According to Merriam-Webster defy means: 1. to challenge to combat 2. to challenge to do something considered impossible 3. to confront with assured power of resistance 4. to resist attempts at. As a synonym, it is further defined as rebel against. We all know that aging is inevitable, nevertheless, I kinda like the idea of ‘rebelling against’ it! So, what role does collagen play in this rebellion against the aging process? I’m glad you asked, let’s take a look at some facts.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, a jaw dropping 90%! It is also the glue that holds together the body’s tissues and organs, including the skin, muscles and joints. It plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of the aforementioned vital organs, plus it’s responsible for the skin’s suppleness and flexibility. As we get older, the body produces less collagen, which may account for the sagging and wrinkling of the skin as the body ages. Although it produces less, it does not stop producing it. Due to these facts, it’s important to give this protein a little more attention so that we can ‘rebel against’ the aging process diminishing effects.
I believe it’s safe to assume that most people, who are concerned about their physical appearance, would love to impede the aging process as much as possible. This may account for the fact that the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry has jumped on it’s bandwagon, or arguably created the bandwagon, over the past few decades. And in doing so, the popularity of collagen has skyrocketed. In the era of ‘instant gratification and quick fixes’ it has also gained in popularity as a dietary supplement to increase the levels of collagen internally and as a topical cream to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. With all the buzz around collagen these days, it kind of makes me wonder if it’s ‘hope or hype’. Let’s dig a little deeper to see what really goes on behind closed doors.
Let’s take a look at how the body produces and uses collagen to hold us together. In order for collagen to synthesize, three essential amino acids must be present. Those amino acids are glycine, proline and lysine. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the production of collagen. The body then uses it like a gel or glue to form the structure of the cells that build and maintain tissue. One study showed that, “Collagen synthesis is severely diminished in osteoarthritis; thus, enhancing it may help the regeneration of cartilage. This requires large amounts of glycine, proline and lysine.” http://www.nlm.nih.gov, ref. amino acids. Now you may wonder should you go for the over the counter supplements or go with the natural options found in food. Since most dietary supplements are not regulated, it’s probably best to give food a try first.
Although there is a plethora of delicious, nutrient dense foods to choose from, below is a short list of some examples that are rich in essential nutrients necessary to optimize the production of one of the body’s greatest necessities. For some incredible recipes to help add some of these foods to your diet, check out this cookbook Plants Only Kitchen by Gaz Oakley.
- Turnip Greens
- Cashew nuts
Consuming these foods on a daily basis will help minimize the effects of the aging process. These foods are not a ‘one trick pony’, but instead they are chock full of vitamins and minerals that benefit the whole body. So go ahead and make adding these foods to your diet a priority, so that the quality of life during the inevitable will be great!
Eat, Drink, Be Well…