Collagen is a protein found in your muscles, bones, blood, and around three-quarters of your skin. It helps promote structure, support, and, when it comes to your skin, elasticity.
Your body produces collagen naturally, but as you age, you start to produce less and less of it (1). Because of that, older people’s skin often starts to look thinner and wrinkled.
While aging is a natural part of life, many foods can help your body produce more collagen. That’s because they contain glycine, lysine, and proline—the three amino acids your body uses for collagen synthesis.
Let’s look at some of the many foods that can help with collagen production.
White meat chicken contains large amounts of collagen—so much so that most collagen supplements are derived from chicken. The connective tissues you see when cutting pieces of chicken are why it’s such a great source of collagen.
One of the best parts of chicken is that the ways to prepare it are nearly limitless. Eat it with a side of rice, cook it in soup, or put cold cuts on top of a salad—you’re getting the collagen (and other nutrients) either way.
Like poultry and other animals, fish are full of ligaments and bones—both of which contain collagen. You can therefore get the benefits of collagen through everything from a tuna melt to salmon and risotto.
Unfortunately, the most collagen-rich parts of fish are often the ones that people don’t enjoy eating. These include places like the eyeballs, scales, and head.
If fish heads and eyeballs sound intimidating, stick to fruit. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries all come loaded with vitamin C. Many studies show that vitamin C has an impact on collagen production (2).
If you’re worried about your skin’s appearance, berries are also a great choice since they contain antioxidants. These protect your skin (and other parts of your body) from damage.
4. Leafy greens
Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods that you can eat. They contain everything from vitamin C to potassium and iron.
Leafy greens also contain chlorophyll, which is an antioxidant. Although researchers are still investigating the exact connection, many believe that chlorophyll helps with the collagen production process.
5. Egg whites
Despite having a mixed reputation for many years, health experts have concluded that many of the fears surrounding eggs are unwarranted. A moderate consumption of them, for example, won’t increase your risk of heart disease or diabetes (3).
While eggs don’t have the connective tissues that chicken, fish, and other types of animals have, they do have a lot of proline. That’s one of the amino acids that helps your body produce collagen.
A healthier, more beautiful you
While collagen helps your skin look youthful and healthy, remember that’s not all it does. It also helps with issues like joint pain and digestion.
Make sure to add these foods to your diet to ensure that you look and feel your best no matter how old you are.