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Skin care has become all the rage lately. Many people now follow extensive multistep skin care routines to maintain their skin at its best. Moreover, many ingredients are promoted for skin health, and one of them is collagen.
Collagen is a protein that is made up of amino acids. It has a chain-like structure and based on the differences in amino acids, several types of collagen are found in the skin, bones, and muscles. (1)
The type of collagen most abundantly found in the skin is collagen type I because it is similar to the composition of the skin. (2)
Collagen-Boosting Foods for Skin
Since topical application of collagen is not effectively absorbed, experts recommend the consumption of collagen-rich foods or collagen supplementation to increase the presence of collagen in the blood and obtain its benefits. (3)
Here are some foods you can include in your daily diet.
Tomatoes and tomato-based products are the most beneficial foods you can eat for your skin. One single tomato is rich in: (4)
- Zinc (2% of the daily requirements)
- Copper (8% of the daily requirements)
- Vitamin C (19% of the daily requirements)
In addition, tomatoes are abundant in lycopene, containing about 102 mg in 100 g of tomatoes. (5)
Together, zinc, copper, and vitamin C are essential in producing the precursors to collagen in the human body. This can help in improving the skin’s appearance, boosting immunity, and reversing damage due to UV rays. (5)
2. Bell peppers
Bell peppers in their wide range of colors are abundantly rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Vitamin C has been extensively studied for its role in skin health. It not only removes free radicals from the body but also aids in the formation of collagen in the skin. These effects lead to a reduction in the signs of aging and photodamage due to exposure to UV rays. (6)
In animal studies, the juice from sweet pepper or bell pepper increased the production of collagen type I and reduced damage to the skin by UV rays. It also reduced inflammation and protected against damage to the DNA. (7)
3. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits and their juices are the most popular fruit juices consumed worldwide. A single glass of citrus juice can be very beneficial for skin health.
Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, citrus fruits can boost collagen production to maintain the integrity of the skin. Lab trials and animal studies have found citrus juice increased the production of collagen, increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes, and reduced the appearance of wrinkles. (8)
Berries are loaded with antioxidants that prevent the destruction of collagen due to free radicals that accumulate in the body from the environment. The consumption of blueberries is also known to boost collagen production in the bones. (9)
In addition, the anthocyanins in berries, which are primarily responsible for the fruits’ vibrant coloring, have skin-lightening properties as they reduce melanin levels in the skin. (9)
Seafood such as fish and shellfish are a great source of direct collagen. Not only is it good for bone health, but it is also a rich source of healthy fats that can reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Recent studies done on marine collagen (obtained from fish) have found it to be a useful remedy in healing wounds. It increases the formation of new skin cells and raises the amount of collagen. (10) This is useful not only for healing large wounds but also for reducing acne scars.
In another study done on women between the ages of 45 and 59 years, oral intake of collagen from fish improved skin collagen and reduced the amount of loose skin and wrinkles. (11)
How Does Collagen Improve the Skin
The skin is the largest organ and is the first target of environmental pollutants. It also readily reacts to bodily health, and its condition is often an indicator of deficiencies or diseases.
Apart from environmental pollutants, natural aging can also cause major changes in the appearance of the skin that are often undesirable.
Collagen can help improve skin health in the following ways.
1. Fights aging
The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is primarily due to a decline in the thickness and elasticity of the skin that comes with increasing age.
Supplementing with collagen or collagen-rich foods strengthens the structure of the skin, encourages the production of new cells in the skin, and raises the moisture-holding capacity of the skin. (12)
ALSO READ: Anti-Aging Foods: Diet to Delay Aging
2. Provides antioxidant effects
Collagen has a strong antioxidant ability that is useful in preventing damage to the skin by free radicals and environmental pollutants. Antioxidants also play an important role in reducing the appearance of aging on the skin. (13)
3. Supports wound healing
Type I collagen has been identified for the role it plays in wound healing. For this reason, collagen can also be used for healing acne scarring and marks left behind by pimples. (2)
Expert Recommendation – Smoothie for the Skin
A skin-healthy smoothie can be a delicious way to incorporate all the vital ingredients that can improve the appearance of your skin.
Make a smoothie by blending together:
- 1 cup mixed berries
- 1 cup peeled oranges
- 1 cup coconut water
- ½ avocado (optional)
Can You Drink Bone Broth to Obtain Good Skin?
Bone broth obtained from boiling bones in water for 30 minutes can be a good source of natural collagen. You can take it daily to improve your skin appearance as well as to boost your bone health.
- Collagen is naturally present in the skin. It is responsible for making it look supple, holding moisture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and reducing the damage done by UV rays.
- Since collagen type I is mostly beneficial for the skin, eating foods that will help boost natural collagen production can be an easy and effective way to improve overall skin health.
- Tomatoes, citrus fruits, and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which increases the production of precursors to collagen. Consuming these vitamin C-rich foods can therefore help boost collagen production in the skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- Berries are rich in antioxidants that can treat photodamage from UV rays and reduce melanin production in the skin.
- Collagen obtained from marine sources such as fish and shellfish has also been found to reduce the appearance of loose and sagging skin.