Deriving its name from the Greek word kolla, collagen is a vital protein that helps to keep the body functioning. Fortunately, there are a number of foods that help to support the creation of collagen within our bodies, even without eating meat. Here are a few examples of the many different foods that provide the building blocks for the collagen production.
Soy products such as soymilk and cheese contain an isoflavone known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products their collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin. Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products.
Dark green vegetables are also excellent examples of foods containing collagen-producing agents. Rich in Vitamin C, regular consumption of kale, spinach, collards, and asparagus helps to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.
Eating red fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to increase the production of collagen. The presence of lycopene in these types of foods acts as an antioxidant, which in turn increases collagen production. Try adding red peppers, beets, and fresh or stewed tomatoes to the diet. Similarly, darker berries, such as blueberries and blackberries also help to boost the antioxidant level in the body and stimulate the production of collagen.
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids also helps to create an ideal environment for collagen production. Fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts such as cashews, pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts contain healthy amounts as well. For a snack that promotes healthy production of collagen, try making an avocado dip. Avocados contain the same omega fatty acids as fish, and are digested just as easily.
Foods that are rich in sulfur content are also important to collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery. Working in conjunction with the sulfur, vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A also aid in keeping collagen levels high. Try adding raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe and baked sweet potatoes to the diet for an extra boost.
One of the key points to keep in mind is that it is possible to provide everything your body needs to produce collagen by eating a balanced diet. By including some of the foods mentioned here, you will soon begin to see a difference in the quality of your skin tone, as well as having an improved sense of overall health.