- By: Brian Syuki
Collagen is a body protein that keeps the skin looking young. When your body has enough collagen, the skin is firm, soft and smooth. On the other hand, lack of collagen makes the skin look dull, saggy and wrinkly.
Most of the changes that occur on our skin as we age are caused by collagen loss. We start to lose collagen in our mid-20s and continue to lose more as we grow older.
Related: Health Benefits of Ingested Collagen
Unfortunately, the body doesn’t produce collagen, so we have to get it from our diet. But before we look into diet changes that boost collagen, here are things that cause collagen degradation:
Smoking: The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen.
Too much sun: Moderate sun exposure is good for your skin but excess exposure can damage it.
High sugar intake: Sugar can age you faster because it breaks down collagen.
Stress and inflammation: Stress can accelerate free radical activity which diminishes collagen production.
Thyroid problems: When the thyroid doesn’t function properly, it can hinder collagen production.
Aging: By the time you’re 80, you lose 4 times the amount of collagen you had in your 20s.
Other factors that may interfere with collagen production include, eating processed foods, overworking, exposure to radiation, too much alcohol, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.
Here are things you can do to boost collagen production and ultimately make your skin look youthful and vibrant.
1. Drink bone broth
Bone broth is one of the best sources of collagen. Animal bones contain collagen, which is transferred to the broth as you cook.
In fact, drinking bone broth won’t just keep your skin young, it can heal achy joints and muscles, and reduce inflammation. When making bone broth make sure it’s from grass-fed animals.
Related: How to Make Vegan Bone Broth
2. Use ginseng
Ginseng has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that using this herb can help increase production of collagen.
You can add ginseng to tea or take ginseng supplements.
3. Try aloe vera
The taste of aloe vera may not be pleasant but it can do wonders for your skin. According to research, taking aloe vera orally or applying it topically can increase collagen production.
Taking aloe vera supplements can actually improve skin health, according to this study.
4. Eat lots of dark green veggies
Eating spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli regularly can boost your collagen production. These veggies contain vitamin C and A, which are good for your collagen.
You may also want to add cilantro to your diet. It’s a good source of vitamin C. Plus, it contains linoleic acid which has been shown to have strong anti-aging properties.
5. Red light laser therapy
According to research, low-level red light laser therapy can boost collagen and reduce wrinkles on your skin. This technique reduces inflammation and death of cells, both of which help keep the skin looking youthful.
6. Increase vitamin C intake
Eating foods rich in vitamin C can help boost collagen production, according to research. Eat lots of fruits and veggies to get enough vitamin C.