Collagen is a protein produced by the skin or other body parts that provides the elasticity and smoothness of the skin, contributing to keeping your skin toned and preventing sagging. With age, the natural production of collagen begins to slow which results in the wrinkles and lines forming around mouth and eyes as well as on the face and neck. Although this is a natural part of the aging process, there are several ways you can try to slow this process and keep your skin healthy.
8 Ways to Produce Collagen Naturally
Many commercially available products promise the magic to reduce wrinkles and prevent sagging. Be aware that these products usually do not deliver on these promises. Instead, you should know about those foods that you can add to your diet to produce collagen naturally and slow the aging process of the skin.
Increase your intake of Vitamin C, which is the key in the production of collagen. Guavas, oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and cabbage are all great sources of vitamin C. Try to eat these foods raw since heat tends to destroy Vitamin C. Two other vitamins that are critical to collagen production are vitamins B and E. To get your daily requirements of these vitamins, eat plenty of the green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, bean, wheat germ, seeds and nuts. Try fortified breads and cereals to get enough Vitamin B complex and vitamin E.
As women age, the natural production of estrogen decreases. Estrogen is critical for maintenance of healthy collagen. Many plant foods contain phytoestrogens that replace the effects of the lost estrogen. By replacing the natural estrogen with these phytoestrogens, the natural loss of collagen may be slowed. Foods high in phytoestrogen are soy beans and products made from them, bran, peas, pinto beans, flaxseeds, alfalfa and sprouts.
Gelatin is a protein-based product that is the component in jello and jellies that makes them gel. Gelatin is also the substance that forms on the top of cooked meat after it is cooled. It is simply the broken down collagen in the gristle of the meat. Adding gelatin to your diet will help your body rebuild and restore the collagen in your body.
Green tea and white tea are always recommended as anti-aging drinks because of the compounds found in them. White tea is great for preventing breakdown of collagen by enzymes and rich in phenolic acid which is known for protecting the tissue. Green tea, of course, has a large amount of catechin, which are antioxidants that work to neutralize the free radicals that can damage and age your skin.
Lutein is another powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals that tend to lead to decreased collagen. Taking the recommended daily intake of this antioxidant (about 10 milligrams) will help increase the elasticity of your skin by increasing collagen production. Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are particularly high in lutein.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their ability to keep your skin soft and elastic. The best sources of these fatty acids are in fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, cod) and flax seed oil. The fish should be eaten 2-3 times each week; if you decide to use flax seed oil, take 1 tablespoon of the oil twice each day.
7. Organic Grass-Fed Whey
Whey is a protein based product that has been shown to be very effective in increasing production of collagen in your body. Be sure to use the organic whey since these products do not contain the fillers or other chemicals that may be present in some commercially available whey products.
L-Arginine is an amino acid that is important in the formation of proteins and works to produce collagen in the skin. More surprisingly, this amino acid has the magic to help repair wounds and other skin damage. Having a considered amount of foods high in L-Arginine will definitely helpful. According to researches, sesame, seeds, lentils, whole grains, seafood, spinach and spirulina are all ideal sources of L-Arginine.
4 Tips to Prevent Collagen Loss
There are several lifestyle changes that you should consider to help slow down the loss of collagen. Using some of these tips can help maintain your skin elasticity as you age.
1. Quit Smoking
If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, stop now! Smoking is a lifestyle choice that will affect your skin as much or more than any other choice. If you have tried to stop smoking and just cannot do it, speak to your healthcare provider to get one of the aids that will help you stop.
2. Drink Less
If you drink alcohol, be sure to do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption has similar effects on your collagen production as smoking. In addition, alcohol can have negative effects on many other body systems.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise! Moderate exercise several times a week will help collagen production, will keep you from gaining too much weight, and will make you feel better. If you have health problems or if exercise is new to you, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
4. Put on Sunscreen
Sunlight is critical to your body’s production and utilization of vitamin D; however, prolonged exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays will destroy the collagen in your skin and can lead to skin cancer. Be sure to use sunscreen every day and reapply it every few hours. If you have fair skin, you may need to use very high SPF value lotions, but even if you have dark skin, the sun can damage it.