We all want healthy, vibrant, glowing skin.
People spend hundreds of dollars in an effort to keep their skin youthful and wrinkle-free. Do anti-aging creams work?  Maybe. Is botox the answer? I’m not sure. Are there some affordable lifestyle changes you can make that could work even better than these things? ABSOLUTELY!
TURNS OUT YOU DO HAVE SOME CONTROL OVER HOW YOU AGE!
We’re talking about COLLAGEN, my friend.
But first, let’s quickly dive into WHY skin ages in the first place. People spend a lot of time on skin care without really knowing HOW skin works and what keeps it looking smooth and wrinkle-free in the first place!
What’s REALLY going on?
Although skin has many layers, it can generally be divided into three main parts:
- The outer part (epidermis) contains skin cells, pigment, and proteins.
- The middle part (dermis) contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles and oil glands. The dermis provides nutrients to the epidermis.
- The inner layer under the dermis (the subcutaneous layer) contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels, and fat. 
Each layer also contains connective tissue with collagen fibers to give support and elastin fibers to provide flexibility and strength.
Skin changes are related to environmental factors, genetic makeup, nutrition, and other factors, like sun exposure.
With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged. 
The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases. The remaining melanocytes increase in size. Aging skin looks thinner, paler and becomes clearer (translucent). 
Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity. This is known as elastosis. It is more noticeable in sun-exposed areas (solar elastosis). 
Elastosis produces the leathery, weather-beaten appearance common to farmers, sailors and others who spend a large amount of time outdoors. (If you’ve seen the movie, There’s Something About Mary, you know what I’m talking about here… Magda is a perfect example of too much sun!) 
As you age, you are at increased risk for skin injury. Your skin is thinner, more fragile and you lose the protective fat layer. You also may be less able to sense touch, pressure, vibration, heat and cold. 
Aging skin repairs itself more slowly than younger skin. Wound healing may be up to 4 times slower. This contributes to pressure ulcers and infections. Diabetes, blood vessel changes, lowered immunity and other factors also affect healing. 
You might be thinking, ‘That’s a lot of physiological lingo… so tell me again what is collagen and why does it matter?’
Collagen is a protein produced by our cells that helps to “hold” the skin together as well as make it firm and flexible.
It is one of the most abundant proteins in your body!
There are 25 different kinds of collagen all around your body including your tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscles and skin. 12 of these different kinds make up your skin! 
When we are young, our skin regenerates constantly, keeping our skin youthful and “plump.”
As we age, collagen can be broken down more easily due to sun damage, stress or other factors resulting in wrinkles and sagging. 
My point is this: There are a lot of natural, non-invasive ways to preserve your collagen and keep your skin looking youthful…
And I want to show you HOW to do just that using REAL food… 23 foods to be exact!
Really, it’s all about lifestyle changes. Adding better foods to your diet. Protecting yourself from the sun. Staying hydrated and really paying attention to what you put into your body. After all, what you EAT is what your body has to BUILD new cells and new skin with! Feed it crap and, well, eventually it’s going to show!
On the other hand… fill your body with nutrient-rich, whole, natural and vibrant foods, and your body is going to reflect that! I’ve seen people walking around in their 70’s who could pass for 40 or even younger! Your actual age doesn’t have to determine as much as we give it credit for…
What Food Helps With Collagen Production?
The following foods contain the essential amino acid, threonine that is extremely important for collagen production.
Essential amino acids are the ones that are NOT produced naturally by the body and must be obtained through diet. Amino acids are building blocks for protein (remember, collagen is a protein!).
#1 Grass Fed Beef and Chicken
Have you ever noticed that your pee smells after you eat asparagus?
The effect of asparagus on urine odor has been observed for centuries. French novelist Marcel Proust famously wrote in 1913 that asparagus “transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume.”
And one British men’s club is said to have put up a sign reading, “During the asparagus season, members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hat stand.”
Depending on which study you read, between 22% and 50% of the population report having pungent pee after eating asparagus.
But that doesn’t mean only some people’s bodies generate that smell.
Researchers believe that, during digestion, the vegetable’s sulfurous amino acids break down into smelly chemical components in all people. And because those components are “volatile,” meaning airborne, the odor wafts upward as the urine leaves the body and can be detected as soon as 15 minutes after you eat this spring delicacy.
But only about one-quarter of the population appears to have the special gene that allows them to smell those compounds. So the issue isn’t whether or not your pee is smelly; it’s whether you’re able to smell it. If you smell a funny fragrance in your urine after you eat asparagus, you’re not only normal, you have a good nose.
50% of the amino acids that make collagen are glycine, lysine and proline.
Nonessential amino acids (glycine, proline) ARE produced by the body but can also be eaten in food, like 
Next, let’s talk about ANTIOXIDANTS… a very important element to consider when thinking about your skin! 
Free radicals are damaged cells that steal electrons from other cells and leave them damaged as well. This causes a chain reaction in the body. This reaction is a natural one, I might add. Not all free radicals are bad. They actually provide some important services to the body like helping the heart beat faster in stressful situations.
However, if there are other factors causing these free radicals to lose control, they can be very dangerous and are at the center of disease.  Luckily the body also has ENZYMES, which are capable of neutralizing excess free radicals. 
These particular enzymes, also known as antioxidants, have extra electrons and can donate them to free radicals without becoming imbalanced themselves.
You can EAT foods full of antioxidants to give your body the boost it needs to protect against free radical damage!
Antioxidants specific to protecting skin cells can be found in the following:
#7 Green Tea
Next on the list of importance are phytoestrogens. These are plant compounds similar to hormones in people that can help replace the loss of estrogen, a hormone that decreases in production as we age that is vital in helping our skin make collagen.
To get some good phytoestrogens naturally (especially for those hitting the beloved 40’s), try adding more of these foods to your diet:
#12 Flax Seeds
We can’t write a post about collagen and skin health without mentioning the ever famous Vitamin C! This vitamin works with the amino acid, proline, to promote collagen production. 
In a study on Vitamin C, women over 40 who had the most vitamin C in their diet were less likely to develop wrinkles and sagging skin. 
Not only will vitamin C benefit your skin, but it has also been named one of the MOST important antioxidants for the human body! It helps to keep you from getting common illnesses like colds and the flu.
Get your daily dose of vitamin C by adding these to your diet:
#17 Red Peppers
We’ve talked about what I think are the most important things for good skin health and collagen. I am going to throw in three extras that don’t fit into the categories above but are MUST HAVES for everyone pursuing vibrant skin and vibrant health!
#21 Bone Broth
This is basically cooked collagen. Bone broth is incredibly healing and is loaded with minerals, collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which are all things we’ve talked about in this post.
Dr. Axe claims that these ingredients, which are released into the broth as bones are simmered, “have the power to transform your health.” And he’s not the only one making these claims, which I happen to agree with wholeheartedly. 
Studies have shown that drinking bone broth can help with overcoming colds and the flu, reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract (asthma), improve digestion, improve allergies and can make your skin look amazing.
Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology says that bone broth can make your skin stay supple and even decrease cellulite. I know some of you reading this are totally excited about this possible side-effect!
Click here for Dr. Mercola’s basic bone broth recipe.
Garlic also contains an antioxidant called allicin, which has been named one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. Allicin works hard fighting and neutralizing free radicals in the body, which can otherwise significantly damage the skin.
Consuming raw garlic regularly is said to be an excellent wrinkle-fighting strategy. 
Orange vegetables contain vitamin A, which has been shown to restore and regenerate damaged skin. Vitamin A is especially helpful for those who have damaged skin due to sun exposure. 
Carrots also have a good amount of vitamin C, which we already know helps promote collagen production and skin elasticity. 
That’s a TON of GOODNESS straight from Mother Earth herself, all to help us look and feel our best! How cool is that?!
The truth is, your health is in your hands, my friend.
A lot of people don’t take advantage of this simply because they don’t realize it! They put their health and well-being into the hands of doctors and physicians and forget that ultimately, the responsibility rests on their own shoulders. This is not to say doctors aren’t important – they absolutely are! But as patients, it’s important that we are ready and willing to take the reins of our own personal health and move forward with confidence and assurance!
I want you to know that your body’s INCREDIBLE. It is BUILT to last and live a long, healthy and vibrant life. You may not always look like you’re 22, but then again, you might!
Take advantage of all the amazing foods we have on the planet that give us the nutrients we need to thrive.
The answers aren’t made in laboratories – they are growing in your own garden!
ere’s to staying young from the inside out! And don’t forget to try my delicious juice recipe!
Collagen Boosting Juice Recipe
- Handful of Cabbage
- Handful of Spinach
- Handful of Kale
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Peeled Orange
- 1 Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons of Great Lakes Collagen
- Chop as necessary and feed into your juicer.
- Enjoy immediately.