As the name suggests, collagen rich foods are an excellent source of collagen — an incredibly important protein in the human body. It’s the primary building block of your connective tissue and plays many other roles, from supporting gut health to helping mobility as well as skin, hair and nail health. Collagen is, quite literally, the glue that holds our bodies together.
Why is it important to eat foods rich with collagen? Healthline points out that collagen found in food and supplements can do the following, among other benefits of collagen:
- Improve skin elasticity (the property that helps skin return to its normal shape after it’s stretched), appearance, and overall health
- Reduce joint pain by stimulating the human body to create collagen
- Support healthy nails and hair
- Play a positive role in heart and gut health
Finding dependable sources of collagen is important, whether in carefully crafted collagen supplements or naturally occurring in a variety of foods.
It’s important to note that collagen supplements may more effectively increase collagen production in the body. This is due to the hydrolysation process, which breaks down the collagen source and makes the resulting collagen peptides (amino acid bonds) easier to digest and absorb. This is also known as advanced bioavailability.
Nonetheless, collagen rich foods for skin, joints, heart health, and other benefits still play an important role. These foods can contain collagen itself or amino acids and other nutrients that stimulate or fuel collagen production. All of those nutrients are important for your body to effectively make collagen.
What foods contain collagen? Let’s look at some especially good sources.
Top Collagen Rich Foods
Animals have collagen in their bodies, just as humans do. And animal bones, hides or skins and connective tissue contain an especially large amount of collagen.
Bone broth is made by cooking down bones and skin as the broth simmers for 12-48 hours. The slow cooking refines that collagen into gelatin, which is easier to digest and provides essential amino acids.
Not only is bone broth flavourful, it also has numerous health and nutritional benefits. Bones contain vital vitamins and nutrients, ranging from magnesium to calcium. Bone marrow specifically contains valuable iron, vitamins A and K, zinc and manganese - when brewed, bone broth also contains trace amounts of these nutrients.
Bone broth is a great source of collagen needed to boost joint and cartilage health. A 2016 study found that Type II collagen sourced from connective tissue found in chickens helped improve mobility and osteoarthritis conditions. On top of this, bone broth is a simple, but effective way of getting anti-inflammatory amino acids into the body. This can help with conditions such as leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease.
Bone broth is intimately tied to the humble beginnings of Gelpro Australia, when one of our founders simmered bones and herbs for 12-plus hours each day. Try Gelpro’s unique Dehydrated Beef Bone Broth and Mushroom blend. A good source of folate, our bone broth uses only grass fed, organic beef bones with nothing but organic apple cider vinegar and Himalayan salt which help in extracting the minerals and goodness from the bones themselves. It also contains Vitamin D rich certified organic mushrooms which not only enhance the flavour of the broth, but also its nutritional profile.
Fish have bones and ligaments, just like land animals. That means they naturally produce collagen within their bodies. This makes marine-based collagen an effective substitute to mammal-based sources.
Fish collagen is classed as Type I collagen and has both health and beauty benefits. One study found that marine collagen could be absorbed 1.5 times more efficiently than other sources, such as bovine and porcine collagen. Due to their smaller particle size and molecular weight, collagen sourced from fish contributes to more rabid bloodstream circulation.
In most cases, marine collagen is sourced from freshwater fish species, with two common types being Pangasius and Tilapia. However, many marine collagen supplements are also derived from shark skin and cartilage. Collagen sourced from sharks is rich in Chondroitin Sulphate - and this is extremely effective in helping relieve joint inflammation.
When it comes to adding fish to your diet, it’s important to leave the skin on, as this is where the largest quantities of collagen are found. While there is some collagen in fish meat, consider eating fish that are appetising when cooked skin-on.
If you’re looking for food sources of collagen, egg whites are high up on the list of the best for one simple reason: both Type I and Type V Collagen exists in the membrane of egg shells.
Eggs actually contain two protein membranes, which protect against bacteria. In both the outer and inner layers, materials biologically similar to Type I and V collagens were discovered. Egg whites contain large volumes of the amino acids proline and lysine; proline and lysine are essential for collagen production. Additionally, humans can only get lysine from food sources, which makes eggs an excellent source of the collagen production agent.
Eggs also have been found to have key benefits for skin and beauty. A 2015 study found eggshell membranes were effective at treating wrinkles, loss of skin moisture and healing sun damage. In fact, many skin and beauty supplements use egg collagen.
Collagen is also found in the yolk of chicken eggs, however at inferior levels to egg whites. While eating the yolk won’t harm your body’s efforts to produce collagen, you’ll want to focus on the egg white if you’re looking for a collagen boost.
Gelpro’s Multi Collagen contains a unique formulation that includes Type V collagen, sourced from eggshell membrane. Along with Types I, II, III and X, this pure collagen blend helps provide the necessary diversified collagen sources needed to support our bodies holistically.
Collagen Boosting Foods
One additional way to support collagen production in your body is to include collagen-boosting foods into your diet. If you’re looking for collagen rich vegan foods, leafy greens are a good place to start.
While a key part of any healthy diet, leafy greens don’t contain collagen themselves. In fact, “naturally vegan collagen” does not exist. However, some vegan-friendly foods can stimulate collagen production in the body by providing important chemicals needed for that process to happen, even if the foods themselves are not collagen-rich.
Consuming leafy greens is one way in which those on a vegan diet can stimulate collagen production. The vast majority of collagen supplements are sourced using animal by-products, incompatible with veganism. And while researchers have discovered ways of genetically modifying bacteria and yeast into collagen, experts largely recommend prioritising nutrients found in food to boost collagen production. These nutrients include vitamin C, zinc and copper.
To help stimulate collagen production, considering adding these foods to your diet:
- Red and green capsicums
Gelpro’s Collagen + Australian Organic Greens combines Peptipro Collagen with a daily dose of greens. Using organically grown young greens leaves, this collagen combo is nutrient-dense, loaded with key vitamins and minerals such as as iron and biotin to support your wellness journey.
Simple, Effective, and Sustainable Collagen Supplements
While a collagen rich diet can transform your health we know that these superfoods are not always easily and conveniently accessible. This is why Gelpro has developed a range of sustainably and ethically sourced collagen and wholefood supplements that complement modern lifestyles and support your wellness journey, even when you're too busy to dedicate time to self-care.
Our best-selling Peptipro Collagen is Australia's first, and only collagen produced exclusively from Australian and New Zealand hides. This hydrolyzed collagen powder contains a unique profile of 18 different amino acids, including eight of the nine essential amino acids. Peptipro is completely flavourless, and dissolves seamlessly in liquids of any temperature. It's an incredible addition to your daily coffee, tea or smoothie. It's also a great substitute to whey protein powder as it's lactose-free & dairy free and 99% pure protein.Discover the benefits of our ancestrally inspired daily wellness essentials and shop our products at Gelpro Australia.