Collagen is a type of protein that is commonly found in mammals, particularly in the muscle tissue as well as the fibrous connective tissues of the body. The body hosts 29 types of collagen, which make up between 25 per cent and 35 per cent of the entire body's protein content, according to Zdzislaw Sikorski, who edited "Chemical and Functional Properties of Food Proteins." While the body naturally produces collagen on its own, the amount of production tends to decrease with age. Supplementing the diet with specific types of protein and fruits may help to offset the reduction in collagen production.
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Collagen is responsible for the overall health of an individual's body. It helps to provide the tendons, bones and connective tissues with structural integrity while also maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. Without proper collagen production, ageing skin becomes more apparent and joints may lack flexibility. According to Robert F. Diegelmann, Ph.D., 90 per cent of the body's collagen belongs to type I, which is responsible for skin, tendons, ligature, organs and bones.
Fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C help with the production of collagen, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. As a general rule of thumb, fruits and vegetables that are red, purple or blue in colour have a tendency to be higher in vitamin C. These include fruits such as blueberries, pink grapefruit, tomatoes and strawberries. Oranges, while not red, purple or blue, also contain high amounts of vitamin C. Vegetables high in vitamin C include sweet potatoes and bell peppers. In addition to collagen production, vitamin C also aids in healing wounds and maintaining bone density.
Avocado oil, which is derived from the avocado fruit, is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium, beta-carotene, omega-3 and vitamin E. All work together to enhance skin collagen and to prevent skin oxidation and decelerate signs of ageing. While eating the fruit itself is beneficial, avocado oil present in various beauty or skin care products make an effective substitution.
Additional Sources of Collagen
While fruits and vegetables may stimulate the production of collagen in the body, proteins high in minerals such as copper or niacin work just as well. Copper may be found in various seafood items such as crabs, oysters and lobsters as well as in chocolate and nuts. Copper serves as an antioxident and helps to relieve the body of free radicals, reversing the negative side effects of ageing. Niacin content is high in seafood items such as tuna and swordfish as well as in red meats. Niacin, a member of the Vitamin B family, promotes healthy blood circulation and decreases skin hyperpigmentation. Fruits that contain traces of niacin include peaches, apricots, bananas and prunes.
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- "Chemical and Functional Properties of Food Proteins"; Zdzislaw Sikorski; 2001
- "MedScape"; Collagen Metabolism; Robert F. Diegelmann Ph.D.; February 2002
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Copper
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3
- Diet and Fitness Today: Fruits High in Niacin