Everyone have started to talk about collagen these days and for a good reason. If you have been in social media you know that collagen is one of the HOT thing right now. Ever wondered what is this collagen all about and why did it gain so much importance in the recent times and what it is used for?? I am here to answer all your burning collagen questions in this information blog post.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the structural protein found in skin and connective tissue and it makes up about 30% of the protein found in the human body. There are various types of protein and each of those types have benefits to skin, nail, hair and bone. It gives bulk, shape and support to bone, blood vessels and organs like heart, kidney, liver, etc. Finally it is the glue that holds our body together.
In what ways does it contribute to your health?
Collagen has numerous health benefits from relieving joint pains to improving skin health. Although many health benefits have been claimed more research is needed before formal conclusion can be made. Let’s discuss about some of the promising health benefits that are being studied.
Supports healthy metabolism and aids in weight loss- Collagen supports a healthy metabolism. It helps to add lean muscle mass and in the conversion of essential nutrients. For anyone trying to lose weight, collagen can support your weight loss efforts. It stimulates the release of satiating hormones into the blood stream which can help reduce appetite. Thus by making you feel full and by effective metabolism it aids in weight loss
Improves the health of skin and hair- Collagen is an essential building block of the skin. With collagen’s unique ability to help renew and repair cells, good skin integrity depends on higher levels of this vital building block. It helps in maintaining skin elasticity and skin mositure. It is one of the best ways to maintain your skin’s youthful tone, texture and appearance. It is an excellent anti-aging components. So those who are in late 30’s you can follow collagen diet to keep your skin free from wrinkles and have a young look.
When coming to hair, collagen is important to give a structure and bounce to it. It is essential for maintaining healthy hair and for new hair growth. When collagen is deficient, it triggers premature hair loss and also hair will become weak, brittle and dull.
Helps relieve joint pain – Collagen supports the body’s ability to produce chemicals that naturally support healthy joints and helps the joints move easily. But when you get older the amount of collagen decreases and the risk for developing joint disorders like osteoarthritis increases. Studies have found that supplementation of collagen help improve joint disorders and overall joint pain.
Promotes heart health – Collagen keeps your heart healthy. It provides structure to the blood vessels and stiffness to the walls of the heart. If there is no sufficient amount of collagen the blood vessels become weak and fragile. This may lead to atherosclerosis and heart attack. But whereas if sufficient amount of collagen is present, it helps to disintegrate plague deposits and repair tissues in the blood vessels.
Additionally, collagen helps to increase HDL, good cholesterol levels. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to support this.
Could prevent bone loss – 1/3 of our bone is made up of collagen. It gives them structure, strength and flexibility. Adding more of collagen to your diet helps to keep your bone stronger. It increases bone mineral density and reduces the risk of fractures. Supplementation of collagen have found to prevent and even reverse osteoporosis.
Strengthens bone, hair, nail and teeth – As discussed earlier, collagen is the substance that gives structure and strength to bone and hair. Likewise it is the structural unit for nails and teeth also. It helps to anchor our teeth to gums. It helps to maintain the health of nails. Collagen prevents brittle nails and broken nails and also support the growth of nails.
Supports the detoxification system – Detoxification is the process by which toxins from the blood are transformed to components that can be excreted from the body. Liver is the primary organ which involves in detoxification. As you are exposed to more amount of toxins the body’s ability to excrete decreases and also liver gets weakened.
It is found that collagen helps in this detoxification process and can reduce damages to the liver by the toxins. It also improves the body’s use of antioxidant, substance which aids in detoxification.
Improves sleep quality – Many people now are looking for natural ways to improve their sleep quality. The best solution is collagen. Taking collagen at night reduces the level of brain chemical, cortisol and makes you feel relaxed and thus it improves your sleep quality.
For whom collagen diet is beneficial ?
Beauty conscious women, who are in late 30’s and mid 40’s to maintain their skin elasticity, prevent hair loss and brittle nail and also to have a youth look free from wrinkles can start following collagen diet. Collagen diet is also beneficial for people who have osteoporosis and other bone disorders because it helps to relieve pain and reverse osteoporosis. People who are at the aim of losing weight can also follow collagen diet.
You can add collagen rich foods in your diet maybe for 2 meals. But you have to be conscious if you are going to make collagen foods only as your main food for all 3 meals and avoid your regular rice, roti, etc. Just remember a point, that is whatever maybe the diet collagen/keto/gm, it is not the regular way in which your body and genes have been used to for generations after generations. So when you introduce a new way of diet your body will definitely go under a shock. It may be good and sometimes may be bad. So it’s your responsibility to be conscious when you start following a new way of diet. In case if you find any symptoms you have to stop it.
Foods that are rich in collagen
Collagen is something that our body needs to keep the skin, bone, blood vessels, organs healthy. As we age, our body’s natural production of collagen slows down. We notice this in our skin, which is no longer as firm and smooth. In addition to our skin, the decrease in production affects the health of our gut, joints, ligaments, hair, nails, teeth, and bones. A lack of this vital nutrient can even impact vital organs like the heart and liver. Fortunately you can increase it by consuming foods rich in collagen promoting nutrients.
- Chickpeas, beans, lentils
- Egg white
- Bone broth
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Red and yellow veggies
- Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus fruits
- Nuts like almond, walnut
- Seeds like sunflower, hemp, sesame
Here’s just an idea of how you can include the above foods in your daily diet. My personal advice is that to add collagen rich foods in your diet along with your regular meals. You can use calories counter to plan your potion size based on your requirements like age, BMI and physical activity level. If you are in weight loss plan, have your total calories to be between 800-1200kcal. Try to make your meals balanced that is, a food from each food groups (cereal, protein, veggies, fruit, milk)
Breakfast – Veg egg omelette -Veg (Bell pepper, tomatoes, spinach, onion, garlic) egg (1 whole egg + 3 egg white) and a citrus fruit
Mid-morning – Bone broth soup (or) dark green leafy veg soup
Lunch – Quinoa upma with veggies (or) Baked/steamed chicken salad (or) cabbage momo stuffed with chicken or broccoli (or) steamed sweet potatoes
Eve snack – Almond milk + Berries
Dinner – Fruit salad (or) chickpeas salad (or) steamed fish
Eat healthy to live healthy!!!