What is collagen?

Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. It’s present in tendons, fat, and ligaments, among other places. It helps the pieces of our bodies to fit together, and is crucial to the strength of our bone structure. When collagen levels are healthy, cells that contain collagen take on a strong and youthful appearance.

Elastin is another kind of protein in the body. Elastin is found in places in the body that contract, such as arteries and lungs. This is because of elastin’s outstanding characteristic: the ability to snap back into place and maintain its original shape. Elastin and collagen are both proteins found in skin. They work together to give skin its texture and shape. Skin with healthy levels of both collagen and elastin isn’t just more youthful; it’s stronger.

The interesting thing about collagen is that stimulating its growth causes a domino effect. The more collagen you have, the more your body is able to produce and maintain. Read on to find out ways that you can naturally support your body’s collagen production.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel has long been used for healing and soothing wounds. The reason it works to treat cuts and burns is because the aloe vera plant increases collagen production when applied topically or even taken orally. This cell-growth stimulating property can help boost collagen production in your skin. Aloe can be applied directly to the skin in pure form, or in the form of the many products on the market that contain it. At least one study suggests that taking an aloe vera oral supplement will improve skin quality.

Foods rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is critical for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has been touted for speeding up recovery time and relieving painful joints. Without adequate levels of vitamin C, your body will not gain the full benefit of foods containing hyaluronic acid. One study suggests that hyaluronic acid can help boost collagen production in the human body. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, but it decreases as we age. Eating foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids can increase the levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen in the body as both are important for skin. Foods such as oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C. Concentrated hyaluronic acid can be purchased at the drugstore.

Ginseng

The anti-aging effects of the Panax ginseng plant are well-documented. Ginseng is absorbed into the skin without causing the adverse reactions that many chemical pharmaceuticals cause, and helps skin keep its original shape. It has also been found to promote the growth of collagen. Studies have shown ginseng’s ability to preserve skin against UVB ray damage from the sun. The antioxidants that are released into your bloodstream when you take a ginseng supplement or drink tea that contains ginseng can protect healthy cells and contribute to glowing skin.

Cilantro

Cilantro, also known as coriander leaf, is an herb commonly called for in recipes. It contains vitamin C, which has been linked to boosts in collagen production. Cilantro contains linolenic acid, which has been studied as a powerful anti-aging factor for your skin. Linolenic acid contains antioxidants that fight the free radicals in your bloodstream, which break down healthy skin cells. Cilantro extract can be purchased and taken orally as a detoxifying agent.

Algae

Marine plant ingredients are becoming more and more popular as part of beauty routines. This is because most skin damage is caused by “oxidation” — the exposure of your skin to elements like pollution, which can damage cell growth. Algae is able to prevent oxidation from zapping your skin of its elasticity and collagen. Algae is available in most health food stores in the form of oral supplements.

What not to do

If you’re trying to help your skin look younger and healthier, make sure you’re not burning your skin in the sun or in a tanning bed. Smoking can also age your skin prematurely. Getting time outside with the protection of sunscreen is one way to maintain a healthy glow.

Some collagen supplements do have side effects. The most common ones are calcium overproduction, allergic reactions, and joint pain. If you have allergic reactions to seafood or meat products, be very careful when taking any kind of collagen supplement.

Conclusion

Although a youthful appearance is highly valued, beauty isn’t just skin deep. Healthy skin is a good indicator of how the rest of your body is feeling. There’s no way to completely reverse the signs of aging. It’s much easier to protect your skin while it’s healthy than to attempt to repair it later in life. Boosting collagen naturally improves not only our appearance, but the rest of our health.