What is collagen? The most abundant protein in your body providing structure for bones, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, and teeth. As we get older we produce less collagen and what we do produce is lower quality.You are consuming collagen when you eat bone broth made with the bones of animals, animal skin such as chicken, and gelatin. This collagen in your food is broken down into amino acids by your body and used to rebuild any tissue needing to be repaired or rebuilt.Because we want to maintain the health and appearance of our body, it’s important to keep in mind the ways collagen breakdown can be accelerated.
- eating added sugar and refined flour can make it difficult for collagen to repair itself.
- overexposure to the sun can reduce collagen production.
- smoking also slows down collagen production. Smokers are slow wound healers and are prone to wrinkles.
Is there a reason to take collagen supplements as we age? For certain situations the answer appears to be yes.
- supplements improve skin elasticity. Face creams containing collagen may not reduce wrinkles but may minimize their appearance.
- when used along with a strength training program collagen supplements can increase muscle mass.
- Sufferers of osteoarthritis can get some pain relief from taking collagen supplements.
Whether or not taking collagen supplements or adding collagen powder to foods or drinks will benefit you is up to your individual health and lifestyle. Research appears to support collagen supplements for endogenous collagen and muscle loss related to aging. It also has been shown to help conditions like arthritis, but an otherwise healthy person under the age of 35 with a balanced diet may not see any benefits.
Collagen powder can be frothed into coffee for a dairy-free latte or blended into a smoothie like my Skin Plumping Smoothie. If the thought of a supplement made from animals doesn’t sit well with you there is another option, marine collagen made from red snapper. You can even leave it out completely and still benefit from the super-hydrating cucumber and coconut water. Melon is a good source of vitamin C which is essential for building collagen. Chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation.
Either way you decide to blend it it’s a win for healthy skin. If you enjoyed the Skin Plumping Smoothie let me know below in comments or share on social media. But don’t forget to tag your photo with #freshbalancenutrition so I can check it out!
Skin Plumping Smoothie
- 1 ½ cups honeydew melon, roughly chopped
- 1 cup cucumber, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon collagen powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon honey, optional
- 12 ounces coconut water
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Add all ingredients to a high power blender and blend until smooth.