What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that forms the structural component of connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. It contains 19 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine. Because the body can't make these amino acids, we must rely on protein sources – like poultry, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat – which are considered “complete” proteins as they contain all nine essential amino acids.
Why Is Collagen Important?
Collagen is most well-known for its benefits to skin health. A 2022 research review concluded that oral collagen supplements can help reduce or delay skin aging by improving hydration and elasticity as well as minimizing wrinkles.
A systematic review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found collagen supplements reduced pain and increased function in patients with hand, hip or knee osteoarthritis within three months. Further research needs to be explored to determine the long-term effects of collagen.
Researchers are also studying collagen for its potential to reverse bone deterioration. Some research suggests collagen-based medication may help reinforce brittle bones, but more research needs to be conducted.
How to Increase Your Collagen Intake
Collagen is available in supplement form but it’s also abundant in animal foods, especially those with connective tissue, such as pot roast, brisket and chuck steak. Keep in mind that red meat also contains saturated fat and eating foods high in saturated fat may raise cholesterol levels. Two other options for collagen intake are bone broth and gelatin, both of which are made from the bones of animals.
You can also consume foods with nutrients that stimulate collagen production. Protein-rich foods including fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, and legumes contain the amino acids that your body uses to make collagen. Zinc and vitamin C, which can be found in shellfish, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, are also both necessary for collagen production. A well-balanced diet may help to provide the components needed to make collagen.
Water plays an important role in many bodily functions, such as protecting your organs, regulating your body temperature and maintaining cellular electrolyte balance. The role that hydration plays in everyday life and athletic performance is well understood, but did you know that hydration and mental health are linked, too?
Learn about the benefits of drinking water for mental health, including mood and cognitive function.
Summer is the season that usually gets people thinking about how to stay hydrated. Hot weather makes you sweat, which increases the need for fluids, and you may feel thirstier in general. But what about winter?
Hydration in cold weather can be easy to overlook, but the truth is that cold temperatures can also increase the body's demand for fluids. In this article, you'll learn about how cold weather can increase your potential for dehydration, the signs and symptoms of dehydration and tips for staying hydrated all year long.
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