As we age, our body’s natural collagen production slows down. What this means is that the effects of aging are accelerated as there is less collagen available to hold your skin and joints together.
We all want to look younger, right? It’s a common desire for people in their 30’s and 40’s but not everyone has access to the money or time needed for cosmetic surgeries or expensive beauty products.
Collagen protein can help you maintain healthy hair, nails, and bones while also helping you achieve that youthful glow from within!
Read on to learn how collagen makes your skin supple, reduces wrinkles, improves elasticity, and more!
Table of Contents
- What Is Collagen?
- What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?
- Collagen Foods Vs. Collagen Supplements
- Tips For Increasing Your Collagen Intake
- The Top 43 Foods With Collagen
- Beef Liver
- Beef Steak
- Chicken Breast
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Pork Rinds
- Tuna Steak
- Wheat Bran
- White Beans
- Cooked Shrimp
- Cooked Cod Roe
- Citrus Fruits
- Cod Liver Oil
- Red and Yellow Vegetables
- White Tea
- Green Tea
- Leafy Greens
- Fish Skin
- Wheat Germ
- Bell Peppers
- Collagen Supplements
- What Is Collagen Hydrolysate?
- What Does Hydrolyzed Collagen Consist Of?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that’s naturally found in the body. It’s an important part of your connective tissue, which includes tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones.
Collagen helps keep your skin firm and youthful-looking by providing it with structural support. It also protects the joints from wear and tear and supports healthy hair growth.
Collagen also aids digestion by helping food move through the gastrointestinal tract smoothly. True to its name as “the glue that holds you together” collagen is truly invaluable for keeping you healthy!
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?
Collagen makes us look young, but it also performs other vital functions:
- Our body uses collagen to create new cells (cell proliferation) and build new tissue.
- Collagen is a major component in our bone matrix. It’s what makes up the organic portion of our bones and teeth, along with calcium phosphate minerals that give them strength and structure.
- Without collagen, this organic material would just dissolve into mush—similar to a banana peel left out in the hot sun!
- In healthy joints, collagen binds ligaments to bones. In fact, the tensile strength of a tendon is almost six times greater than that of a steel cable!
- Collagen plays a role in transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body. For example, collagen is critical for good skin health because it makes up about 90% of our dermis—the layer just beneath the outer skin that acts as a cushion, protecting us from injuries and providing a barrier against infection.
We want to eat foods high in collagen because our body can’t make it, but our diet should contain good sources of other nutrients that are essential for collagen production. We also need to protect the collagen we have by avoiding excessive sun exposure and smoking.
Collagen Foods Vs. Collagen Supplements
Consuming collagen through food is a great way to stay healthy and improve your skin, hair, nails, digestive system and joints.
In fact, eating collagen can have even more benefits than taking it as a supplement since the body will use what it needs from it and leave whatever it doesn’t need for other processes that can still benefit from collagen.
Our bodies can absorb collagen from our diet in the form of gelatin or hydrolyzed collagen, which are basically pre-digested collagen molecules that can be easily dissolved into water.
You can add these powders to soups, stews, sauces, and smoothies—even baked goods! They will dissolve readily due to their small molecular size, which means our body can absorb a lot of collagen in a very short amount of time.
Gelatin is the form of collagen most easily taken from foods since it’s abundant in bone broth and animal skin, cartilage, and tendons.
The best way to enjoy these parts is by making your own gelatin-rich bone broth, but you can also find them as ingredients in foods such as gummies and marshmallows.
Tips For Increasing Your Collagen Intake
Just like with any other nutrient, there are simple ways to increase your collagen intake beyond just taking it in supplement form.
Start by eating more animal skin and cartilage. You can also add bone broth to your diet.
If you plan on increasing your intake of collagen through supplements, you must consider the source.
Most companies use fish scales to extract their collagen, which means this is what you’ll be ingesting along with whatever nutrients are in these parts—not exactly the kind of “collagen” that will improve skin or hair health!
Another thing to consider when picking out a collagen supplement is fillers. Collagen supplements are very popular, but most manufacturers add other ingredients that you don’t need and may even cause problems in the long term.
The best form of collagen for supplementation is from chicken or bovine hides. Other safe sources are from organs such as the liver, heart, and kidney.
You can purchase collagen supplements that are sourced from one of these parts, but you’ll also find them in everyday foods. This just means that if you’re eating organ meats regularly, taking a supplement is not necessary.
The Top 43 Foods With Collagen
Beef liver is the food with the highest concentration of collagen among commonly consumed foods (16.3 mg/100 g). The high collagen content of beef liver contributes to its status as a highly nutritious food. It is rich in vitamin A and easily absorbs vitamins from other sources.
Beef steak (13.9mg/100 g) is another top source of collagen. Beef steak also contains Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and zinc.
Chicken breast meat and skin (roasted) contain 9.9mg/100 g of collagen. The chicken dark meat with the skin contains 6mg/100g of collagen. Although chicken is generally considered a healthy food, not all parts are equally nutritious. The chicken dark meat with the skin contains the most collagen.
Lamb, leg (shank) with bone is also a food with high collagen content. The lamb with the bone in it has 8.5mg/100g of collagen. Lamb has many beneficial nutrients including protein, zinc, niacin, and phosphorus, but its collagen content contributes to its overall nutritional value.
Pumpkin seed powder contains 7.2mg/100g of collagen, which is equal to dried seaweed powder and greater than flaxseed powder. Pumpkin seeds are also nutritious in terms of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This makes pumpkin seed powder an attractive functional food additive for nutritional supplements or foods aimed at improving skin quality.
Pork cured ham (prosciutto) contains 6.9mg/100g of collagen. Cured meats can be a source of beneficial nutrients, including protein and zinc, especially if they are not cooked with the addition of ingredients that increase the calorie content.
Pork rinds, oil-fried contain 2.7mg/100g of collagen, and pork rinds, fried contain 2.7mg/100g of collagen as well. Pork skin is typically considered a low-quality food and even has some negative effects on health due to the high content of saturated fats in them. However, it is also a source of collagen that can be useful for restoring skin health.
Pork rinds are fried snacks made with pork skin and they are very popular, especially in Spain. Pork skins contain even more collagen than beef steak or chicken breast meat.
Turkey breast meat and skin contains 2.5mg/100g of collagen. Turkey dark meat with the skin contains 1,8 mg/100 g of collagen, which is lower than in chicken dark meat with the skin (6mg/100g) but higher than in chicken breast meat (9.9 mg/100 g).
Cauliflower contains 2.1mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate (151 mcg/100 g). The cauliflower can be used as an ingredient in various foods such as curries or pizza.
Tuna steak contains 1.9mg/100g of collagen and it is also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. The white tuna contains the same amount of collagen as some other lean fish such as cod or haddock.
Wheat bran contains 1.8mg/100g of collagen and it is a source of dietary fiber, manganese, and selenium. Wheat bran can be used as an ingredient for various foods such as breakfast cereals, bread, and muffins or as a natural additive to increase the fiber content in processed foods.
Cooked white beans contain 1.8mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of dietary fiber and folate (342 mcg/100 g). The white beans can be used as an ingredient in various foods such as salads or curries.
The white potato, baked, contains 1.4mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of vitamins C and B6. The white potato can be used as an ingredient in various foods such as soups or salads or they are eaten roasted with salt.
Oat flakes contain 1.2mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of protein and dietary fiber. Oat flakes can be used as an additive for a power breakfast or as a side dish like porridge or oatmeal.
Cooked shrimp contain 1mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of dietary niacin. Shrimp are eaten boiled, fried, or in the form of shrimp paste. Another benefit of shrimps is their high content of selenium, which is important for maintaining healthy skin cells.
Brewed coffee contains 0.9mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of dietary folate (26 g/100g). Coffee is rich in antioxidants and caffeine, and it has various positive effects on health such as increased fat burning.
Peanuts contain 0.8mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of niacin, folate, and other vitamins and minerals. The peanuts can be used in various recipes or they can be eaten with salt.
Black raspberries contain 0.7mg/100g of collagen and red raspberries contain even less with only 0.4mg/100gof collagen per 100 grams of fruit weight. Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese, and antioxidants. Raspberries are eaten either fresh or they are used as an additive in various recipes.
Cooked Cod Roe
Cod roe contains 0.6mg/100g of collagen and it is mainly composed of protein (32 g/100g). The cod roe can be consumed cooked with other foods such as white beans or they can be used in various recipes such as salads.
Fresh figs contain 0.5mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of dietary fiber, calcium, and manganese. Fresh figs are eaten raw on their own or with other foods such as yogurt and cheese and dried figs are used as a sweetener.
Sardines contain 0.4mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of vitamin B12, iron, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids. The raw sardines can be eaten on their own or with other foods such as rice or vegetables.
Oysters contain 0.4mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin D. The raw oysters can be eaten on their own or with other foods such as pasta or risotto.
Eggs contain 0.3mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and folate. Their proline content also helps increase your collagen production. The egg whites are used in various recipes such as pancakes or omelets.
Citrus fruits contain 0.2mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of vitamin C. The citrus fruits can be eaten fresh together with the white part of the peel (the pith) which contains even more collagen, or they are used as an additive in various recipes such as cakes.
Berries are a sweet snack, but they also have health benefits. Cranberries contain 0.1mg/100g of collagen and strawberries contain even less with only 0.07mg/100g of collagen per 100 grams of fruit weight. The berries are rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants. They are eaten fresh or they are used as an additive in various recipes such as salads or desserts.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver is a rich source of vitamins A and D as well as omega 3 fatty acids, all of which are beneficial for skin health and appearance.
Red and Yellow Vegetables
Red and yellow vegetables such as tomatoes contain up to 0.02mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and K. The red and yellow vegetables can be eaten cooked or raw on their own or together with other foods such as rice or pasta.
Garlic contains up to 0.02mg/100g of collagen and is rich in selenium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. Garlic is used raw or cooked together with various foods such as chicken or vegetables.
White tea contains up to 0.01mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of manganese and polyphenols. White tea is processed by steaming the leaf immediately after harvesting which preserves the active enzymes and antioxidants.
Green tea contains 0.01mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of catechins, caffeine, gallic acid, and caffeine. Green tea has been processed from the leaf after harvesting so green tea can be consumed frequently.
Collagen can be found in various leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and kale. Leafy green vegetables contain up to 0.01mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins K, A, and C. The leafy greens can be consumed raw on their own or with other foods such as pasta or risotto.
Fish skin contains up to 0.01mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. The raw fish skin can be consumed on its own or with other foods such as sushi or sashimi.
Cashews contain up to 0.01mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and protein. Cashews can be eaten raw on their own or in combination with other foods such as salads or desserts.
Tomatoes contain up to 0.01mg/100g of collagen and they are a source of potassium, manganese, and vitamin A. Tomatoes can be eaten raw on their own or with other foods such as salads or pasta.
Onions contain up to 0.005mg/100g of collagen and they are a source of chromium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C. They can be eaten raw on their own or with other foods such as salads or pasta dishes.
Cucumbers contain up to 0.005mg/100g of collagen and they are rich in silica which helps maintain healthy connective tissue and skin. Cucumbers can be eaten raw on their own or with other foods such as salads.
The pomegranate fruit contains up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of vitamin K, folates, and potassium. Pomegranate seeds are commonly consumed on their own or used as an additive in various recipes such as salads.
Tofu contains up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and it is a source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium. Tofu can be consumed either baked, fried or boiled on its own or with other foods such as vegetables or pasta dishes.
Wheat germ contains up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and it is also a source of manganese, selenium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folates. Wheat germ can be added to various food products such as bread or cereals.
Spinach contains up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and it is rich in vitamin A, manganese, folates, magnesium, and iron. Spinach can be consumed raw on its own or with other foods such as salads or pasta dishes.
Kale contains up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and it is rich in vitamin C, manganese, and folates. Kale can be consumed raw on its own or in smoothies.
Bell peppers contain up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of manganese, vitamins A, C, and B6. Bell peppers can be consumed raw on their own or with other foods such as salads or protein dishes.
Avocados contain up to 0.004mg/100g of collagen and they are also a source of vitamin K, folates, potassium, copper, and manganese. Avocados can be consumed raw on their own or with other foods such as salads or sandwiches.
Collagen supplements have been around for a while now, consisting mainly of hydrolyzed collagen from animal byproducts. However, most commercial producers use the wrong type of collagen to make their products. This means that the collagen in supplements will not have the same benefits as what you’ll get from food sources.
Nowadays, collagen supplements that use only the right type of collagen are available and these supplements typically consist of type 1 and type 3 collagen. Type 1 collagen is derived from chicken, lamb, or fish sources while type 3 is derived from pork sources. The different types of collagen have different properties so it is important to choose the right type for your needs.
Hydrolyzed collagen from marine and plant sources is also used as a skin moisturizer and for various cosmetic applications such as anti-aging creams.
What Is Collagen Hydrolysate?
Collagen hydrolysate is a popular dietary supplement for people who want to support their joints, hair, nails, bones and connective tissues. It consists of smaller pieces of triple-helical collagen peptides.
What Does Hydrolyzed Collagen Consist Of?
Hydrolyzed collagen consists of smaller peptide chains (2-3 amino acids) that are readily digested and absorbed into the body just like other protein sources. The first step in its production is to take a very pure, premium-grade source of collagen and put it through a patented enzymatic process.
Amino acids are added to the collagen peptides as a food source for the enzymes. The enzymes break down the larger peptide chains into smaller pieces, producing a mixture of 3-5 amino acid-long chains, which creates a full profile of amino acids and ensures that all essential and nonessential amino acids are present.
Many companies claim their hydrolyzed collagen is superior because it contains high amounts of glycine, glutamine, and proline. But these three amino acids make up about 25% of the composition of regular collagen—however, numerous studies have shown that only a few key peptides containing these amino acids are needed for optimal benefit.
Collagen supplements contain amino acids, the fundamental components of protein, as well as other nutrients related to healthy skin and hair such as vitamin C, biotin, or zinc.
It also helps with any joint issues you have due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce pain and stiffness.
The amino acids present in collagen aid in the maintenance of skin and joint health, but they do not contribute to muscle protein synthesis on their own.
Collagen supplements are most often marketed as a type of beauty and wellness product and categorized as a functional food.
Drinking collagen, for example, is said to improve hair and nails in addition to the benefits that come from drinking water or milk. Collagen is also added into various beverages such as coffee and juice drinks.
Skin Elasticity and Strength
Collagen is a natural protein found in the human body, especially connective tissue. It aids in skin elasticity and strength. So why not drink it?
People who regularly drink collagen have reported that it makes their hair and nails stronger, more flexible, shinier, smoother, softer, and less frizzy.
It has also been said to help with wrinkles, fine lines and improve overall skin care.
Improve Quality of Sleep
Drinking collagen can improve your quality of sleep and give you a better overall mood. This is because collagen contains glycine, an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
Glycine has been shown to help people fall asleep faster with improved sleep quality for improved skin elasticity, nails, and hair growth. Glycine helps release melatonin in the body, which is responsible for causing sleepiness.
Collagen has also been found in studies to reduce sugar cravings when taken before eating.
These are just some of the many reported benefits of collagen supplementation.
Whether it’s your joints or skin that needs help, there may be hope on the horizon with your increased intake of collagen through food and supplement sources.
Please share this list with your friends who may benefit from knowing about all of these possible uses for supplementing their diet with additional collagen!