Collagen is essential for young-looking skin because it gives structure to our skin cells. But as we age, the body produces less of it, since naturally occurring enzymes break collagen down, in turn, causing the skin to thin, lose fullness and form wrinkles. Here are 8 foods that boost collagen.
WATER-RICH VEGETABLES: Veggies like cucumber and celery have a high sulfur content and collagen can’t be produced if sulfur isn’t present.
FISH: Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty membrane that protects them. When the cells are healthy, they are able to support the structure of the skin.
SOY: Whether sourced from soy milk, cheese or tofu, soy contains genistein (plant hormones that serve as antioxidants), which prompts collagen production and helps to block enzymes, like MMPs, that can age the skin.
RED VEGETABLES: Tomatoes, peppers and beets conain the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene also acts as a natural sun block, protecting the skin from damage while increasing collagen levels.
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES: Rich in vitamin C, dark green vegetables like spinach and kale can rev up collagen production. In topical products, vitamin C has antioxidizing properties that stabilize the messenger enzymes that break collagen down. It also protects against free radicals to prevent weak collagen.
BERRIES: Blackberries and raspberries scavenge free radicals while simultaneously increasing collagen levels.
WHITE TEA: White tea may protect the structural proteins of the skin, specifically collagen. It’s believed to prevent enzyme activity that breaks down collagen, contributing to lines and wrinkles.
ORANGE VEGETABLES: Vegetables that are orange in color, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in vitamin A, whic restores and regenerates damaged collagen.