13 Collagen Rich Foods To Add To Your Diet

 

Written by: Spencer Higgs - Jul. 20, 2020

collagen rich foods  

Imagine waking up every morning without joint pain. Or looking in the mirror and seeing smooth skin where wrinkles used to sag. Or brushing lush, glowing locks that used to feel coarse and thin. Research is showing that, in many cases, you can experience these benefits without plastic surgery or searching the globe for that fabled fountain of youth. You can do it with collagen, and there are many collagen-rich foods out there to help you. 

In fact, eating foods high in collagen is shown to have lasting benefits, not just for your appearance, but for your overall functional health. From the inside out, collagen supports our bodies as much as the healthiest of vitamins. If you’re looking to increase your collagen intake, the following foods with collagen and the information on collagen supplementation will help you make the best dietary choices based on your collagen needs.

collagen rich foods

Benefits Of Eating Foods High In Collagen


Eating a diet with foods high in collagen is one of the best things you can do for youthful longevity. Think of collagen as glue, holding together your body as it ages. Unfortunately, our body dramatically slows collagen production as we move into our late 20s and 30s. (Hence why we all lament, “everything hurts after 30.”)

Well that doesn’t have to be the case. Numerous studies point to a wide range of benefits of a collagen-rich diet. Depending on the type, collagen can:

  • Protect joints & reduce pain even from chronic disorders like osteoarthritis [1]
  • Increase mobility and muscle strength 
  • Reduce joint popping
  • Tighten skin & removes wrinkles by improving skin elasticity [2]
  • Smooth cellulite by strengthening connective tissues that prevent protruding fat deposits
  • Improve circulation which helps fight cellulite
  • Help you lose weight through lasting satiation after consumption
  • Thicken hair by supporting hair follicles
  • Reduce hair loss by increasing bioavailability of biotin
  • Help balance digestion and ease digestive issues such as leaky gut, IBS, and heartburn
  • Build lean muscle through increasing protein intake
  • Help burn fat during sleep by increasing metabolic function 
  • Support post-exercise muscle recovery and reduce activity-related pain [3]
Woman eating food high in collagen

Best Collagen-Rich Foods


Let’s take a look at some common foods high in collagen… 

1. Citrus


Citrus is perhaps most known for its abundance of vitamin C. And when it comes to collagen-rich foods, that’s a good thing. Vitamin C is the precursor to collagen production. [4]

Apart from taking daily supplements and eating foods with collagen already in them, chowing down on oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus is the best thing you can do to keep your skin healthy and firm. 

2. Salmon skin 


Fish and shellfish have collagen-based skeletons, so they’re great options for collagen-rich foods. That said, our diets usually don’t include the parts of fish that are most rich in collagen—like the scales… 🥴 head… 🤢 and eyeballs… 🤮

The exception may be fish skin, which has a “remarkably significant” anti-aging effect on our own skin’s elasticity, sebum production (moisturizing protection), and more. [5] So the next time you’re buying salmon, ask for skin-on filets. They’re healthy and delicious when crisped up with oil. 

3. Poultry


Chicken and turkey are two great foods high in collagen, and a rich source of Type II collagen which is found in cartilage [6]. If you’ve ever carved up a whole turkey for Thanksgiving, or rotisserie chicken for dinner, you certainly noticed all the cartilage and connective tissue. That said, if your hunt for age-defying, collagen-rich foods brought you to chicken, it’s worth knowing that chicken meat is not a good source of collagen. Unless you start gnawing on chicken cartilage, your best bet is turning the bones into a broth.

4. Bone broth


Bone broth is a popular choice for collagen-rich foods, behind collagen supplements. However, it’s not nearly the fountain of youth it’s frequently marketed as. Bone broth collagen is not fully hydrolyzed, so it’s not as easily absorbed by our bodies, compared to hydrolyzed collagen peptides. [7] That’s why it’s bone broth isn’t as effective as collagen peptides.

5. Bone marrow


Like bone broth, bone marrow is a source of collagen, and a good option for people seeking natural foods high in collagen. [8] Much like bone broth, it may be difficult to get beneficial collagen from bone marrow as it may not break down enough to enter your bloodstream.

6. Egg whites


Here’s another reason to order an egg-white omelet, instead of the traditional yolk-infused scramble: egg whites are rich in proline, which is an important amino acid your body requires to produce collagen. [9] When seeking out collagen-rich foods, those with amino acid precursors are a great place to start. 

7. Garlic


Apart from flavoring up pasta and fending off vampires, garlic shows promise when it comes to collagen production, if only slightly. That’s because garlic contains sulfur, which aids in collagen synthesis and combats the oxidative stress that leads to collagen breakdown. [10,11] Here’s the catch—you need a WHOLE lot to really help your collagen levels rebound. This isn’t great for first dates, but it still shouldn’t deter you! Garlic is loaded with other powerful nutrients, so think of it as a collagen bonus more than a collagen boost. 

8. Red ginseng


Ginseng is a widely popular herbal medicine with an equally wide array of potential health benefits, from oral health to ED. But it’s also incredibly good for hiding the signs of aging. In fact, red ginseng extract is shown in studies to reduce facial wrinkles through increased synthesis of Type I collagen. [12]

9. Shiitake mushrooms


Often, when we think of foods high in collagen, we’re not actually thinking about foods WITH collagen, but rather foods that help produce it. Such is the case with shiitake mushrooms. One cup of these fantastic fungi brings in a whopping 65% of your recommended daily value (RDI) of copper. Along with vitamin C, your body needs copper in order to produce collagen. [13]

10. Oysters


Oyster shots, anyone? Oysters are one of the best foods with collagen producing benefits. That’s all thanks to their abundance of the mineral zinc, another key element in the formation of collagen. Abundant is even an understatement. Oysters have around 52 milligrams of zinc—far more than the 11 milligram RDI. Together, oysters, mushrooms, and foods with lots of vitamin C (like citrus or sweet peppers) make for a great meal of collagen-rich foods. 

11. Cashews


A great way to get your fill of both zinc and copper is by grabbing a handful of cashews. They contain 11% and 31% RDI, respectively, as well as many other important and functional minerals. [14] Though cashews are extremely healthy nuts, keep in mind their noticeable caloric content. If you’re watching your weight, stick to only a handful or so per day. 

12. Beans


Not just good for your heart, beans are also good for your hair, nails, and skin. That’s because most beans provide your body with many of the amino acids that fuel collagen production. So while beans themselves don’t contain collagen, they can be just as beneficial for youthful revitalization as many foods that do. 

13. Leafy greens


From heart health to weight loss, is there anything leafy greens aren’t great for? Well, add collagen production to the list. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are excellent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. This means they help your body slow collagen degradation and may help increase collagen synthesis. [15]

When To Consider Collagen Supplementation


While a lot of foods contain collagen, and many more provide the amino acids that produce it, not all collagen is equal, even for foods high in collagen. Gelatin, the collagen found in bone broth for instance, isn’t as easily or effectively absorbed by our bodies. Additionally, depending on your collagen needs, getting the variety and amount of amino acids needed to produce age-defying benefits could be anywhere between difficult and impossible to consume by eating whole foods.

That’s when collagen peptide supplements are the best choice. Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed to break down easily and be effectively absorbed. This means that instead of spending a ton of money and time buying and cooking collagen-rich foods, you can get even the most distilled collagen in a scoop or two.

Arguably the best collagen supplements out there is SkinnyFit Super Youth collagen peptides. Of the 16 known collagen types, they contain five of the most effective, which means you’re a bigger benefit-bang for your buck. (Literally, Super Youth costs just $1.20 per serving!) Super Youth also comes in a variety of tasty flavors that you can mix into coffee, smoothies, water, cocktails, and even meals. Imagine getting more youthful joints and glowing skin by sipping tropical rum smashes all summer long! 🍹 

collagen rich foods

The Bottom Line 


It’s important to sustain collagen intake to live an active lifestyle and maintain a high quality of life as you age. Eating foods high in collagen will help, but your best bet for sustaining a youthful body inside and out is by supplementing your diet with high-quality hydrolyzed collagen peptides, such as Super Youth. You’ll save both time and money, and notice lasting benefits far sooner than be eating even the most collagen-rich foods.

 

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