Collagen – The Main Protein In Our Body
Collagen is everywhere inside us – from our bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels – to our teeth, muscles, and skin.
This marvelous “body glue” is present in our skin as a thick under layer – giving our skin its durability, endurance, and elasticity.
It is the very thing that makes us look young and vibrant!
But, nothing lasts forever.
As We Age…
Slowly – over time – from about the age of 20 – our body produces approximately one percent less collagen each year – for the rest of our life. That means the collagen layer under our skin gets a little thinner as time goes on – and, eventually, when that layer has flattened out enough, those nasty wrinkles start to form.
By the time we hit 30 years old, many of us will start to notice that our skin isn’t as supple, soft, and flexible as it used to be. We may notice the beginning of those dreaded wrinkles – maybe even a few age spots. One day, we will look in the mirror and experience the horror of seeing wrinkles – normally starting around the eyes – that would be those nasty little crow’s feet!
Other factors that can kill collagen production include smoking and unprotected sun exposure. Heavy smokers and people who work outside all the time may begin to look 60 by the time they are mid-40. So, don’t smoke! And, always – but always – use a high SPF sunscreen – 50 or greater – to protect your skin.
And, for goodness sakes – minimize your intake of refined and simple carbohydrates – including sugar, refined grain, white bread, pasta, white flour and rice, sweet desserts, and most of those non-filling breakfast cereals. They are famous for causing inflammation and damaging collagen.
My Sunscreen Choices
I note here – two brands of sunscreen – that are great measures to protect skin from premature aging, wrinkles, and the possibilities of the early onset of skin cancer.
Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion: This skin protector is rated at 70 SPF – and it becomes waterproof in a little less than 90 minutes.
Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion: Rated at 100 SPF, this sunscreen is made for the active outdoors.
Both of these products give broad spectrum protection – from both UVA and UVB rays – which are the culprits that will age your skin fast and start producing skin cancers before you know it. Additionally, they are not greasy and add essential moisture to skin to keep it from drying out.
Foods That Help To Replenish Collagen Naturally
This “musical fruit” is high in protein – and also high in amino acids used for collagen creation. Plus, since they are mineral rich – with collagen producing nutrients like copper – it is a no-brainer to add them to our diet.
Baked beans anyone? How about some black-eyed peas? I also like an occasional dose of bean soup!
All this talk about food is making me hungry!
Specifically, egg whites contain a lot of proline – an amino acid needed for your body to produce collagen.
The antioxidant, Vitamin C, is vital to collagen production. Antioxidants will also protect skin from damage.
And, large concentrations of Vitamin C are present in citrus fruits – like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries contain a healthy kick of Vitamin C, too!
Are you partial to chomping down on a kiwi – or, a pineapple? Maybe change it up and slice up some guava or a mango? They are also great Vitamin C sources!
Who doesn’t love a stir fry or some pasta flavored with garlic? Well, believe it or not, since garlic has a high sulfur content, it helps to prevent collagen breaking down in our body.
Knowing this, I am encouraged to add extra garlic to every dish that calls for it. Heck, I even add it to a few dishes that don’t list it in the recipe!
Red Meat And Chicken
Don’t throw away those red meat bones – boil them – and make a beef broth that not only tastes great in homemade slow cooker stews – but, will boost the body’s collagen making, too!
And, those barnyard cluckers are extremely rich in collagen – especially when it comes to their connective tissues. Many collagen supplements are made using chicken as their source.
Actually, cashews are the best choice – high in zinc and copper – both of which increase the body’s capacity to create collagen.
Personally, I think walnuts are also a great source. I like to stick walnuts in salads and a number of other dishes.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, to name a few, not only have a healthy quantity of antioxidants – but, there are some folks who will swear – ‘til the cows come home – that the chlorophyll inherent in these plants promote healthy collagen production in the skin.
Fish and shelled sea creatures have bones and ligaments that are rife with collagen. The highest concentrations are in the head, skin, and eyeballs – parts we don’t normally eat. But, cooking these parts to make a fish broth soup can help boost your collagen levels.
I’m a firm believer in eating home grown veggies to increase my consumption of a range of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that are essential to enhancing collagen construction. But, if you’re not privy to a home garden, then, I guess the next best choice is a grocery store that offers up fresh produce.
My go-to selection?
I’m definitely a fan of tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, and cucumbers. There are many others – but, these are my top 4 – for sure!
The Low Down On Collagen Supplements
For those folks who are always on the go – eating fast food – and just grabbing anything they can – on the run – to keep from starving – it might be wise to keep some hydrolyzed collagen on hand and mix up a glass or two with lemonade or in a smoothie each day to fight the aging effects of collagen depletion.
Some of the most effective products I’ve found are:
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides: Easily absorbed quickly by the body for maximum benefit, this collagen supplement will improve hair, skin, nails, joints, ligaments, tendons – should I go on? The powder dissolves easily with almost no residue – in cold or hot liquids. Add it to coffee, tea, juices, or smoothies. You can even add it to desserts, oatmeal, soups, and sauces.
Sports Research Collagen Peptides Powder: This collagen powder works the same as the Vital Proteins product. It can be enjoyed in warm or cold water. To keep it from clumping in cold water – initially mix it in room temperature water before adding ice. Certified by the Paleo & Keto Foundation – and made from cows. Sports Research offers a 90 day guarantee – so, if you don’t see any improvement, return the product and get your money back.
If you don’t even have time to mix a collagen drink, opt for some pills like Neocell Super Collagen+c – and you can just pop one or two to get the collagen thickening process started. With added Vitamin C, this Neocell product fully supports collagen formation to help you look younger – have healthier hair and nails – and feel better about yourself. NOTE: These pills are best taken on an empty stomach.
Topical Collagen Creams And Lotions
Let me first say that even though I’ve found some great collagen creams and lotions that may markedly reduce wrinkles and smooth out your skin, the effects are only a temporary fix because, the molecules of the solutions are normally too large to penetrate the skin’s pores to help rebuild the underlying collagen.
With that in mind, here are some excellent recommendations for a short-term skin repair job!
ST QANON Facial Essence: St. Qanon says that this is a firming cream that has the ability to repair damaged skin and be absorbed all the way to the derma layer – which is underneath the collagen region – making the skin look younger. It contains hydrolyzed collagen and, as it hydrates the skin, it reduces wrinkles, makes the skin more elastic, brightens skin tone, and makes it smooth. They say that they have been able to reduce the size of the active ingredient molecules to make them easier to be absorbed by the skin.
L’amore Beauty Collagen Retinol Cream: Put this cream around the eyes and on the face, neck, and exposed portions of the upper chest to help restore the skin to youthful beauty through firming and toning – and stimulating collagen growth at the cellular level. Not only does L’amore tout the cream’s ability to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, it also reduces and / or eliminates those ugly age spots.
London & Grant – Natural & Organic Collagen Face Moisturizer: Say, “bye, bye” to wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Say “hello” to a younger looking skin that has been repaired, replenished, and regenerated. The addition of an aloe leaf juice promotes skin hydration – increasing skin elasticity. Just a dab will do ya – turning tough skin into a soft, fresh, and youthful look!
The Collagen Conclusion
Bottom line – the best way to protect your skin – and extend its youthful and fresh appearance – is to eat right, live right, and stay away from anything that will contaminate you! Then, when all else fails, add some supplements and creams to keep those other folks thinking you are 20 years younger than you actually are!
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