By Dr. Clara Barnett ND, LAc
Collagen is a protein that provides strength and structure to the body. It has an important role in maintaining integrity, firmness and elasticity to our skin, bone and connective tissue. The sun, pollution, free radicals, and smoke are all responsible for disintegrating collagen. Collagen production also decreases as we age.
Can foods make a difference?
You bet! Essential Fatty Acids from fish are loaded with powerful Omega 3 oils which help protect and nourish the skin to its glowing state. Fish oil can have a beneficial effect on collagen production. This summer, fire up the grill and pair your halibut, cod or salmon steaks with roasted tomatoes and peppers. These red vegetables contain a hard-working compound called lycopene which acts as an antioxidant and natural sunscreen. But don’t forget to wear your sunscreen while you’re sitting outside enjoying your cookout.
What are some other ways to help your body build collagen?
Leafy greens and sea vegetables contain manganese which helps the body increase collagen and elastin.
Hyaluronic acid is required to build collagen bundles. The best source of this is seaweed.
Chia seeds are a super food for collagen production because they contain protein, good fats and a host of vitamins and minerals to produce collagen.
Foods high in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, berries, red peppers and even sweet potatoes are excellent. The body requires vitamin C for collagen production. Vitamin C also scavenged free radicals which damage collagen production.
Research shows that white tea has a particular effect on preventing the body from breaking down collagen.