skin-care

Natural Collagen Builders for Your Diet

Mary Mitchell

How About These Natural Collagen Builders for Your Diet?

Under the dermis, the outermost skin layer, the substructure contains a substance called collagen. It forms the basis for the connective tissue that gives your skin its form and elasticity. The collagen-strengthened substructure tends to be strongest when you're young. Past the age of 35, the body's ability to produce collagen slows down. With less collagen holding the connective tissue together, your skin thins, sags and wrinkles.

It isn't always just aging that causes collagen loss. Lifestyle choices can hasten the process, as well. Exposure to the sun, lack of exercise, tobacco use, and a bad diet can hurt collagen production. The modern diet is full of refined sugar, salt, processed carbohydrates and other ingredients that rob you of whatever collagen you already have, too.

While you certainly should make lifestyle changes that protect your body's ability to produce and maintain a healthy collagen level, these changes may not be enough. You need to be pro-active. These diet choices can both help stimulate collagen production and help protect what you already have.

Seafood

Skin cells have fatty outer cell walls. The healthier these cell walls are the stronger and more elastic the structure of your skin is. Omega-3 fatty acids, the nutrients found in fish like salmon and tuna, can be very good for your skin, then. They help maintain skin cell walls. If you don't like fish, you should at least try popping a fish oil capsule every day.

While you're looking at seafood, you should consider making oysters a regular part of your diet. They give you zinc -an important collagen ingredient.

Collagen-rich-food

Help yourself to every red and orange vegetable that you can find

Not only is sunscreen expensive, it can be hard to keep it topped up all the time. If you don't protect your skin from UV rays, though, you damage your collagen. The solution, then, is to get natural sun protection - in the form of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is found in every bright red vegetable - beets, tomatoes and chili peppers, among others.

Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are important for healthy collagen building, too. They are rich in vitamin A, a micronutrient that helps regenerate collagen.

These foods help you protect your skin's collagen from damaging free radicals

Spinach, kale and other dark green vegetables have plenty of vitamin C - an important contributor to the production of collagen. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that ensures that the free radicals in your system do not break down the collagen that you already have. Blackberries and raspberries are rich in the antioxidants that fight off free radicals for better collagen levels, too.

Including soy in your diet is an excellent idea for better skin, no matter what form the soy may take -steamed soy, soy milk or tofu. You'll get plenty of the natural antioxidant genistein in your system. Like the vitamins C and A, genistein helps kick start collagen production and also blocks the enzymes that try to break down existing collagen stores.

White tea has the ability to block enzyme activity that disrupts the body's ability to produce and maintain collagen levels, as well.

Oranges, grapefruit and lemon

The vitamin C in citrus fruits helps the body convert amino acids like proline and lysine into collagen. The antioxidant properties of these amino acids help sustain existing collagen and elastin, too.

You need eggs

You need citrus fruits to help convert amino acids to collagen. Where do those amino acids come from, though? You can help keep your body well-supplied by including eggs, peanuts and lean meats in your diet. These foods are rich in the amino acid lysine.

Garlic

Garlic has an offensive smell because it contains sulfur, the main culprit behind every kind of halitosis. The sulfur in garlic, though, is very important to collagen formation. It's an important ingredient. Garlic also contains the substances taurine and lipoic acid - both important ingredients in the rebuilding of damaged collagen fibers.