. Collagen supplements have the potential to help you lose weight. When your goal is weight loss, you want to build your muscle mass  through your protein intake. The best and easiest way to do this? Eating more protein. It's always good to get most of your nutrients and protein through real, clean food, but when that isn't enough, it's also smart to add a supplement. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making it essential for multiple different functions. More protein means more fullness throughout the day, which means you won’t need to eat as much as you normally would to stay full. Taking a collagen supplement helps promote satiety because protein keeps us full for longer periods of time. Therefore, you won’t need to eat as many calories throughout the day. (Let’s be clear- it’s still important to eat enough calories to feel full, satisfied, and healthy regardless of whether or not you’re trying to lose weight). Of course, if you're trying to lose weight you should always seek medical advice from your nutritionist or doctor before you make any drastic changes. The best collagen supplement for weight loss has few ingredients in it that are clean and natural. You should look for things like "grass-fed" or "wild-caught" depending on which animal type you use. Some people may opt to use whey protein as a supplement. There's nothing wrong with this, but you have to read your labels carefully. Oftentimes whey protein is filled with additives, sugar, and fake flavoring. It's marketed specifically towards building muscle, but fails to mention all of the ingredients that may hinder your progress. Plus, with collagen protein you get so many additional benefits besides building muscle and losing weight, whereas with whey you simply get added protein. For those who don’t have time to make smoothies and bone broth, there is a more convenient option for using collagen as a protein source. This option is eating one of our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars. Each bar contains 15 grams of protein, and 12 grams of premium, hydrolyzed marine collagen. Our bars are packed with things like sweet potato, cocoa, and yacon syrup, which are all foods that help your skin to glow. There's way less hassle with eating a bar than with making a smoothie, for example. You can throw it in your gym bag or eat it as a meal replacement when you're in a rush. Loaded with antioxidants and energy-boosting foods, you'll stay full and feel good. Plus, they're delicious and made with clean and natural ingredients. 

How do you increase collagen naturally?

The best way to increase collagen naturally is through your diet and through taking supplements. Eating collagen-rich foods and taking supplements to ensure you get enough collagen is essential. The biggest and most important thing is eating a clean and healthy diet. There are tons of foods that either already contain collagen, or help to promote collagen production, which we discussed. Another thing is your skincare. Protecting your skin with skincare products is important. Moisturizer, hyaluronic acid, retinol, sunscreen, and other such products give you healthy skin and promote anti-aging. By improving your cell turnover, some of these products can improve collagen synthesis in your skin. Additionally, some minor procedures performed by dermatologists can help with improving growth factors that improve natural collagen production, along with other skin conditions. Things such as chemical peels, laser treatments, and microneedling can all help to stimulate collagen. These treatments can cause skin resurfacing and minor damage, which causes your body to produce more collagen. Vitamin A and vitamin C are essential for good skin health and helping to increase our natural collagen production. You can find these vitamins in the foods we mentioned above, as well as broccoli, kiwi, cauliflower, and papaya (for vitamin C), and carrot, spinach, and squash for vitamin A. You can also take vitamin supplements in addition to eating more foods rich in these vitamins. These vitamins are essential for creating a strong skin barrier, improved skin elasticity, and promoting new skin cells. Oral supplements are a great way to ensure you are getting enough vitamins, but it is important to try and get a sufficient amount through real, clean foods like salads, smoothies, and more.

What health improvements will I experience from taking collagen?

The health benefits of collagen include improved joint health and lessening of joint pain, improved gut health and gut function, strengthened bones, better bone health, skin hydration, and improvement in your overall health. There are no known side effects, making collagen a safe supplement to try. One of the biggest reasons people take collagen supplements is for its beauty-boosting benefits. This is because of its healing effects on the skin. For example, it is used medically to heal serious wounds on the skin. In terms of supplements, collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen are your best bet for any concern, as the collagen is broken down and easier to digest and absorb.





These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Sources: 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/food-junkie/201803/can-collagen-really-help-you-lose-weight
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262881.php#preventing-collagen-loss

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