When you think of collagen; skincare usually comes to mind. Big beauty brands have been throwing this buzzword around for decades, enticing people into buying supposedly revolutionary anti-ageing products.
So what exactly is collagen, and why should you incorporate it into your lifestyle?
Collagen is a type of protein, and is strongly associated with connectivity. Our bodies have plenty of Collagen. In fact, it's the most abundant protein in mammals , and it’s found in our muscles, bones, skin and even the tendons.
Some dermatologists call it the glue that keeps the body together; collagen helps repair the skin, and that elasticity you see when you pull on your skin... that’s collagen! Unfortunately our bodies lose collagen as we get older and this is why we get wrinkles and dare I say it, saggy skin!
There are other factors that can reduce collagen production of course, like diets high in sugar, smoking and too much sun, which contribute to declining collagen levels, particularly in the skin. 
Are Collagen and Gelatin the same? If you are in the Paleo/Primal circle then you will probably have heard these two words mentioned a lot, the discussion of one usually leads to the other. That’s because gelatin is derived from collagen, a perfect example of this is Bone Broth - when bones are cooked - the collagen breaks down and forms the gelatin! They are both essentially full of great nutrients, just in different forms.
What are the benefits of adding collagen into your diet?
1. Makes your skin healthy and beautiful
We’ll dive right into the obvious here! As you know many moisturisers and body lotions contain collagen. Increasing collagen levels may increase smoothness and make your skin appear firmer. Taking the supplement in winter is a good idea, as the climates are a lot harsher and they will help your skin cells renew and repair themselves.
2. Protect your joints
Collagen can be used to restore elasticity to the joints. As we grow older and natural wear and tear creeps in, we may experience stiff, painful joints. Collagen can reduce stiffness and even ease arthritis by reducing inflammation and improving joint elasticity. Think of taking collagen like greasing a rusty bike chain!
3. Heals your gut
If you suffer from any digestive issues collagen can help heal you from the inside. This is because of amino acids within the supplement which help soothe the lining of the gut and heal any existing damage.
Collagen also absorbs water and will help keep things moving as they should. Bone broth especially has been proven to aid digestive issues and heal the gut and promote healthy digestion.
4. Strengthen Nails & Teeth
When the winter comes in, so does brittle nails! If you find that your nails are breaking easily, you could need some extra collagen in your diet! Aside from our skin collagen, protein is the building blocks of our nails and teeth, so increasing your dosage will ensure that your nails will stay strong through the winter months and your teeth will look nice and healthy.
5. Helps Healing
Collagen capsules will encourage muscle to regenerate and help athletes recover from sports-related injuries faster. This is because our bodies use collagen to repair and rebuild our connective tissue. If you have broken any bones, collagen will help strengthen the bones, cartilage and ligaments, helping you get back on your feet faster.
So by now you're probably thinking; how can I get more collagen?
Collagen is available in hydrolysed form as a supplement, which is no doubt the most convenient way to add more collagen to your diet. But aside from taking supplements, there are also many ways to include extra collagen into your diet through food!
5 Foods That Boost Natural Collagen
Some of the basic foods around us can really help us heal from the inside, so ditch all that sugar-loaded junk and start focusing on some of these foods.
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is pure collagen and is an extremely powerful food source that can help heal the digestive tract which will prevent further inflammation.
In fact, Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, actually calls bone broth a “superfood” thanks to the high concentration of minerals. There are so many great benefits to introducing bone broth into your diet that even many vegetarians have started including it in their diets!
2. Fish, and lean grass-fed meat
Foods high in Omega-3-rich such as like salmon, tuna and mackerel or grass-fed meat are high in essential amino acids and healthy fats, leading to the formation of healthy cells including skin, which can result in fresher, younger looking skin. Not to mention that essential amino acids are needed for true optimal health.
Carrots are loaded with Vitamin A which slows down the breakdown of collagen in the body. Vitamin A also helps to improve blood flow to the skin, keeping it natural and dewy. Carrots also give us protection from damaging UV rays that can cause brown spots and pigmentation in the skin.
4. Leafy Greens
Eating your antioxidant packed veggies will protect the body against free radicals. Free radicals can be harmful towards the collagen levels in the body and cause premature ageing. This is largely down to the vitamin C and mineral content of leafy greens, which stabilise the enzymes that break collagen down.
5. Red Fruits and Vegetables
Red fruits like apples, oranges, cherries, strawberries and red vegetables like beets, red peppers, and sweet potato are packed with the antioxidant lycopene. This boosts the body's production of collagen and creates an extra UV protection under the skin.
The next time you are in a department store and someone is trying to sell you some very expensive (collagen based) products, save yourself the money (maybe for some new gym gear?) and head to your local supermarket for some collagen boosting foods!
At Love Life Supplements we also stock Premium Grade Collagen which is produced in the UK, it contains only pure hydrolysed collagen at an excellent dose, so you have 100% confidence when buying.