Taking too much sun, smoking or continuously exposing yourself to environmental pollution deteriorates your collagen.
Our body is home to a series of proteins, and one of the most common is collagen (35% of total). It is no coincidence: it turns out that an element absolutely essential for supporting skin and bones. This gives them resistance and at the same time flexibility; and the same goes for tendons, ligaments, cartilage and muscles.
But its function does not stop there: it is also a protein very present in blood vessels, intervertebral discs, cornea, scalp, teeth and gums. So it shouldn’t surprise us that as levels go down, it all gets worse. But the way you eat can do a lot to partially counter it.
How much collagen do we lose over the years?
Levels of this protein which acts as a natural glue between fibers are reduced 25 to 30 years old because the body manufactures less. The same goes for elastin or hyaluronic acid, other elements which, together with collagen, guarantee the elasticity of the skin (elastin) and the hydration of the skin and mucous membranes (hyaluronic acid).
Where is collagen found in the body and what is it used for?
There are 28 types of collagen different in our body. The most studied are:
- Type I collagen. It is by far the most abundant in the body (90%). It is one of the fabrics that must resist mechanical forces, such as skin, tendons, bones, intervertebral discs and cornea. This is the type of collagen (of animal origin) with which gelatin is made.
- Type II collagen. It is present mainly in cartilage, although it is also found in the intervertebral discs of our spine. Likewise, it abounds in the cartilaginous fluid found in our eyes (the vitreous humor). In addition to giving them resistance, it allows the tissues to perform intermittent pressures. In the medical field, it is used for the treatment of osteoarthritis and arthritis; and in the world of cosmetics to reduce cellulite, wrinkles…
- Type III, Type IV and Type V. The first “holds” the expanding organs of the body, therefore it is also present in muscles, veins, glands, skin… Type IV is concentrated in the lens of the eye (the lens) (and in small amounts in other areas), and type V is distributed throughout the body and gives elasticity to many structures.
What to do not to lose collagen?
Too much sun, smoking, or continual exposure to environmental pollution damages your collagen, but the following habits protect it:
- Sufficient and restful sleep. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power, which helps reduce the signs of aging. Also, sleeping at least 7 hours increases growth hormone. Good levels improve collagen synthesis.
- Moderate exercise and good nutrition. They form a perfect anti-aging tandem for both the skin and the bone and muscle system.
- A diet low in sugars and refined flours. The daily intake of a piece of pastry or industrial pastry, cookies, candy, soft drinks and certain packaged juices quickly raises blood sugar. This excess sugar binds to certain proteins (including elastin and collagen), and manages to make them rigid, harden, through a process called glycation.
What foods provide collagen?
Collagen is a complex molecule found only in foods of animal origin. However, all proteins (including vegetables) break down – once digested – and release all of their amino acids. Therefore, the body can obtain the nutrients needed for collagen formation from many foods. Here is the list of those that can do the most for your skin and bones:
- Lean meats and fish (especially blue ones). Since proteins are made up of amino acids and these are precisely the “building blocks” with which collagen is formed, consuming good meat and good fish benefits us.
- Drink bone broth. It may surprise you to know that it is one of the homemade preparations that gives us the most collagen. If it is made from bovine or poultry bones and cartilage – remember that chicken feet are particularly rich in collagen – it provides a large amount of bioavailable protein, i.e. it is easy to use. The condition is that the broth is prepared slowly. With it you also get chondroitin and glucosamine, very interesting compounds that are used in medicine to improve joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis.
- Eggs and dairy products. Consuming them is another way to keep our collagen in good condition, although in the case of dairy products it is better to choose them skimmed so as not to add excess fat to the diet. As far as the egg is concerned, it is important not to throw away this fine web that separates it (once hard) from its shell. Provides lots of collagen!
- Legumes, nuts and all grains and seeds. Although they are partially incomplete proteins (because they do not contain all the essential amino acids), they are also necessary for our organism to efficiently synthesize the collagen which serves as its “support”.
What foods help make collagen?
The following foods contain essential nutrients for the body’s production of collagen:
- citrus fruits and its vitamin C.
- the lawyer for its vitamin E.
- The carrot with its betacorene.
- Nutritious green leafy vegetables with its multitude of antioxidants.
- Pumpkin seeds and red fruits for zinc.
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