I started taking collagen earlier this year. It has been 6 months and I can't believe how good I feel since I started taking it. In the first two weeks, I noticed my joints no longer ached. This was the main reason I decided to start taking collagen, joint health. I have osteoarthritis and was a loyal glucosamine chondroitin user for 15 years. But I felt it wasn't working as well for me anymore. This is why I started searching for an alternative and how I found collagen.
Some time later, I can't exactly pin-point how long, I started noticing my digestive system was really regular. Because my digestive system is working so well, I feel really light and have more energy. Then about 4 weeks ago, which is 5 months after taking collagen, a colleague at work complimented me on how shiny my hair was. Collagen is known for it's hair, skin and nails benefits. While that was not why I started taking collagen, the compliment sparked me to think about what had changed in my lifestyle. Collagen was the major change I've incorporated into my lifestyle!
Collagen is the substance of all body tissues. You body can make collagen by converting amino acids from proteins that we eat. Now you may be thinking that collagen can only come from animal sources. But that is not true! Eating foods rich in vitamin C can help the body make collagen. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and strawberries are great additions to your routine. Other foods that can help produce collagen in the body are*:
1) Soy products, including those made as meat substitutions, help produce collagen because of the genistein content. Genistein is an isoflavone that helps stimulate the process to make collagen in the body.**
2) Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and cabbage. These vegetables contain Lutein. If you consume 10mg of Lutein, which is 4 oz of spinach or 2 oz of kale, you will get results. A French study showed improvements in skin hydration and elasticity, which helps prevent wrinkles!
3) Omega Fatty Acids help with collagen production. In the American diet, we eat too many Omega-6's due to the use of corn oil and vegetable oils in our foods. So look to add omega-3 sources to support collagen production. Foods such as wild caught salmon, tuna, avocado and dark green leafy vegetables - like spinach - all have omega-3's.
As you can see, if you eat a broad variety of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods, your body can produce the nutrients you need. So you may be wondering why I am supplementing with collagen. Especially since I eat a mostly plant-based diet. It's because the nutrients in our foods are not always as strong as they should be. Due to fruits and vegetables being harvested before they are ripe. This is done in order to store and ship them with as little bruising as possible to our local grocery store.
Sure, there are times I can find organic vegetables or wild-caught salmon goes on sale, so we eat it for dinner. Or maybe it is summertime and I can pick fresh vegetables from the garden. But in general, I do not have access to a wide variety of organic options where I live. There isn't a Whole Foods close by or a year-round farm stand where I can get organic fruits and vegetables. Occasionally, I will drive to a Whole Foods to get a few items but the drive doesn't fit into my hectic routine.
So what about organic frozen vegetables? Yes, there are a few of those available. But, the grocery store I shop in, focuses on organic prepared meals or meat-replacements like Gardein products. When there is an inability to get the best nutrients I need from food, I turn to supplements.
There are a wide variety of collagen products on the market to fit (almost) everyone's needs. I am using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. They have a large variety of products and the company is very focused on providing a quality product. On their website, they state that quality vegan sources of collagen have not yet been found. So they don't have a vegan solution yet. But they have vegan supplements with key ingredients that can help your body produce collagen. Similar to how the foods I listed above can.
I put a scoop of collagen into my chai tea lattes in the morning. The collagen I buy is flavorless and does not interfere with the chai tea taste. There are plenty of flavored options and they even have creamers! Vital Proteins has also launched combination products such as Matcha with Collagen. But what I really love are the travel packs. I can easily stay on my routine when traveling on business or on vacation with the travel packs.
There are a ton of ways to cook with collagen as well. Below are a few amazing recipes to try. Simply click on the link to be brought to the recipes.
Collagen Protein Brownies from No Excuses Nutrition
Lemon Breakfast Cake from The Spunky Coconut
Collagen Boosted Paleo Protein Muffins by Empowered Sustenance
Gluten Free Pizza in a mug with Collagen by Simply Gluten Free
I hope this post peaks your interest to look into adding collagen to your lifestyle. I have found it very beneficial. There are very few supplements that can make you feel different. Collagen is one of them. If you decide to try collagen, let me know how it works for you. If you would like to receive healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.