One of the newest and possibly easiest health food trends to go mainstream this year is collagen.
Collagen is the main protein found in hair, skin, nails, and connective tissue. Though collagen is the most abundant form of protein found in our bodies, it begins to decrease as we age.
Some research suggests that dietary collagen can be beneficial in filling nutrition gaps that lead to loss of the protein and it's surprisingly palatable. Drink bone broth or use it as a base in soups and stews, add collagen protein powder to baked goods or make your own collagen gummies and even add it to smoothies!
The Five Health Benefits of Collagen
1. Ease Cravings
The impulse to snack can often be linked to spikes and dips in blood sugar, inadequate protein consumption, and frequent hunger. Collagen is a complete protein that has been shown to slow digestion, lessen blood sugar spikes, and increase overall feelings of fullness.
2. Joint Health
Cartilage is the rubbery tissue that protects our joints and is made up of many different types of fibers including collagen. As we age the amount of collagen in the body decreases, which could be a factor in the development of osteoarthritis (1).
Adding collagen to the diet may help reduce joint pain and improve some symptoms of osteoarthritis (2).
3. Hair, Skin, and Nails
One of the building blocks of healthy hair, skin, and nails is collagen. As we age, our bodies begin to produce less collagen and there are noticeable changes in skin elasticity and it's the ability to retain moisture.
By adding gelatin to your daily beauty routine, you may be helping your body produce more collagen that strengthens nails, hair, and improves skin tone and appearance (3).
4. Gut & Digestive Health
Collagen has been used for many years to aid in digestive issues. The amino acid Glycine, found in gelatine, has been shown to aid in the development of the mucosal lining of the stomach (4).
There are also benefits such as balancing digestive enzymes and absorbing water, which can aid in constipation and fluid retention.
5. Better Sleep
You heard right, gelatin may help you catch up on your Zzzz's!
Glycine is also a scientifically recognized as a useful amino acid in the aid of easier, more restful sleep. Having glycine before bed may help you fall asleep faster and feel less tired the next day (5).
Though researchers warn that glycine isn't a miracle amino acid. Taking a supplement will not increase energy or alertness after a sleepless night.
Collagen can be added to the diet in the form of powdered supplements, pills, or in the foods you eat each day. Gelatin contains partially broken down collagen and is an easily absorbed form of the protein.
Here are a few recipes that may help you add more collagen to your daily routine!