9 Easy Ways To Implement Collagen Into Your Diet
It goes without saying that we all yearn for the ultimate sun-kissed, luminous skin. With our skincare routines taking second place behind our hectic work schedules––and retinol, a collagen-inducing skincare ingredient, providing us with only so much––the extra oomph from supplements is an awaiting alternative.
Simple and easy to take, you’ll see more than just heightened skin texture, but an overall body boost with decreased joint pain prevented bone loss and improved muscle mass. Here, we're listing everything you need to know about collagen and the products to try.
What is it?
Collagen is responsible for 25% to 35% of all our body’s protein and is used as connective tissue in skin, muscles and ligaments. Though continuously produced, after the age of 25, we lose on average 1.5% of our collagen every year, resulting in the fibres diminishing and losing elasticity. Other extraneous factors such as vast exposure to UV light, high amounts of sugar and stress also contribute to the depletion in cells. This leaves us with reduced bone density, slower post-exercise recovery, and dull, wrinkled skin.
Collagen Peptides vs. Collagen Protein:
Collagen peptides are recognised as easily digestible and a highly bioactive form of collagen protein and collagen protein is seen as the body’s crucial platform, which represents 30% of the bodily proteins. Both are responsible for the elasticity, and regeneration of connective tissue.
What supplements to take:
There are three types of collagen calibers: Type I and III for strong hair, skin, nails and bones and type II is for joint and cartilage health.
Hydrolysed collagen (peptides) are the most common supplement to ingest, as it is easily absorbed. Coming in either a capsule or in powder form, a minimum serving of 2.5 grams a day is recommended to see gradual improvements in skin hydration and roughness. However, 5 grams per day improves bone density (alongside the intake of calcium and vitamin D) and consuming 15 grams of collagen per day improves muscle mass and body composition.
Another we tend to neglect is gelatin. It’s best to find powdered products, like unflavoured beef gelatin for maximum results, but using plain gelatin works too for a boost of protein content or to thicken sauces and soups. And, for those uninterested in animal products, vegan collagen is also on the market.
How much to consume:
Most commonly with powdered collagen, serving sizes (containing at least 20g of collagen) are usually explained on the packaging, with one to two scoops each day as the recommended dosage. Collagen pills or gummies may recommend one to two pieces daily.
How to add to your diet:
1/9 Drink bone broth
Bone broth can contain a variety of proteins such as fish, beef and chicken, with each type carrying an array of benefits. Fish bone broth has the most bioavailable form of collagen, beef broth targets the skin and gut and chicken is for joint health. It’s made from boiling hormone and chemical-free tendons and ligaments with filtered water, vegetables, fresh herbs and other seasonings. Taking up to 48 hours to make, it’s great on its own to sip away at or in recipes as stock.
2/9 In nut butters
May it be almond, cashew or hazelnut butter––this works with any nut butter as long as the consistency isn’t too clumpy and separated. Either mix in the recommended serving scoop with your butter in a separate bowl or lightly sprinkle the powdered collagen peptide on your desired meal.
3/9 Add it to your morning beverage
When adding collagen to beverages like coffee, unflavoured collagen peptides or marine collagen––which derives from scales of fresh, non-GMO, wild-caught whitefish––easily dissolves in hot or cold water. Another possibility is using a collagen creamer, which tea-drinkers can incorporate too. This tends to be low in sugar, containing 10g of collagen sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
As for other beverages like matcha, adding in an unflavoured collagen powder or matcha collagen whilst whisking the components together is best.
4/9 In oatmeal
Apart from combining collagen peptides into your ready-made oatmeal before embellishing it with toppings of your liking, gelatin works too. This advances the texture, creating more of a substantial base. A single packet of gelatin should suffice one serving of your morning oatmeal. Microwave your oats (about 1 minute) and then stir in the powdered, unflavoured gelatin.
Be sure to add the gelatin the morning of and eat it right away, as with it sitting in the fridge overnight, it may actually turn to jelly!
5/9 In your smoothie
For those constantly on the go, this is one of the simplest ways to integrate collagen, especially in the morning to kickstart the rest of your day. Adding in the suggested amount of collagen powder (preferably unflavoured) into your smoothie mixture is the known method––just as you would with protein powder smoothies.
That being said, this could act as a mere substitute due to its dual property of being able to regenerate skin cells but also ameliorate muscle mass.
6/9 In baked goods
Yet another effortless way to embed collagen into your diet. This goes to all with an insatiable sweet-tooth looking to mask away from the idea of collagen being in their food. Unflavoured collagen powder is commonly used here, as it tends to not take away any of the delectable flavouring provided by the sweets.
The directed amount of scoops can be added into either a brownie, cookie or cake mix while still wet and evenly stirred in. At times, bakers may find it easier to merge it into the frosting but whichever you choose to do––it’ll still be heavily blended in.
7/9 In pancakes or waffles
Eating foods rich in protein for breakfast increases the release of the satiety hormones, meaning this will keep you full and energized for the rest of your day. At most, collagen pancakes can consist of a total of 13g of protein, and are easily do-able by mixing in 1-2 scoops of collagen powder into the pancake/waffle mix before it’s cooked. The powder can barely be tasted, which makes this approach one of the most versatile.
8/9 As gummies
Mainly in the form of vitamins, this is your everyday reminder to consume your collagen. Most gummies are flavoured, mimicking the taste of candy. Depending on the brand of vitamins, most are catered towards improving hair, nail and skin health but also bone and joint strength.
9/9 As it is
The last solution is to drink a glass of collagen in its natural form. Adding 1-2 scoops into a tall glass and pouring room temperature water halfway should create the perfect, smooth consistency to gulp up all the nutrients in one go. At best, purchasing a flavoured collagen powder to drink may be less daunting, especially when it holds a prominent berry flavour, delighting your taste buds.