Aging is a natural process of life, but that doesn’t mean we need to look our age! The secret to aging gracefully may come down to what we put in our body, rather than what we put on our body.
As we age, our skin begins to lose its firmness, fine lines and wrinkles become more prominent, and our lustrous skin that signifies youth slowly starts to fade. So, what can we do to preserve our beauty and maintain our youthful skin? Boost our collagen levels!
Considered the fountain of youth, collagen is key when it comes to slowing down the aging process. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and building block of all connective tissue. This protein is what strengthens our bones, provides structure to most of our body, and is responsible for maintaining our skin's strength and elasticity.
Over time, our body naturally produces less collagen and with that comes signs of aging. To maintain our radiant, youthful skin and help slow down the aging process, we want to preserve our collagen levels. Increased collagen production may help slow down the aging of skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and helping provide skin with a firming, radiant look.
Consuming foods that contain nutrients needed to stimulate collagen production can naturally help increase collagen levels in the body
Vitamin C, Zinc, Copper, Silicon, and Amino acids lysine and proline are all necessary nutrients involved in collagen synthesis
Vitamin C is vital in the production of collagen. Without Vitamin C, the body can’t form collagen, making this antioxidant an essential cofactor in collagen synthesis. Research shows the presence of Vitamin C directly triggers DNA to regulate and maintain the intercellular amount of collagen, therefore having a direct effect on anti-aging. Additionally, Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties fight free radicals and aid in the skin’s regeneration process, helping repair damaged cells and rejuvenate the skin. It’s recommended you consume 75-90 mg of Vitamin C per day.
Vitamin C-rich foods: Citrus, strawberries, kale, bell peppers, papaya, tomatoes, parsley, broccoli, brussels sprouts
Zinc, a cofactor in the production of collagen, plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. This mineral is essential to cell repair and helps protect collagen in the body from damage. Zinc deficiency can reduce the amount of collagen produced, therefore getting adequate amounts is important! It is recommended men consume 11 milligrams of zinc daily and women 8 milligrams.
Zinc-rich foods: cacao, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sesame seeds, spinach, almonds, cashews, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, oats
Copper, an essential mineral in collagen production, is required for the formation of red blood cells, bone, and connective tissue. Copper activates lysyl oxidase,an enzyme required for collagen maturation, which helps to form the fibers that support your tissues. While copper is only needed in small amounts, it is an essential mineral and therefore cannot be made in the body, it must be obtained through your diet! It is recommended to consume about 900 micrograms of copper daily.
Copper-rich foods: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, spirulina, shiitake mushrooms, swiss chard, kale, spinach, cocoa
Silicon is a mineral necessary for bone strength, helping to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. This mineral aids in collagen production, contributing to the structural integrity and elasticity of the skin. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, low levels of silicon are associated with reduced growth of bone and connective tissue and may be associated with signs of premature skin aging. It was also noted that consuming adequate amounts of silica in the form of supplementation resulted in increased bone volume and density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, proving silicon to be extremely beneficial for optimal bone and tissue health. For stronger bones, dietary intakes of 40 mg is recommended.
Silicon-rich foods: cherries, oranges, apples, beets, eggplant, figs, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cucumber, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, whole grains such as oats, barley, and rice
Lysine, glycine and proline are the three amino acids necessary for collagen production. While all three amino acids are vital in the process, each amino acid has individual benefits. Proline is necessary for skin health and wound healing, glycine promotes restful sleep, balanced blood sugar and aids tendon repair, while lysine is necessary for the synthesis of connective tissues and promotes bone growth.
Glycine and Proline are non-essential amino acids and can be made in the body, but Lysine, an essential amino acid, must be consumed through food. In order to be absorbed, lysine needs adequate amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, glutamic acid and iron. The recommended daily intake of lysine is 30mg per kg of body weight.
Lysine-rich plant-based foods:tofu, beans, green peas, cooked spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, quinoa, squash and pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, hemp seeds, oats, avocados, mangoes, and legumes.
Proline-rich foods: cabbage, yogurt, asparagus, bamboo shoots, seaweed, mushrooms, sunflower seeds
Glycine-rich foods:seaweed, carob seeds, watercress, asparagus, cabbage, tofu, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, pear, apple, banana, carrots whole grains, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, and legumes.