Protein is a well-known talked class of food that is highly needed for human growth, as it is crucial to good health. Protein is found throughout the body; in muscle, bone, skin, hair, in fact almost all parts of the body, tissues inclusive. Proteins are made up of amino acids that join together to form long chains (Think of it as a string of beads).
Proteins are responsible for body growth and maintenance, causes biochemical reactions within and outside the cells– enzymes, balance fluids, forms antibodies to fight infections, transports and stores nutrients and many more benefits to the body. The most abundant protein in your body is COLLAGEN.
What then is Collagen?
According to Sonya Angelone, RDN- spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in San Francisco, “collagen is a type of protein that plays an important role in building and supporting many tissues, from bones, and cartilage to skin, hair, eyes, and the digestive system.” It is safe to say that it is the glue that holds the body together.
Collagen is responsible for your skin’s structure, texture, strength, elasticity, and resilience. When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth and firm. It helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also keeps the skin moist. For these reasons, collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years.
What foods are high in collagen?
Foods rich in protein like meat, eggs, fish, seafood, beans and dairy will provide your body with an array of amino acids needed to make collagen. Other foods that are rich in collagen are bone bisque and gelatin.
Which factors contribute to the loss of collagen in the skin?
With aging comes reduction in the supply of collagen. As you age, collagen starts to degrade and your genetics is a factor that can influence how fast that degradation occurs.
Some environmental factor such as exposure to UV rays and pollution contributes to the loss of collagen in the skin. That is not all, as bad lifestyle habits (smoking) and poor diet cannot be left out. These create free radical formation that alters the production and supply of collagen in our skin by speeding the collagen breakdown.
What happens when collagen begins to degrade in the skin?
As collagen begins to degrade in the skin, you may notice wrinkles, inflexible or rigid tendon and weaker muscles, joint pain and gastrointestinal problems.
Apart from foods, how else can collagen be replenished in the skin?
- Products largely formulated with aloe vera gel are very good stimulator of collagen as it doubles the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen. It stimulates the correct cells to grow. You either apply as a cream or use supplements rich in aloe vera.
- The use of antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from free radical. PS- Not all antioxidants will boost collagen production but they will help the collagen that is present to do the best it can. Examples of antioxidants are blueberries, coffee extract, pomegranate extract, licorice extract, thyme essential oil.
- Retinol, another type of antioxidant that is mostly used to boost collagen levels, increase the lifespan of collagen, and also block certain enzymes that destroy collage, makes it a perfect addition to your skincare routine. You can check out VSP Dazzle oil, rich in Retinol from www.vspbotanics.com
Practice self-care with skin massage, and consuming fruits rich in vitamin C, Zinc and copper
Are there side effects and risks to be aware of as regards to collagen?
No health records have shown that there are natural risks associated with collagen, since it is an important component of a healthy body. The only advice is that if you are interested in taking collagen supplement, do your research. That may not be enough. Most importantly, see your/a healthcare team or dermatologist to choose a high-quality supplement from a trusted brand. You may be allergic to some sources of collagen like, egg, meat, fish. Then, you are at risk of having a serious reaction to collagen gotten from those foods.
KNOW YOUR BODY AND DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR HEALTH