You're already sipping bone broth on a cool day. (Even when it's warm out, you should still drink it; warm foods are better for your digestion.)
You've even hopped on the Protein Coffee craze.
And, to further strengthen and support your digestive system, skin, joints, nails, and bones, you're adding Grass-Fed Collagen Peptide powder to your smoothies, coffee, yogurt and juice, etc.
But what are the absolute best foods to eat--other than bone broth/collagen--to support your body's collagen?
The answer: with apologies, please wait a few paragraphs for the answer....
In case there are those who are reading this unfamiliar with what collagen does in the body, here's a brief primer....
Perhaps you've heard that collagen supplements are good for your skin. But you don't really know why.
Well, here's why:
Short Refresh: What is collagen in the body?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Now, when you think of the word, protein, don't think of chicken, steak, bacon, tuna, etc. Rather, think about the proteins that make you who you are.
In fact, there's lots of proteins in your body. There might be up to 100,000 different proteins in your body. Science has isolated tens of thousands of proteins. But there is likely more.
So out of all the different proteins in your body, collagen is by far the most abundant. Roughly one-third of your body is made out of different types of collagen.
There are about 20 types of collagen. But the ones that are going to be of special interest to you are types 1 and 3.
Most of the clinical benefits from collagen for your hair, skin, and nails are attributable to type 1 and 3. Think of type 1 and 3 collagen as the glue-like substance that holds your tissues together.
Types 1 & 3 often come together in our single-serve dried bone broth and collagen products. And the reason why it's essential to supplement with collagen products is that as you age, your internal collagen starts wearing down.
It's by ingesting the collagen from other animals that we're able to nourish our internal collagen.
But not all is hope for our vegetarian and vegan friends.
And this leads us to the feature of this post....
Best Foods For Your Body's Own Collagen
Just as wild salmon and other cold-water oily fish are, in our opinion, the best source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, we also think animal-derived collagen is superior for strengthening and supporting human collagen.
(Yes, you can eat walnuts to get omega-3 fatty acids. However, walnuts are mostly ALA-type fatty acid. It does not convert extraordinarily well into the two more potent omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA.)
However, there are non-animal sources of food that are also excellent for supporting internal human collagen.
And these foods all have one thing in common: vitamin C.
By eating foods that are rich in vitamin C, you're helping your body create precursor building blocks to collagen (namely, the two amino acids: proline and lysine).
[In this study, the researchers conclude vitamin C induces a dose-dependent increase in collagen type I deposits by normal human fibroblasts, which are cells in connective tissue that produce collagen.]
Vitamin C helps form nearly every type of collagen in the human body.
But there's two problems with eating vitamin C-rich foods....
First, vitamin C needs to "hook up" with other nutrients (specifically, enough of certain types of amino acids) in order to synthesize fibroblasts.
That's why we think bone broth and collagen peptides are the best for supporting your internal collagen. You don't have to worry about amino acid combinations.
Second, some foods with the highest levels of vitamin C may cause inflammation or food allergy symptoms. Take tomatoes, for example....
For people with joint inflammation, nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger more inflammation.
If you are vegan, eating lots of leafy green veggies and other low-starch veggies and a modest amount of citrus should provide you with adequate collagen synthesis. But it's really hard to know how to combine foods for optimal collagen formation.
Nonetheless, getting multiple sources of vitamin C is an important component of any healthy diet, whether vegan or not.
Best Foods For Healthy Gut, Skin & More: Collagen
For some people, consuming animal products is out of the question. That's, of course, a personal decision and one we respect.
However, we have received some emails from former vegans who reported chronic fatigue, poor digestion, thinning hair and other health concerns. Albeit reluctantly, some former vegans reported improved health after consuming bone broth and/or collagen peptides.
If you're a vegan with health concerns, bone broth and collagen peptides are very easy for the body to absorb and digest.