Collagen…you’ve probably heard of it by now. But what is it exactly? Where does it come from? And what is all the hype about?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body! It is found throughout your body from your hair, skin, nails, bones to your tendons, cartilage, muscles, joints and digestive tract. It is likened to the “glue” that holds your body together. As we age, collagen production begins to slow making collagen consumption even more vital. Collagen was once very predominant in our diet as we consumed the organs, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues and even bones and skin of animals. Our diet today generally leaves these out as we consume mostly muscle meats from animals.
Why is collagen so important? Collagen is a great source of protein and a spectacular source of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a crucial role in almost every system throughout the body!
Amino acids help to:
- Create and protect blood vessels, muscles, connective tissues and skin
- Build healthy DNA
- Boost energy
- Produce and regulate hormones (regulate sleep, mood, cognitive function & more!)
- Nourish and protect the gut (where most of our immune system resides)
- Heal and repair
- Protect the joints
- Promote health of hair, skin & nails
So how can I get collagen into my diet? Foods rich in collagen are bone broth, fish (especially the bones and skin), eggs and meat that includes connective tissue (think beef chuck). There are also plenty of collagen supplements to help you ensure you are consuming an adequate amount, especially if you are over 35 when collagen production begins to decline. There are plain, unflavored, tasteless collagen supplements that are in powder form and can be added to any liquid. These are great to add to your coffee, smoothies, soup, etc. Other collagen powders are flavored, usually chocolate/vanilla, and are a great addition to smoothies! You can also get a collagen supplement in pill form that you can add to your daily supplement regimen.