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4 Health Benefits of Collagen & How to Add It To Your Diet

While your body naturally produces collagen, consider supplementing for an extra boost.

Health benefits of collagen
Headshot Crop By Cara O'Bleness May 23, 2022

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You may be familiar with collagen powder as a wellness elixir to stir into your morning smoothie bowl or cup of coffee, but perhaps you’re a bit fuzzy on what the health benefits of collagen actually are. While yes, you can consume collagen in the form of a supplement, your body naturally produces collagen too. It’s the most abundant protein in the human body and is the main component of your body’s connective tissue, contributing to your bone, joint, and skin health. Collagen is essential to your overall wellness, because as strange as it sounds, it’s the glue that holds your body together.

Natural production of collagen typically decreases with age — your body’s natural production usually dips around your mid-twenties. Certain environmental factors — such as smoking, stress, not getting enough sleep, or too much sun exposure — can also cause a decrease, which is where supplementation comes into play.

4 Health Benefits of Collagen

As with any vitamin or supplement, always consult with your primary care doctor before adding something new to your routine. If you both decide a collagen supplement is right for you, here are a few major benefits you may reap:

1. Improves Your Skin

Collagen supplements have been proven to improve skin elasticity, hydration, and density. While many beauty products contain collagen that promise to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, it’s important to understand that creams only help improve the outer layer of your skin; supplements work from the inside out.

And remember, while collagen may improve the appearance of your skin and help reduce signs of aging, always wear SPF outdoors and stay hydrated to give your skin the TLC it needs to remain glowing.

2. Promotes Nail Health

If you struggle with dry or brittle nails, you may benefit from a collagen boost. Research shows that collagen peptides promote an increase in nail growth and a decrease in the frequency of broken or brittle nails. So, if you’re looking to show off a bright manicure poolside this summer, consider taking a daily collagen supplement.

3. Reduces Joint Pain

A recent study found that after taking a collagen supplement for 90 days, 78% of participants who began the study with joint issues reported less joint discomfort, while 60% said their joint flexibility and mobility improved while joint stiffness was reduced. So, if you suffer from joint pain, a collagen supplement may help ease your symptoms.

4. Boosts Bone Density

Bones are mostly made of collagen, and we tend to lose bone density and mass with age — this is particularly true for women after menopause. However, research shows that a collagen peptide supplement may help significantly increase bone mineral density in post-menopausal women.

How to Add Collagen To Your Diet

When adding collagen to your diet, experts suggest adults consume 2.5 to 15 grams of collagen daily. You can consume collagen through a powder — which you can easily blend into your morning coffee — or pill supplement. You can also keep the following collagen-rich foods stocked in your kitchen:

  • Chicken

  • Fish

  • Shellfish, like oysters

  • Red meat

  • Bone broth

Add the following foods to your grocery list as well — while they don’t contain collagen, they’re packed with nutrients that encourage natural collagen production in your body.

  • Eggs

  • Legumes

  • Berries

  • Leafy greens

  • Avocados

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About the author

Cara O'Bleness

Writer

Cara is a passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media. She loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. In her free time, Cara is an avid reader, enjoys meditating, and loves spending time with her husband and their chihuahua pug mix, Callie, streaming the latest horror flick or true crime documentary. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.

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