We’ve already waxed poetic about our love for collagen on the blog before. Our lead dietitian, Sam, uses collagen every single day, so we wanted her to tell us about the changes she’s noticed since she started using it.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a group of proteins made up of a mix of amino acids. It’s the most abundant protein in our bodies and can be found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, tendons, and the digestive system. Collagen helps give our skin elasticity and strength, plus helps replace dead skin cells; it’s widely considered the “glue” that holds joints and tendons together.
And don’t even get us started on the benefits of protein overall. In general, protein is vital for building muscle, good for bone health, boosts metabolism, acts as a hormonal messenger, and more.
Which foods contain collagen
We can get collagen from the foods we eat on a daily basis, like beef, chicken, and fish (especially if you leave the skin on!). We can also get it from collagen peptides, which is what you’ll find in our drinks and in the Vital Proteins collagen and creamer that we sell in-store.
It’s also contained in some common foods, such as:
- Bone broth
- Red bell peppers
- Citrus Fruits
- Greens like spinach and kale
Benefits of collagen
- Keeps skin firm and glowing – as we age, collagen production declines in our bodies. That’s why regular consumption of collagen helps your skin cells to renew and repair normally.
- Improves gut health – collagen helps soothe the gut lining and repair damaged cells, helping your gut and your digestion function optimally.
- Strengthens hair and nails – do you suffer from cracking nails or split ends? A lack of collagen may be to blame! Supplementation can improve the strength of your hair and nails.
- Helps joint pain – collagen can help your joints move more easily and can even help prevent joint deterioration.
- Builds muscle and burns fat – collagen (and protein in general) helps add lean muscle mass. Glycine, one of the components of collagen, converts glucose (a simple sugar) into energy that feeds your muscles!
- Promotes heart health – collagen helps provide structure to your arteries and may help raise HDL cholesterol.
Collagen has a superfood reputation, and for good reason. Antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene help to manufacture collagen in your body, along with B vitamins. Minerals like magnesium and zinc also play an important role in collagen production. Oftentimes, your body is generating and absorbing this without you even knowing it!
My collagen experience
The two biggest benefits I’ve noticed are in my hair and nails. I’ve noticed that both grow quicker and stronger than ever before. I also think it’s helped to give me glowy skin. Of course, there are potential benefits below the surface that aren’t as easy to notice, like improved gut or heart health, so I may have experienced those without even realizing it. I don’t have any major joint aches and pains, so I haven’t noticed anything striking when it comes to benefits for my joints.
The bottom line – I recommend consuming collagen-rich foods and consuming collagen peptides to most anyone. Not only is it beneficial for our outsides, but our insides really benefit too! Opt for 100% grass-fed/pasture-raised sources whenever possible when you’re purchasing beef and chicken for your collagen sources. I love incorporating collagen into my morning matcha or tea, but you can also blend it into smoothies or mix it into yogurt, oatmeal, or baked goods. I also recommend consuming collagen-rich bone broth for a gut and skin healing boost.
Looking for more ways to add collagen to your daily routine? Sign up for Snap Kitchen meal plans, so you can put your nutrition on auto!