Superfood Spotlight #5: Collagen-Rich Foods!

I know I’ve started each one of these saying, “ahhh my favorite!” But I think this one truly is.

I’ve seen huge changes personally in my health after incorporating collagen into my diet and am passionate about it’s health benefits. Collagen-rich foods are become increasingly available and I can’t wait to share all of my favorites with you!

Before we start however, what is collagen!?

I find it’s one of those things you either know nothing about, or happen to LOVE and incorporate daily-yes daily (and I’ll let you know how I make that super easy for myself and you can too!)

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. “It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together.” (1)

It’s especially beneficial for hair, skin and nails, joint & bone health, the gut, weight & metabolism.

You may have heard of collagen in it’s relation skin health. Unfortunately as we age, we produce less collagen. Collagen is what gives our skin strength and elasticity- something I’m sure we all want! 

Well we’re all in luck, “double-blind, placebo-controlled studies investigating the anti-aging properties of collagen have found that 2.5-5 grams of collagen hydrolysate used among women ages 35-55 once daily for eight weeks significantly improved skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness, all with little to no side effects. (1)

Collagen can also help to reduce cellulite and stretch marks and after turning 30 last year…this was music to my ears!

I’ve personally seen a huge improvement in my gut and digestive health since incorporating collagen regularly. It works to heal and seal the gut, by soothing the gut lining most likely damaged from the average person’s high consumption of sugar and processed foods, a stressful lifestyle and at least just one round of antibiotic use (only to name a few). 

Collagen is overall very healing for anyone who may have digestive issues, leaky gut or a weak immune system- since 60-80% of our immune system lives in our gut. Leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions of our GI tract become “leaky” and toxins pass through coming in contact with our bloodstream and immune system. 

This is how food intolerances and sensitives occur by the way.

Since stress, sugar, processed foods and allergenic foods like gluten can all cause leaky gut, it’s in most people’s best interest to incorporate collagen-rich foods to combat that effect. 

My favorite sources of collagen-rich foods:

Collagen Hydrolysate

Also known as collagen peptides or collagen protein, this is odorless and flavorless and extremely versatile. It’s a powder that quite resembles protein powder and dissolves into both hot and cold liquid.

Like many of the foods I talk about, quality is very important. You ideally want your collagen protein to come from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals. There’s the fantastic saying, “you are what you eat, ate.” Just like it’s important to buy wild meat vs. conventional, the same applies here. 

My two favorite companies that source high-quality collagen are “Great Lakes” and “Vital Proteins”.

How can you incorporate collagen hydrolysate?

I do so daily with adding 1 scoop or serving size into my tea. If you drink coffee this is also a perfect place to get in your collagen. Not only are you adding major nutrition, but collagen is a good source of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which can slow down the caffeine absorption and can give your body more consistent energy throughout the day.

Also, protein tells your brain “I’m full” by pleasing our satiety hormone, leptin. If you are someone who does not eat breakfast and is making the transition to doing so, this is a great way to make your coffee or tea more nutrient dense while you’re working on your new healthy habit (because I do recommend eating breakfast!)

I also put a scoop or serving size into my smoothie or smoothie bowls and anytime I am making a veggie soup I’m sure to add collagen for protein and added nutrition.

Collagen is also perfect in my protein bowl cake or really anytime you are baking.

Bone Broth

I LOVE bone broth.

Not only is it a great source of collagen, bone broth also provide calcium, magnesium phosphorus and other trace minerals.

Bone broth is a traditional and healing food, where water, spices and high quality pasture-raised or grass-fed beef or chicken bones are slow cooked for at least 24hrs so that all the nutrition are leached from those nutritious bones. What amounts is a delicious collagen-rich broth great for sipping or cooking. 

Bone broth is also rich in gelatin, which is similar to collagen but actually “gels” making it even a notch more therapeutic than collagen and truly soothes the digestive tract and promotes healthy joints, bones, hair, skin and nails. Yes, you can even make healthy jello from grass-fed gelatin using this version! Here’s my favorite recipe!

Check out this recipe to make your own broth or look for the brand “Bonefide Provisions” at Whole Foods or which I also love. 

Bone Broth Protein

All of the healing and therapeutic goodness of bone broth in a delicious protein powder. Remember, collagen is both tasteless and odorless so it does not taste like bones or bone broth.

Most protein powders are made of soy, whey or have tons of added sugars and synthetic ingredients, but this one clean, jam-packed with nutrition and tastes great. I add this to my smoothies or protein bowl cake and it comes in a variety of delicious flavors. My favorite is the chocolate!

Collagen Protein Bars

Finally a bar I LOVE that’s good for you, high in protein and low in carbs or sugar (only 3 grams!!)…PLUS all the health benefits of collagen. Bars low in sugar won’t spike your blood sugar and help you to maintain booming energy and strong brain power all day. I particularly love the dark chocolate almond flavor of these guys. Give them a go and be sure to keep one in your pocket, purse or desk for anytime you need a high protein and healthy fat snack! Check the bars out here. 

As you can see, collagen and collagen-rich foods are the ultimate superfood. There are so many variations and ways to include collagen as much as you can! Tell me, how do you incorporate collagen!?