An unhealthy lifestyle characterized by a diet of overprocessed foods, excessive intake of alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise has tremendous negative effects on the skin and speeds up skin aging process. Over time, the skin loses its elasticity and shows signs of sagging because of a decrease in the production of collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is located within the dermis and is the foundation of connective tissues that supports skin structure. It aids in the production of up to 30% of proteins found in the bones, tendons, ligaments and skin.
Collagen is a protein formed in our body and deposited in the dermis of our skin. Collagen keeps the skin firm by supporting other skin cells. As we age, collagen production decreases and old stores are depleted. This causes saggy skin. Other factors like sun exposure, unhealthy lifestyle and pollution also cause inadequate collagen production.
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Foods that boost collagen in the body
Asides from taking supplements, certain foods we eat provide proteins needed for collagen production. Here are the best foods that have good anti-aging properties and would boost body’s production of collagen.
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Lemons, oranges and grapefruits are examples of citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, which breaks down skin elasticity and collagen. Vitamin C also aids in the conversion of lysine and proline into collagen.
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Avocado oil is high in plant steroids, which helps in the reduction of blemishes and age spots. It is also rich in Vitamin E which is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals which cause collagen breakdown . Avocado oil is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which is beneficial in skin rejuvenation and cancer prevention.
Red fruits & vegetables
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Red fruits & vegetables have lycopenes in them which are antioxidants that increase collagen production, prevents DNA damage and enhances proper cellular function. They reduce visible signs of aging and improve skin appearance. Asides from their benefits on the skin, red fruits and vegetables also reduce the chances of cancer and heart diseases. Examples of such fruits and vegetables include; apples, red peppers, beets, cherries and strawberries.
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Carrots are great sources of vitamin A which improves eyesight and thickens the dermis by enhancing production and organization of collagen fibres. Vitamin A also decreases sebum production and reduces acne problems. So the next time you eat a stick of carrot, be aware that it wouldn’t just improve your sight but also your skin.
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Turkeys contain a kind of protein called Carnosine which reduces skin aging and boosts skin elasticity. It is also a good source of zinc that reduces skin inflammation and aids the new growth of skin cells.
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Flax seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which aids collagen production. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid needed by the body for proper development. Flax seeds can be mixed into daily green smoothies.
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Lipoic acids and taurine, which boost collagen production can be found in garlic. Garlic is also rich in sulfur that aids skin rejuvenation. You can add it as a spice when cooking or alternatively chew it raw. If you are allergic to garlic, consider eating celery or green olives which also contain sulfur and like garlic, boost collagen production.
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C; ontrary to most beliefs, chocolates are good for the skin. Chocolates have been proven to protect the body against the harmful effects of UV rays due to the flavinoids they contain. Exposure to UV rays is one of the major causes of skin aging.
Protein rich foods
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Foods like egg, fish, meat and beans are rich in protein and aid skin production of collagen because they contain lysine and proline. Adding more protein to your meals would be beneficial to your skin in the long run. Vegans should include more nuts in their diet to supply them with the needed protein since they do not consume animal sources of protein.
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Prunes contain the highest level of antioxidants, which protects the body from any damage caused by free radicals. Eat six prunes daily to get the full benefit and protection it offers. Blueberries can also substitute for prunes.