Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Andrea, shares an inside look at the important role of Collagen in maintaining youth even as you age.
The popularity of Collagen has grown in the past few years launching it to the forefront of anti-aging practices. It is the most abundant protein in the body and serves a significant function as the foundation in building and maintaining the integrity of the tissues that make up our skin, muscles, organs, bones, cartilage, tendons, connective tissues, joints and ligaments. It also influences hair growth and luster and can support hydration and the elasticity of the skin. Collagen is the glue or binding that holds everything together and provides structural support, suppleness, elasticity and strength. It is also instrumental in tissue and wound healing.
Potential Benefits of Collagen in the Body:
- Maintaining bone health and joint function
- Supporting healthy, glowing skin
- Maintaining gut health (which is also linked to digestive health and overall immune function)
- Serving as an anti-inflammatory
- Improving mood and reducing anxiety (some people report better sleep)
- Promoting hair and nail growth
- Aiding in cell renewal and turnover, regeneration of tissues, cartilage and bones from cuts, injuries, fractures and surgery
- Supports slowing down the aging process
Our body naturally produces its own collagen, but this slows down as we age. We would all love to find ways to minimize the aging process in order to be in our best health as we get older. This is where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
You can promote collagen formation by taking supplemental collagen and/or incorporating more foods that support the formation and the prevention of the breakdown of existing collagen in your body. A good diet is key regardless, even if you choose to take a collagen supplement. Your dinner plate and what you eat (and drink) is your best healthy-aging tool.
Foods, Superfoods and Herbs that Support Collagen in the Body (this is the short list!):
Home-made Bone Broth: If you make your own, you need good quality bones and time as it takes 24-48 hours to make a good quality bone broth.
Erie Bone Broth: This is sold at Heinen’s. It has great taste and flavor, just like home-made. Sold in our frozen foods section. You only need ½ cup a day. Available in Chicken, Turkey or Beef.
For centuries, people have been making bone broth, a great source of collagen and the building blocks for collagen formation. My grandparents and parents made bone broth all of the time and they were healthy and strong well into old age. Minerals such as silica and sulfur, support to maintain collagen levels, as well as vitamin C which keeps tissues toned. Sulfur is a mineral in high concentration in the body and very necessary for the formation of healthy cells and tissues.
Dark Colored Vegetables and Fruits: Dark green leafy greens, dandelion greens, all of the berries, figs, purple cabbage, beets, dark skinned fruit like purple plums and grapes, purple eggplant, pomegranate
Foods High in Silica: Celery, rhubarb, cucumber (especially the skins!), asparagus, parsley, sunflower seeds, spinach, bananas, strawberries, mangos, green beans, whole grains
Foods High in Sulfur: Eggs, garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, green onions, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, green or purple cabbage, cauliflower (I am sneaking MSM supplements in here because I think they are amazing!)
Foods High in Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, pineapple, kiwi, hibiscus tea, rose hip tea, rooibos tea, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, lacuma fruit, chestnuts, red peppers
Foods High in Vitamin A: Peaches, cantaloupe, apricots, pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes
Herbs: Gotu kola, stinging nettle, dandelion, chicory, ginseng, horsetail, boswellia, holy basil
Raw Nuts and Seeds (preferably sprouted): Walnuts, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts hazelnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chestnuts
Medicinal Mushrooms: Reishi, chaga, cordyceps, lions mane, turkey tail, maitake, shitake
Superfoods: Chlorella, spirulina, red algae, wheatgrass, barley grass, chlorophyll, aloe vera juice, matcha, green tea, white tea, amla berry, goji, maca, schisandra berry, blue butterfly pea flower (a new tea from a flower originating from Thailand)
Fermented Foods: kombucha, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, pickles and more!
If you are vegan and choose to avoid animal products, there are many plant sources from the list above that will serve you well.
Whatever you choose, be sure to choose a quality product to ensure that the sources are clean and provide the best nutrition. Organic is best, but also “know your sources”. We do our best at Heinen’s to source reliable products. Talk to your Heinen’s Wellness Consultant for more information and support.