Before I get into today’s topic, I would ask that we all take a moment of reflection and prayer for those who lost their lives 22 years ago today in the 9/11 tragedy, as well as their loved ones.
It amuses me when a food or nutrient explodes in popularity, and people talk about it as if it’s something new.
A perfect example here is collagen.
Collagen has been around for as long as humans have, but currently increasing numbers of 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 at a healthy level!
What exactly is collagen?
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 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 far away from processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats
In addition to stirring up 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.
Let the late great Jack LaLanne’s motto be yours as well: “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
Real foods that are especially helpful for collagen are wild-caught salmon, citrus fruits, leafy greens, garlic and berries.
Drink 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.
A good barometer is to look at your urine. If your urine is dark, opaque and/or cloudy at any time other than first thing in the morning, trust me, you need water.
Avoid tap water, as most municipalities have water fluoridation, and fluoride is another collagen wrecker (among many other health hazards).
Balance your gut microbiome
A strong, 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 multi-strain probiotic formula will help you achieve this crucial goal.
Note that if you have intestinal issues, are a sugar-a-holic or wouldn’t know a vegetable if it jumped up and bit you in the derriere, your microbiome may be in serious imbalance and waving the white flag of defeat.
In that case, the additional potency in our Super Shield PLUS probiotic formula can help you turn that around and pave the way for a healthier gut environment.
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 have used Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Renewal Cream for years, 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 countless soups and stews, plus it freezes well.
There are a lot of great recipes out there, but here is one using a crock pot that is easy and delicious:
Easy slow cooker beef bone broth
Assorted beef bones (2-4 pounds)
2-3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2-3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1-2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 handful fresh parsley
Filtered water to cover bones and vegetables
Place all ingredients in slow cooker crock.
Add water to about 2 inches above the bones and vegetables. Try not to add too much, because you may end up with a very watery broth. You can always add more later to the cooked bone broth if desired.
Slow cook on low for 18 hours minimum, and up to 24 hours.
Remove crock pot lid and cool the broth until it's safe enough to pour into jars or containers.
Strain the broth into one or more containers using a fat skimmer or mesh strainer. Put the broth in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the layer of fat that accumulates on top and discard.
Note that you can make this recipe on the stovetop in a soup pot as well, but the 18-hour cooking time can be difficult and inconvenient.
To your health,