Collagen Boosting Nutrients That Aren’t Bone Broth
By now, we’ve all heard the buzz around bone broth – it has many health benefits, like delivering an array of essential minerals, but its most distinctive benefit is providing collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and its uses are many. As natural health expert, Dr. Axe explains in detail, collagen enhances health in numerous ways, from helping to heal leaky gut, to improving skin and nail health, to reducing joint pain.
While getting your collagen from bone broth may sound like a warm, soothing treat in the colder months, it’s not quite as appealing during the hot days of spring and summer. There are other key nutrients that can boost collagen production and we’ve detailed them below, and keep your eye out for a few recipes that showcase these collagen supporting powerhouses.
Vitamin C – vitamin C’s role in collagen production is essential. It is the main antioxidant vitamin involved in collagen production, and it facilitates the binding together of collagen fibers to form a strong matrix. Without it, collagen production is disrupted, resulting in a variety of issues throughout the body.
Foods sources: bell peppers, dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, citrus fruits. Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat and oxygen, so try to eat fresh and raw foods.
Iron – along with vitamin C, iron is needed during the synthesis of collagen. As proline and lysine (described below) are added to the growing protein chain, iron is required to facilitate their conversion to hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, respectively, the active forms of the amino acids that build strong collagen fibers.
Food sources: the best sources of iron are animal meats, but you can also obtain iron from legumes, dried fruits, eggs, parsley, and cumin. The absorption of plant sources of iron is enhanced by eating it with animal sources, so combine your meat and veggies!
Proline and lysine – these amino acids are required components of collagen production as they form the actual base of the protein matrix. Without these necessary building blocks, collagen production would not occur.
Food sources: proline is abundant in high-protein foods such as meat, cheese and wheat germ, and there is actually more proline in dairy protein than in meat. Lysine is high in foods such as wheat germ, cottage cheese, chicken, wild game, pork, eggs and fish.
Copper – the copper-dependent enzyme, lysyl oxidase, is required for the cross-linking of collagen, which is essential to form strong and flexible connective tissue.
Food sources: seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.