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Eating Collagen For Stronger Joints? Here's What You Should Eat Instead

Collagen is fast becoming synonymous with younger looking skin. If you are a runner or particularly conscious about your joints, it is believed that consuming collagen directly will help add collagen to the body to promote even stronger joints. In the Far East, delicacies such as chicken feet and pig feet have been around for centuries with people consuming them for the health benefits associated with eating collagen-rich foods. But is this true?

What Exactly Is Collagen?

Collagen is a robust protein that makes up the structure and strength of your skin, bones, tendons, cartilages, and other connective tissues.1 In short, if we don’t have enough collagen in our bodies, we’re in big trouble.

We get our collagen from a varied diet full of nutrient-rich foods and it’s digested into amino acids, just like other proteins, when we ingest it. There is a myth that consuming collagen directly makes a difference to the amount of collagen in the body, whether consumed through food or supplements. But in fact, foods rich in collagen offer nothing more to the body than regular protein when ingested alone. Instead, it’s what we eat together with these amino acids that allows us to produce an optimal amount of collagen we need for healthy joints.

Brittle bones, and even scurvy, has been found to be caused by lack of collagen. Thus, it is incredibly important to have a diet that includes collagen. More importantly, it should be noted that eating collagen alone and directly is ineffective without a nutrient-rich diet to assist the body in proper absorption.

The Importance Of Vitamin C For Collagen Absorption

We may think of vitamin C in terms of warding off colds and flu, but it has a much more important job in our body – it’s an essential vitamin for proper growth and repair of your body’s tissues and also promotes the essential production of collagen.

In other words, the body uses up vitamin C to make collagen and without it, collagen would literally fall apart, your joints will start to fail, and other negative health implications can occur.

For a healthy person, taking in around 3000 mg of vitamin C a day will be enough to help produce the amount of collagen needed for good joint health. A higher dose would be recommended for when your health is less than average in order for your body to have a better chance of absorbing it. Fruits, such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, and guava, are all rich sources of vitamin C, along with vegetables, like red peppers, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts, will give you a good shot at properly absorbing this essential vitamin.

How Do I Promote More Collagen Production In My Body?

Eating collagen, which is naturally found in animal skin as discussed in the latest scientific research,2 can allow amino acids to be added to the body and promote stronger joints, but it needs to be in combination with vitamin C, as well as other collagen-boosting nutrients. Ideally, a collagen-rich diet needs to also include an abundance of these foods:

  • Foods rich in copper: Copper can also aid the production of collagen with foods such as organ meat (liver, kidneys etc.), shellfish, dark leafy greens, dried legumes, and nuts. Increasing your intake of copper-rich foods will inevitably help to increase your collagen levels.
  • Foods rich in iron: A study published in the 3 found that iron is not only great for producing healthy red blood cells, but also goes towards aiding collagen formation. Iron is a co-building block when it comes to collagen and, together with factors, it can allow the body to build up collagen at an optimum level.
  • Foods rich in vitamin B3: Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has been found to be beneficial in raising the formation of collagen.4 Consuming foods like beef liver, kidney, fish (such as swordfish, tuna, salmon), as well as, beetroot, and sunflower seeds will up your B3 levels and help the body towards better collagen production for healthy joints and skin.

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