Collagen has been getting a lot of press lately- and for good reason! It’s an amazing nutrient with a plethora of health benefits. It can improve wrinkles & cellulite by increasing skin elasticity, contributes to hair & nail growth, gut healing and repair, helps maintain muscle mass and even improves sleep.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a structural protein that is used in the building of many different types of soft tissues including skin, hair, nails, blood vessels, ligaments & tendons. It’s rich in amino acids glycine and proline. Vitamin C is a key nutrient needed to synthesize collagen.
What are some of the benefits?
- It improves skin elasticity, moisture, wrinkles and roughness.
- It improves the appearance of moderate cellulite in women of normal weight.
- It may improve UV-damaged skin.
- It can improve body composition and muscle mass.
- It helps improve bone density, even in osteoporotic bone tissue.
- It can reduce local as well as systemic inflammation.
- It may help reduce blood pressure.
- It may improve the pain associated with osteoarthritis, particularly in lower limbs.
- Improves sleep.
How do you get it in your diet?
Traditionally, we would have acquired collagen from gelatin-bone broths, chewing the articular ends of bones and using the whole animal including shanks, marrow, skin, cheeks, feet, oxtails and ribs.
A nightly cup of bone broth is an easy way to take in collagen while also helping to get a good night’s sleep. Considering the skin-enhancing properties of collagen, this is really a fantastic way to make the most of your ‘beauty sleep.’
If bone broth isn’t your thing, (though it really should be!) another option is to use powdered collagen hydrolysate and/or gelatin supplements. I find it most convenient to add a tablespoon or so of either of these to my morning coffee. I prefer the collagen peptides only because they don’t gel, potentially creating annoying clean up. I find that when I use them regularly, my hair & nails grow very quickly!
Gelatin, because it does gel, is a natural thickener and can be used in soups, stews, sauces, smoothies, desserts- anything you want to firm up and thicken up really. You can even make healthier “gummie” treats for kids with some fruit juice and gelatin.
The best supplements to use are ones such Vital Proteins, that are made from pastured & grassfed animals.