Collagen is essential for younger looking skin. Boost it naturally with these 10 beauty-enhancing foods.
While loads of supplements out there claim to provide skin with the collagen it needs to remain plump and firm, research has shown regularly eating foods that contain or help promote collagen is a more effective way to keep your skin looking younger. Foods that boost this particular protein can also help create amino acids, the building blocks for healthy skin. Collagen-rich foods and those that help you produce more collagen are ‘bioavailable’, meaning your body is able to make immediate use of them for faster, safer anti-ageing results than supplements. Add these 10 beauty-boosting options to your diet for younger, healthier looking skin:
If you’ve ever broken down a whole chicken, you’ve probably noticed they contain a lot of connective tissue. This is where much of the dietary collagen is stored in chicken, and it’s why you’ll find so many collagen supplements derived from our favourite white meat. Once you’ve made use of the choice cuts, use the carcass and connective tissues for a tasty broth or soup, and sip your way to better skin.
Although eggs don’t contain collagen-rich connective tissue like chicken, their yolks and shell membranes are a good source of protein. They also provide the perfect combination of amino acids and sulphur we need for better texture, hydration and supple appearance of skin. Has breakfast ever been so beautiful?
3. Dark leafy greens
These nutrient-dense superfoods help your body create collagen in a few different ways. Veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach contain the pigment chlorophyll, which encourages the development of procollagen – a prerequisite for collagen production. They’re also packed with vitamins E, A and C, which are necessary for collagen synthesis.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are all rich in the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects against the degeneration of collagen. They’re also packed with vitamin C, which brightens skin and helps you achieve a healthy, youthful glow.
5. Citrus Fruits
Grapefruits and lemons and limes, oh my! Citrus fruits are filled with vitamin C, and help amino acids to convert to skin-plumping collagen. Similarly to berries, they also help fight off free radicals, and maintain the skin’s elastin.
These flavourful nuts contain copper, which our body uses to synthesise collagen, as well as vitamin E. This vitamin is the most plentiful antioxidant in our skin, and it works together with vitamin C to form collagen. A handful a day keeps the wrinkles away!
Soy contains the plant hormone genistein, which blocks skin-ageing enzymes and encourages the production of collagen. Tofu, soy milk and soy cheese are all great sources, and especially useful for those looking to up their collagen intake while avoiding meat and dairy.
8. Orange fruits and vegetables
Lots of fruits and veggies that are orange in colour are packed with vitamin A, which helps repair damaged skin by restoring collagen stores. Mangoes, carrots, butternut and sweet potatoes (but strangely, not oranges) are all plentiful sources. Add orange fruit salads and roasted vegetables to your diet and reap the beauty benefits.
Like chicken and other animals, fishes’ bones and connective tissue are made of collagen. Although the meat of the fish does contain a little collagen, research suggests that the skin, head and eyeballs are highest in the anti-ageing protein. The good news is, studies have shown that marine collagen might be the most easily absorbed by our bodies, so that wintery fish stew could be the key to tighter, brighter skin.
Like eggs, garlic is high in sulphur, which helps prevent collagen from breaking down, and boosts collagen synthesis. According to research, you’ll need to consume quite a lot of this flavour enhancer to fully see and feel the benefits, so double up on garlic in recipes!
FEATURE: CAITLIN GENG PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM