Recipes To Restore Your Lost Collagen

If you love skincare, you must have heard of collagen. Beauty aisles are flooded with creams and treatments that promise to boost collagen production, but what is collagen? Dr. Joshua Zeicher, a board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital's department of dermatology, told TODAY, "Collagen is the main molecule in the skin that provides structure and support. Think of it like the frame of your mattress." He added there is a decline in the production of collagen after the age of 30, which can lead to "fine lines and wrinkles, crepey appearance and prominent pores," so now we know that collagen helps maintain younger-looking skin. Adding topical collagen in skincare "plumps, hydrates, and conditions the skin, though they definitely don't increase our collagen levels," said facialist and aesthetician Melanie Grant to Byrdie

We know collagen helps keep skin healthy, but according to Healthline, collagen is also found in "connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones, and cartilage" and helps in the proper functioning of our cells. Though our body produces less collagen as we age, lifestyle habits like smoking, excessive drinking, and overexposure to the sun can lead to accelerated collagen loss. Loss of collagen can lead to weaker bones and overall aging of the skin. While topical collagen treatments can help the skin, we have to provide collagen for the body from collagen-rich foods or supplements and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Here is how we can add more collagen to our diet.

The best source for collagen

According to WebMD, collagen is a protein vital for the proper functioning of our connective tissues, and it is the connective tissues that "give your body shape." Collagen keeps our skin firm, which is why our skin tends to sag as we age, per Byrdie. Instead of collagen creams, board-certified dermatologist Marie Hayag recommends adding retinol or peptides to skincare to boost collagen production and sunscreen to "prevent your collagen from breaking down" more. The best source for collagen is animal products like skin, joints, and ligaments, per Healthline.

If you eat an adequate amount of protein like poultry, beans, and fish, you should be good. Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen also. However, if that's not your thing, there are other delicious ways to add collagen supplements into your everyday diet.

Cup of coffee

Many people like to start their day with a cup of coffee for a little boost of energy, and the aroma can be quite intoxicating. How about adding a little collagen powder to your coffee? According to Healthline, you can add collagen protein to your hot coffee because it is not hot enough for the collagen protein to start breaking down. You can get your AM boost along with the benefits of skin-loving collagen. You could also apply the same principle if you are a tea drinker. 

For fans of cold brew or iced coffee, Livestrong says it's the healthiest addition you can make to your cold beverage. If you love the taste of coffee, they recommend choosing unflavored collagen, so it doesn't affect the taste. Also, make sure to only get fully hydrolyzed collagen because it mixes equally well with hot and cold drinks, plus our bodies absorb it much quicker. Not a caffeine fan? Well, there are other options.

Yummy morning smoothie

What could be a better start to a day than with a yummy smoothie loaded with fruit? It is also an excellent place to add your daily dose of collagen supplements. Mindbodygreen's sustainability and wellness editor Emma Loewe said, "It's a decadent, rich, and delicious way to start the day or enjoy a midday snack." Since starting this practice, Loewe added that her skin feels "more hydrated" and her hair is "shinier and more nourished" without changing her hair routine. Daily Burn agrees that a smoothie is a great drink to mix collagen powder with because it is tastier than drinking collagen with plain water. Their suggestion is a creamy chocolate avocado smoothie, which is super nutritious in its own way, plus you get the collagen benefits. Of course, you don't need to limit smoothies to just the morning.

Tasty smoothie bowl

If you want something as refreshing as a smoothie but more filling, a smoothie bowl should be your go-to, because you can add extra toppings, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. According to the Clean Program, eating a collagen smoothie bowl could give you glowing skin. They suggest loading up your smoothie bowl with antioxidant-rich blueberries, peaches, and healthy fats like avocado, chia seeds, and hemp seeds for omega-3 that help reduce bad cholesterol. Together, they are delicious and can give you the extra dose of collagen that is amazing for your skin and connective tissues.

Mindbodygreen recommends a great tropical smoothie bowl created by recipe developer Tyna Hoang filled with fresh fruits. Just mix in the collagen powder or sprinkle it on top. You can always substitute the fruit with others if you can't find the ones from the original recipe.

Baked bread and other goodies

If you want a little more sustenance than a smoothie or a smoothie bowl, you can add collagen powder to your baked goods like bread. Registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, R.D., founder of Once Upon a Pumpkin, recommends trying collagen powder banana bread because it is easy to make and super nutritious, per mindbodygreen. Michalyczrk said, "The recipe is gluten- and dairy-free, low in sugar, packed with healthy fat and fiber — and an added dose of amino acids and antioxidants thanks to the collagen." No need to say no to carbs just because of collagen. One thing you do need to pay attention to when baking with collagen powder is the temperature. According to Healthline, very high heat can destroy the nutrient properties of collagen, so you don't want to go too high. Nutritionist Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D., recommended baking max at 170 degrees Celsius or 338 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain collagen integrity and added, "you could always aim for no-bake recipes that require zero heat, per mindbodygreen. Perhaps consider adding a scoop of collagen powder to your next batch of no-bake cookies?

Best collagen peptide supplements

Now that you have delicious ideas for your collagen intake, you want to find the best quality collagen powder to get the most out of it. With so many brands in the market, the choice can be overwhelming, but here are some best-rated ones.

Eat This Not That recommends Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides because it is the favorite of dieticians Lainey Younkin and Danielle McAvoy. They love it because it mixes really well with coffee and is excellent for people watching their sugar intake as it is "low in sugar and free of artificial sweeteners." According to Vital Proteins, it also has hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. Jennifer Aniston is a fan. Verywell Health recommends Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Peptide Protein Powder because it has five kinds of collagen, vitamin C, and zero sugar or carbs, so it is great for people on a keto or low-carb diet. For an affordable pick, Healthline is a fan of Youtheory Collagen with Vitamin C if you want to see whether or not you like it before investing. One of the reviewers said, "You'll also see big improvements in your skin's appearance and possibly get fuller, thicker hair." So, if you are curious, this is a great bargain for you.