Collagen is a protein, and one of the main building blocks of our skin. It’s also found in our bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, making it the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen helps the body relieve joint pains, boost muscle mass, improve skin health and promote a healthy heart.
As people get older, collagen production in the body starts to decline, resulting in fragile and breakable hair, nails, and wrinkled skin. Thus some people resort to using supplements to boost collagen levels.
Should You Eat Collagen-Rich Foods Instead of Taking Supplements?
While collagen supplements can help boost collagen production, it’s recommendable to go the natural way by eating more whole foods for your collagen intake. Here’s why!
Collagen synthesis can be naturally increased by consuming foods that are natural sources of collagen and foods that can induce collagen production in the body. There are many collagen-rich and collagen-inducing foods, including cabbage, mushrooms, egg whites, dairy, asparagus, pork, chicken, fish, citrus fruits, bell peppers, and many others.
These foods give more nutrients to your body, thus increasing collagen synthesis. According to Eatthis.com, Jim White, RD, ACSM, HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios explains that eating whole foods versus collagen supplements will allow you to intake more nutrients rather than limiting your intake to only collagen. He further explained that whole foods are functional because they have other properties like enzymes, fibers, etc. over only consuming collagen.
Eating whole foods allows you to intake more nutrients into your body instead of just limiting yourself to supplements that only have collagen. Apart from boosting collagen production, whole foods have other properties such as fibers, enzymes, and vitamins, which are beneficial to your body. You kill two birds with one stone by taking collagen-rich foods because you’ll get collagen and more.
While good effort goes into making the supplements, there’s limited research on whether the body absorbs these nutrients from collagen supplements. On the other hand, nutrients in food are more bioavailable and absorb quickly into the body. For instance, foods such as bone broth contain a bioavailable form of collagen that your body can use right away.
A complete diet is a better value for money, long-term well-being and good health as opposed to spending lots of money on collagen supplements. Furthermore, supplements are often not cheap, and one capsule or serving can contain between half a gram to five grams of collagen or sometimes higher. By comparison, there are fast and inexpensive foods and recipes from just down the grocery store that can help with your collagen intake.
Most of the research on collagen supplements is funded by related industries or researchers with ties to industries producing said supplements. This implies a conflict of interest because they stand to benefit one way or another from a positive study result. As such, it’s difficult to determine how effective collagen supplements genuinely are or to justify their hefty price, especially if you contrast it to eating collagen-rich foods where a lot of research and proven results exist.
In conclusion, following a healthy diet and cultivating lifestyle habits like eating whole plant foods and consuming foods rich in amino acids supports your body’s natural ability to produce collagen.
Hey Joyfreshers, how do you boost collagen production in your body? Do you prefer eating collagen-rich foods or taking supplements? Tell us in the comment below!