It’s no secret that starting around age 25, the body’s natural ability to make collagen begins to decrease. As collagen production slows, you may notice your skin looks more wrinkled and less firm. While it’s tempting to go to your favorite beauty store and buy a fancy moisturizer that contains collagen, it turns out the molecules are actually too large to be absorbed by skin, so while your face may be getting a dose of hydration, it’s not getting any of the benefits of collagen. One way your body can increase its collagen intake, however, is by eating or drinking it.
“Collagen gives elasticity to your skin and tissues. It helps with [skin health] and strengthens muscles,” Anita Mirchandani, RD, tells Lively. “Eating foods that contain the amino acids glycine and proline can help the body’s production of collagen.”
Collagen is a protein found in our tissue, and it can help the skin stay elastic. We talked to three registered dietitians about the best collagen-rich foods you can buy anywhere. The best part? Some can probably be found in your kitchen right now.
Bone broth gets a lot of love when it comes to talking about collagen. It’s made by boiling animal bones to extract the minerals and collagen. “Bone broth is one of the most nutrient-dense foods. It's a rich source of replenishing minerals, hydrating electrolytes and one of the best sources of the protein, collagen!” Anna Bohnengel, RD, and co-founder of Alavita Nutrition, tells Lively. It does take a long time to make, but there are some great store-bought options available, too.
Speaking of store-bought options, consider giving our Bone Broth Collagen a try! It's crafted with USDA Organic bones that are simmered slowly to extract the maximum amount of nutrients. The bones are either sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle or free-range chickens. They offer 9 grams of protein.
“Foods rich in vitamin C or zinc help produce collagen,” Mirchandani says. These include berries [and] citrus fruits which are the perfect snacks to grab and go, plus the natural sweetness may help stave off sugar cravings, which studies show can actually damage collagen.
In addition to stocking up on your fruits, you can also take a vitamin C supplement like our vegan Beauty Boost Capsules to boost, or maintain, your vitamin C levels. Other options include our Glow Collagen Shot and our Hyaluronic Acid Super Surge Capsules — just to name a few options.
Eggs contain glycine and proline which are two of the main amino acids that make up collagen. They’re also “rich in nine essential amino acids which we need for our muscles and tissues,” Ilyse Schapiro, RD, tells Lively. “Eggs are rich in protein which can fill you up, and choline [which] is great for brain health.”
Cashews contain zinc and copper, which “boost the body's ability to create collagen,” Mirchandani says. Plus they make a filling and portable snack. You can even make your ownGolden Spiced Cashew Butter.
These collagen gummy recipes give a grown-up twist on the wiggliest dessert. Gelatin and collagen are very similar except gelatin is not soluble in cold water, and as the name suggests, it gels. If you make the gummies, you can use any juice you’d like, except for pineapple, “which contains an enzyme that doesn’t allow gelatin to turn into gummy form,” Bohnengel says.
Our Beef Gelatin makes for a delicious ingredient in some of your favorite savory or sweet meals is always a good idea. Think: Paleo Pizza and Dairy-Free Banana Pudding. The possibilities are endless! But one of our fan-favorite recipes where we see Beef Gelatin really shine is in protein gummies. These Peaches & Cream Gummies taste like gummy candy, but really they’re supplying you with enough collagen for the day.
Bell peppers are quick and easy to toss in a salad or dip into hummus. Red bell peppers, specifically, “are rich in vitamin C which is an antioxidant that can help with skin regeneration [and] is also great for the immune system,” Schapiro tells Lively.
Marine Collagen is found in fish, but many people don’t eat the parts of the fish, like the skin, bones, scales and eyeballs, that are richest in collagen. It’s okay to eat a bit of the skin to get some added collagen into your diet. “Fish is rich in Omega 3s which are great for your brain, plus they can protect your heart,” adds Schapiro. Fish also contains DHA and EPA, both of which can give your skin an added glow.
Consider trying our Vital Proteins Marine Collagen, made from the scales of fresh, non-gmo, wild-caught white fish. It's highly bio-available, digestible and soluble in cold water.
Of course, we'd be remiss *not* to mention one of our very own food products that are — our Collagen Bars™. Why you’ll love them? We embrace the fact that your mouth is for snacking – not for reading hard-to-pronounce ingredients. That is, each Collagen Bar™ contains 12g of collagen, 2-4g of sugar and 200 calories or less per serving. Plus, all 6 flavors (listed out below) are gluten and dairy free, and contain no artificial flavors, colors or additives. Snack breaks, here you come!