Follow these tips to naturally boost your supply of collagen, which plays a big role in glowing skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
Collagen is the most abundant type of protein in the body, primarily tasked with keeping skin, hair and nails strong and healthy. To ensure there’s always enough, the body uses protein from food sources as the building blocks to make more. “The protein we eat is broken down into amino acids during digestion, which is then reassembled into collagen,” says dietitian, Libby Mills. Fill your plate with lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey or pork.
Vegetables aren’t typically the highest sources of protein, unless you’re talking about the tiny but mighty green pea, which boasts nearly eight grams in just one cup. If you don’t like them on their own, try throwing some on a salad, adding to soup, or blending with fresh herbs to create a pesto you can toss with pasta.
Just one cup of this ancient grain delivers more than eight grams of collagen-supportive protein and a bit of zinc, a mineral that assists with the amino acid-to-collagen transformation. “Zinc and copper help those protein amino acids to become collagen,” says Mills.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C make it an essential component of collagen production; capsicums, particularly the red ones, are a good source of it. Collagen helps the skin maintain hydration and elasticity, which can help fight signs of ageing such as fine lines or wrinkles.
“We want the collagen being made to be reproduced exactly as it should be, and vitamin A plays a role in that,” says Mills. Carrots are a good source – eat them on their own, add to a salad, or blend with chickpeas (another good source of protein) to make a hummus.