Collagen continues to make waves in the health and wellness world, and for good reason—the structural protein is the most abundant protein in our bodies and is found in our muscles, bones, skin, digestive system, tissues, and more. As we age, collagen production naturally begins to decline, which manifests as wrinkles, joint pain, sagging skin, and the like.
This is why the health community is so preoccupied with it; collagen is viewed as a touchstone of youth, and some believe that boosting your intake of it can preserve your skin’s elasticity, reverse signs of hair loss, boost your metabolism, ease joint pain, reduce the appearance of cellulite, build muscle mass, and more. While some have turned to collagen supplements as an anti-aging aid, other experts believe that you can get all the collagen you need from your food.
“I discourage people from supplementing collagen,” said Ashley Barrient, RD, a bariatric dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, to Prevention. “It’s going to be a waste of money because your body is not going to utilize that extra collagen. Instead, a well-balanced diet rich in lean protein, heart-healthy fat, fruits, and vegetables has all of the key collagen-synthesizing nutrients you need.” Consider boosting your intake of the following seven foods for supple skin, healthy bones, and strong hair and nails:
- Red bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Lean turkey
- Sunflower seeds