The Biggest Anti-Aging Secret: Collagen
- Written By:Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Collagen is the ‘glue’ that holds your body together—and right now, you’re losing it.
Are you serious about staying young? Then here’s a strategy that needs to be at the top of your anti-aging list: boosting your collagen.
If you aren’t familiar with collagen, you need to be. That’s because it’s the protein “glue” that holds your body together—and right now, you’re losing it.
In fact, if you’re over 20, you’re losing 1% of your body’s collagen every single year. As a result, your skin is starting to sag, your hair is losing its bounce and shine, your fingernails are dry and brittle, your joints are beginning to ache, and your gut may be sick and inflamed.
What’s the good news? You can boost your collagen in two ways, both of them simple.
Step 1: Add dietary collagen.
To offset the collagen you’re losing, you need to add collagen to your daily diet. There are two easy ways to do this: by using a collagen supplement, and by drinking bone broth (which is rich in the building blocks of collagen).
It’s a cinch to add a collagen supplement or bone broth to your diet. You can use collagen powder in shakes and smoothies, stir it into coffee or tea, or mix it into cold drinks. As for bone broth, you can drink it straight from the mug or add it to soups, stews, sauces, and even cocktails.
Step 2: Give your body the collagen-building tools it needs.
In addition to getting plenty of collagen in your diet, there are steps you can take to boost your body’s own collagen production and protect the collagen you already have. Here are some of the best ones:
Load up on foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for the synthesis of collagen. It’s a limiting factor, meaning that if you don’t have enough, the collagen production line shuts down. So eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, including tomatoes, citrus fruits, kiwis, papayas, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Eat lots of veggies. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale contain antioxidants that protect against the free radicals that break down collagen. Red veggies like beets (as well as fruits like tomatoes and red peppers) are full of lycopene, which boosts collagen and protects against sun damage. Orange veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which restores collagen that’s been damaged.
Get enough sulfur. Sulfur is one of the most important nutrients in your diet, and it plays a key role in collagen production. Foods rich in sulfur include eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, onions, shallots, and leeks.
Add a little copper to your diet. Copper activates an enzyme that plays a critical role in collagen production—and it’s also an antioxidant that helps protect your collagen once it forms. Foods high in copper include nuts, shellfish, and red meat.
- Drink white tea. Research shows that this tea helps to thwart the activities of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, another skin protein.
If you want to stay young—and seriously, who doesn’t?—then add all five of these collagen boosters to your diet, along with a daily dose of collagen powder or bone broth. You’ll love the results you get!
Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, a board-certified naturopathic physician and certified nutrition consultant, is a weight-loss and anti-aging expert. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet and the upcoming book The 10-Day Belly Slimdown. She also is the host of the PBS specials 21 Days to a Slimmer, Younger You and The 10-Day Belly Slimdown. In addition, she is a regular contributor on the Dr. Oz show.