Collagen, which gets its name from the Greek word kolla, is a form of protein that is important to body health. Collagen maintains strength and elasticity in muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, connective tissue and skin. As people age, collagen usually decreases in the body and causes wrinkles, which are visible in the skin. One way to increase collagen is through foods that aid in collagen production. While no foods actually contain collagen, many foods, including vegetables, help the body create collagen.
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According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, lysine helps the body form collagen. Foods rich in lysine, such as legumes, are a healthy way to boost collagen production and add fibre to a meal. Legumes are also high in protein. Some collagen-boosting legumes are alfalfa, peas, clover, lentils, red beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans and pinto beans. A daily diet including 1/4 to 1/2 cup of legumes will increase collagen production and result in visible skin benefits.
Dark-Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark-green leafy vegetables are another way to add collagen producing foods to your diet. High in vitamin C and lutein, a powerful antioxidant, dark-green vegetables help the body make collagen and use protein effectively, which can result in increased elasticity and moisture control for the skin and connective tissue. Examples of dark-green leafy vegetables helpful in aiding collagen production are spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens, chicory, mustard greens and Swiss chard. While not typically considered a dark-green leafy vegetable, asparagus is also helpful in building collagen. According to HealthCentral.com, your body needs about 10 mg of dark-green leafy vegetables each day to increase collagen production, which equates to about 113gr. of spinach or 56.7gr. of kale.
According to Health Times Magazine, red vegetables contain lycopene, which works as an antioxidant and builds collagen in the body. Red vegetables, such as beets, red peppers and tomatoes, stimulate collagen production. In addition to lycopene, red vegetables also contain anthocyanin, a strong antioxidant that is linked to reducing heart disease. Although they are orange, not red, raw carrots and sweet potatoes are also beneficial in boosting collagen production.
Foods that are high in sulphur help the body manufacture collagen. Vegetables like celery, cucumbers and black olives contain high levels of sulphur and can boost collagen production. In addition to sulphur, celery leaves are a great source of vitamin A and celery stems contain vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Celery is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
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