You can buy it at the gym or grocery store. Or drug store. It’s in magazines, on TikTok. You can mix it into a drink or use it in skin care. What is this wonder product? Collagen. Although it’s been around forever it seems, it’s also apparent that we can’t get enough.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that collagen is a protein. In fact, it is the most plentiful protein in the body. It’s found in muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, skin, intestinal line and connective tissues.
The vitality of all the above is closely entwined with the amount of collagen in our system. Unfortunately, we can’t measure the collagen in our body, but we can sure tell when it’s not there. Crepey skin, wrinkles, stiff joints, shrinking muscles and GI issues are some of the indicators that our levels aren’t what they used to be.
So it’s no wonder we’re willing to do most anything to replenish the supply.
We can make it naturally through a good diet. It takes amino acids, Vitamin C, zinc and copper.
To naturally boost your collagen, try these protein-rich foods:
And these foods which are a good source of Vitamin C:
These minerals (zinc and copper) are found in these foods:
Once you hit middle-age, you need to boost your diet to up your collagen. Vital Proteins has a wide assortment of collagen powders and products to supplement your diet. But a lot of people prefer to go DIY, making their own bone broth.
Yep, you heard that right. Bones are rich in collagen and like the name implies, it requires boiling and simmering bones- for a day or two- in order to get the them to release their bounty.
If you’re interested, here’s a recipe excerpted by the Minimalist Baker:
- Save the bones from your roasted chicken (including legs and wings that may have been on the serving platter), and add to a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Top with filtered water until generously covered (about 12 cups / 2880 ml).
- Add in a bit of salt to season the broth (you can add more later).
- Then add 1-2 Tbsp (15-30ml) apple cider vinegar, which is added primarily as the acidity breaks down the collagen and makes it more abundant in the broth. You can also sub lemon juice, but we prefer apple cider vinegar.
- Boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for at least 10-12 hours, or until reduced by 1/3 or 1/2, leaving you with 6-8 cups of bone broth. The more it reduces, the more intense the flavor becomes and the more collagen is extracted. 12 hours to be the perfect cook time.
- Strain and use or store.
It’s actually not too difficult. Now to the ‘why’. Why are we so cray-cray about collagen, that we’re willing to save and boil bones? The answer is also pretty straight forward. Health experts say it seems to work. Maintaining or increasing our body’s collagen, may just give us younger looking skin and more flexible joints.Many, many studies back that up, concluding collagen products play an important role in health, especially as we age. And there you go, the collagen craze is one trend that really delivers.