How to Increase Collagen By Eating the Right Foods

verdungal Health Guide January 13, 2009
  • When you pass the cosmetic counter these days, all you seem to see are anti-wrinkle creams. Do these products actually work and do they really keep your skin looking younger?  The anti aging industry is a huge business. Many of us want to look younger, which makes it easy for these big companies to convince us, their cream with collagen will do the trick


    Most of these anti-wrinkle creams containing collagen and elastin, and won't do anything for us  at all due to the fact that that these two ingredients are structurally too dense to readily enter our skin. Unless both of these substances undergo extensive processing that will allow them to be absorbable then they will stay on the surface of the skin doing nothing.

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    Collagen is a type of protein, and works with keratin to provide the skin with strength, smoothness, elasticity and resilience. It is produced by the skin and other parts of the body. When you are young, you have an abundance of collagen in your body, which is why young children have such lovely shiny hair and smooth skin. It is referred to, as the cement which holds everything together. As you age collagen production declines and weakening of the skin occurs, this is when skin wrinkles, necks become saggy, lines form around eyes and mouth.


    The skin is made up of three layers, epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The second layer of the skin (dermis) is where the protein collagen is found. Collagen molecules are bundled together throughout the dermis.


    Always remember, anti aging facial creams with chemicals in them can actually age you instead of reversing aging. If these creams are not effective, what can be done to help stimulate skin cells , in order to boost collagen production.


    There are ways to help you increase the collagen in your skin, so you have to know what nutrients your body really needs to do this.


    Soy products  such as soymik and cheese contain an element known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products their collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin.  Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products.


    Dark green vegetables are also excellent examples of food containing collagen producing agents.  Add drak green leafy veggies such as spinach, cabbage and kale to your diet every day.  They are packed with an antioxidant called lutein.  You need 10 mg to get results - which equates to about  4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale.  Recent French research suggests this will boost skin hydration and elasticity, fighting wrinkles.  Rich in Vitamin C,  regular consumption of kale, spinach,collards, and asparagus help to strengthen the body's ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.


    Beans help your body produce a vital anti-ageing substance called hyaluronic acid.  Aim for at least two tablespoons of beans each day - broad or butter beans make a great substitute for mashed potatoes.


    Red fruits and vegetables also are excellent sources to up the collagen content of foods in the diet.  The presence of lycopenesl in these types of foods helps to act as

    antioxidants, which in turn increases collagen production. Try adding red peppers, beets, and fresh or stewed tomatoes to the diet. Also include sweet potatoes, carrots and more.  Research from Dr Ronald Watson at the University of Arizona has found that the antioxidants in red, yellow and orange foods build up under the skin creating extra UV protection. "The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen," says Dr Watson.

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    Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables are natural  sources of collagen production.  You should try to include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and strawberies into your daily diet.


    Prunes  One of the biggest causes of skin aeing is attack by substances called free radicals, that break down healthy skin tissues.  Antioxidants helps neutralise these free radicals before they can do any damage - and prunes are the fruit containing the absolute highest level of antioxidants. Blueberries are a close second. Eat five to six prunes, or a small basket of blueberries, daily to get a great health boost .


    Omega Acids also help to create an ideal environment for collagen production. Fish such as salmon and turna are excllent sources of omega fatty acids.  Nuts such as cashews, pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts contain healthy amounts as well.


    Flaxseed is a major sources of the healthy fat omega-3. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty layer made from this and other fats so, the higher your omega-3 intake the stronger that layer is, and the plumper your skin cells are - which helps disguise lines and wrinkles.  Mix it into smoothies or add it to balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, but try to have a tablespoon each day.


    Foods that are rich in sulphur content are also important to collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery. Working in conjunction with the sulphur, vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A also aid in keeping collagen levels high. Try adding raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe and baked sweet potatoes to the diet for an extra boost.


    Turkey contains a vital skin-friendly protein called carnosine  that slows down a process in the skin called cross-linking. When this happens, fibres grow into the collagen of the skin making it stiff and inelastic. This then stops it snapping back when you do things like smile, laugh or frown - and this is what causes smile lines or crows feet.  Eat turkey two to three times a week.


    Chocolate  is really is good for your skin. In studies in Germany, it was found that after drinking a cocoa-packed drink, blood flow to the skin was boosted (meaning it gets higher levels of nutrients and moisture). It also seemed to be more protected against UV damage - the number-one skin ager. Only dark chocolate contains enough antioxidants to have effects, though.


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    Manuka Honey is a special honey from New Zealand with unique healing properties. It has been used in skin care for centuries by the Maori people of New Zealand and it's easy to understand why. When used topically, Active Manuka Honey can restore and rejuvenate your skin. It supports the skin cell renewal process and assists in the formation of stronger collagen protein. As an added benefit, active manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce blemishes.


    Rose hips are one of the plants extract that can present a rich source of collagen. They  contain a high level of vitamin C, which is good for the production of collagen.


    Avocado Oil  If you want to know how to naturally produce collagen, you need to use face masks or creams that contain avocado oil. Avocado oil is deeply hydrating and highly compatible with the natural oils in your skin. Avocado oil is high in plant steroids,  which help to reduce blemishes and age spots. It also helps to regenerate and rejuvenate skin damaged by free radicals. Avocado oil is important because it is scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and it increases the proportion of soluble collagen in the dermis of your skin. And don't forget to include fresh avocadoes in your favourite salad and soup recipes!


    One of the key points to keep in mind is that it is possible to provide everything your body needs to produce collagen by eating a balanced diet. By including some of the foods mentioned here, you will soon begin to see a difference in the quality of your skin tone, as well as have an improved sense of overall health. So toss those "collagen" creams out and start shopping for foods that will actually help you re-grow the collagen you have lost!