Collagen is a type of protein, and works with keratin to provide the skin with strength, smoothness, elasticity and resilience. It is produced by the skin and other parts of the body. When you are young, you have an abundance of collagen in your body, which is why young children have such lovely shiny hair and smooth skin. It is referred to, as the cement which holds everything together. As you age collagen production declines and weakening of the skin occurs, this is when skin wrinkles, and becomes saggy.
The skin is made up of three layers, epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The second layer of the skin (dermis) is where the protein collagen is found. Collagen molecules are bundled together throughout the dermis.
There are ways to help you increase the collagen in your skin, so you have to know what nutrients your body really needs to do this.
Soy products such as soymik and cheese contain an element known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin. Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products. I personally cannot eat edamame or any soy product unless it is fermented, like Miso. Two, week-long periods were an issue, after eating tofu every day for two weeks. Other plant foods that have been shown to contain genistein include alfalfa and clover sprouts, barley meal, broccoli, cauliflower, and sunflower, caraway, and clover seeds. Barley, and cauliflower and sunflower are all blood type specific for Blood Type A.
Dark green vegetables are also excellent examples of food containing collagen producing agents. Add dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, and kale. Cabbage (which is great for Blood Type B) and mustard greens and turnip greens are all blood type specific, try to put some in your diet every day. They are packed with an antioxidant called, lutein. You need 10 mg to get results – which equates to about 4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale. Recent French research suggests this will boost skin hydration and elasticity, fighting wrinkles. Rich in Vitamin C, regular consumption of kale, spinach,collards, and asparagus help to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.
Beans help your body produce a vital anti-ageing substance called, hyaluronic acid. Aim for at least two tablespoons of beans each day. Find your best beans on the Holiday Healthy Bean Delights for each of the different blood type recipe drop downs.
Red fruits and vegetables also are excellent sources to up the collagen content of foods in the diet. The presence of lycopene in these types of foods helps to act as antioxidants, which in turn increases collagen production. Try adding red peppers,and beets- great for Blood Type B, and fresh or stewed tomatoes- great for Blood Type O,. For others, watermelon is a great source of lycopene. Also include sweet potatoes, (good for everyone except Blood Type A) carrots and more. Research from Dr. Ronald Watson at the University of Arizona has found that the antioxidants in red, yellow and orange foods build up under the skin creating extra UV protection. “The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen”.
Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables are natural sources of collagen production. You should try to include citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemons, pineapple and strawberries into your daily diet.
One of the biggest causes of skin ageing is attack by substances called free radicals, that break down healthy skin tissues. Antioxidants helps neutralize these free radicals before they can do any damage.Prunes are the fruit containing the absolute highest level of antioxidants. Blueberries are a close second. Eat five to six prunes, or a small basket of blueberries, daily to get a great health boost. Prunes also help if you have osteopenia, for preventing long bone fracture.
Omega Acids also help to create an ideal environment for collagen production. Fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega fatty acids. Nuts such as, pecans, almonds for every body and Brazil nuts for Blood Type B and AB contain healthy amounts as well.
Flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts (plus cold water fish) are a major sources of the healthy fat omega-3. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty layer made from this and other fats so, the higher your omega-3 intake the stronger that layer is, and the plumper your skin cells are – which helps disguise lines and wrinkles. Mix it into smoothies or add it to balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, but try to have a tablespoon each day. On Facebook posts, one guy says flaxseeds are estrogenic. If you are concerned about breast and uterine cancers, staying away from estrogenic compounds is a good idea. Chia seeds are great.
Foods that are rich in sulphur content are also important to collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, (limit or avoid these) fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery. Working in conjunction with the sulphur, vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A, also aid in keeping collagen levels high. Try adding raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe and baked sweet potatoes (for all except Blood Type A) to the diet for an extra boost.
Turkey contains a vital skin-friendly protein called carnosine that slows down a process in the skin called cross-linking. When this happens, fibers grow into the collagen of the skin making it stiff and inelastic. Inelasticity stops skin from snapping back when you do things like smile, laugh or frown – and this is what causes smile lines or crows feet. Eat turkey two to three times a week.
Chocolate is really is good for your skin. In studies in Germany, it was found that after drinking a cocoa-packed drink, blood flow to the skin was boosted (meaning it gets higher levels of nutrients and moisture). It also seemed to be more protected against UV damage. Only dark chocolate contains enough antioxidants to have effects, though. The Healthy Holiday Bean Delights have dark chocolate cocoa in them.
Manuka Honey is a special honey from New Zealand with unique healing properties. It has been used in skin care for centuries by the Maori people of New Zealand and it’s easy to understand why. When used topically, Active Manuka Honey can restore and rejuvenate your skin. It supports the skin cell renewal process and assists in the formation of stronger collagen protein. As an added benefit, active manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce blemishes.
Rose hips are one of the plants extract that can present a rich source of collagen. They contain a high level of vitamin C, which is good for the production of collagen.
Avocado Oil If you want to know how to naturally produce collagen, you need to use face masks or creams that contain avocado oil. Avocado oil is deeply hydrating and highly compatible with the natural oils in your skin. Avocado oil is high in plant steroids, which help to reduce blemishes and age spots. It also helps to regenerate and rejuvenate skin damaged by free radicals. Avocado oil is important because it is scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and it increases the proportion of soluble collagen in the dermis of your skin. And don’t forget to include fresh avocados in your favorite salad and soup recipes. I added a great guacamole recipe.
One of the key points to keep in mind is that it is possible to provide everything your body needs to produce collagen by eating a balanced diet. By including some of the foods mentioned here, you will soon begin to see a difference in the quality of your skin tone.