It amuses me when a food or nutrient suddenly becomes “all the rage” and everyone is talking about it as if it’s something brand new and is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
The latest “wonder of the nutritional world” that is creating lots of buzz is collagen.
Collagen has been around since the dawn of time, but suddenly people are obsessed with it, adding protein powders to smoothies and popping supplements, wanting to get on the healthy collagen bandwagon.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your health…but let’s put the hype aside for a moment and look at what collagen really is, what it does for your body, and how you can naturally help make sure yours is healthy!
Collagen—what exactly is it?
Collagen is a protein that your body produces, and a complex one at that—it contains 19 different amino acids!
It’s found in your muscles, bones, tendons, connective tissues, blood vessels, digestive system, hair, nails and most especially, your SKIN. As a matter of fact, collagen makes up a whopping 70 percent of your skin’s protein.
So, if you’re noticing wrinkles on your face or the emergence of cellulite on your thighs, your collagen is likely to blame.
In addition to helping to create healthy, younger-looking skin, here are some of collagen’s other benefits:
- It helps your tendons and ligaments move easily and lubricates your joints.
- It enhances bone health.
- It supports a healthy gut wall, helping to heal leaky gut.
- It creates healthy hair and nails.
- It supports strong liver and cardiovascular health.
Supplies are limited!
Unfortunately, Mother Nature plays a cruel joke on us with respect to collagen.
When we are children and teens, our bodies produce plenty of collagen, but collagen production decreases as we age.
Once you reach your 20s, collagen production decreases by about 1 percent per year, and by the time you are in your mid-40s, your collagen level can fall by as much as 30 percent.
In addition, if you are under a lot of stress or have suffered a physical or emotional trauma, your body may not be able to produce all the amino acids needed for collagen on its own, which in turn can leave you running low.
Other factors that can impact your body’s ability to produce collagen include:
- A diet high in processed foods, sugars and unhealthy fats (vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, margarine)
- An unhealthy gut microbiome
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Too much alcohol
- Prescription and OTC drugs
Hang on! Collagen help is on the way!
The good news is there is a whole lot you can do to S L O W down collagen depletion and/or help support healthy collagen levels!
Here are some of the best ways you can show your collagen some love:
Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats
In addition to lighting fires of inflammation, ruining your digestion, feeding cancer and/or increasing your risk of heart disease, these foods are also collagen wreckers!
When shopping for your groceries, please keep it real—concentrate on meats, poultry, wild-caught fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs and healthy fats like real butter, olive oil and coconut oil.
Foods that are especially helpful for collagen are wild-caught salmon, citrus fruits, leafy greens, garlic and berries.
Get enough water
You should be drinking at least eight 8-oz. glasses of filtered water a day.
So, if Ronald Reagan was President last time you drank water for any reason other than taking medication, it’s time to up your water intake.
Stay away from tap water, as most municipalities have water fluoridation, and fluoride is another collagen depleter (among many other health hazards).
Balance your gut microbiome
A healthy gut is a must for many reasons, including healthy collagen. Poor gut health limits your body’s ability to absorb the amino acids needed for collagen (and other nutrients), plus it is less effective at eliminating dangerous, skin-wrecking toxins.
In addition to a healthy real foods diet, probiotic supplementation with a full-spectrum blend like Super Shield will help you achieve this crucial goal.
Super Shield’s 13 strains of well-studied, potent probiotic bacteria have been helping to create healthy guts all over the world for the past 10 years!
Put it to work for you—your gut (and the rest of your body!) will thank you handsomely.
Cover all your nutrient bases
Nutritional deficiencies can also deplete collagen.
Unfortunately, even if you have a healthy diet, our food is not a nutritious as it used to be, so you may be running short on certain nutrients and not even know it.
To help cover all your bases, a complete multi-vitamin and mineral formula like Super Core is your ticket.
In addition to a complete blend of essential nutrients, Super Core gives you the added benefit of natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, which further support healthy collagen levels!
Use vitamin C cream for your facial moisturizer
Vitamin C cream is a superstar to help support healthy collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines on your face.
I use Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Renewal Cream, but there are many great varieties out there.
Make a batch of bone broth!
Bone broth is a delicious, rich source of collagen that can be made from beef, poultry or fish bones. In addition to just drinking the broth, you can make it into many soups and stews, plus it freezes well.
There are a lot of great recipes out there, but this is one of my favorites:
Beef bone broth
Makes: 8 cups broth
4 pounds beef bones
12 cups filtered water
3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
1 handful fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place beef bones on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 30 minutes.
Fill a large stockpot with 12 cups water. Add roasted bones, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and vinegar. Add more water if necessary, to cover bones and vegetables.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly with lid slightly ajar for a total of at least 24 but up to 72 hours. No need to leave the pot unattended if you need to leave or while you are sleeping—you can simply turn it off, leaving it covered on the stove, and bring back to a simmer again when you are back in the kitchen. Periodically skim foam and fat from the top with a large spoon.
Add garlic and parsley during last 30 minutes of cooking.
When broth is done simmering, remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth and discard bones and vegetables. Cool then refrigerate overnight. Transfer into smaller containers if desired.
To your health,