We’ve just come out of the holiday season, a time when we consume copious amounts of alcohol and bad (but oh, so yummy!) foods, which leave our bodies feeling run down and polluted with all of our guilty indulgences. It’s for this reason that at this time of the year I like to talk about the one thing that’s likely missing from your diet, but especially important for getting your body back on track after the recent holiday-eating spree you’ve likely partaken…
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about collagen…should they use it, should they add it, is it important?
If you didn’t know already, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. As most people get older, they begin to think of collagen, primarily in the face; but you should also think about your muscles, your bones, your skin, your tendons, your digestive system. It also helps give skin elasticity, replaces dead skin cells, and helps with our joints. So, it’s pretty awesome, right? Not to mention extremely important to think about as we age.
Speaking of aging, as we grow older our natural aging collagen production starts to slow down. We can think of this as just the natural aging process, right? But, of course, there are things we do that can make this process worse. For example, eating a bad diet, smoking, or sun exposure…things like these can all be found to deplete collagen levels. Also, if we don’t find ourselves eating really high collagen-rich foods, we aren’t helping matters any.
So, a little secret I’ll share with you, which you can use to start enriching your diet with more collagen, goes like this: bone broth.
Yeah, it’s kind of amazing. It’s one of those things that you can use as a replacement, like instead of chicken broth you can use chicken bone broth, for example. I use it in my cooking several times a week…I usually have bone broth as part of my lunch four to five times per week, and I make a lot of soups using it…which is especially perfect during these cold winter months!
On another note, going back to collagen itself, let’s look at collagen supplements. I do add a collagen supplement to my GC Control shakes every day. One of the reasons I do this is because it improves the health of my skin, hair, teeth, and nails… which is a big one for me!
I’ve also started giving a collagen supplement to my 15-year old son. He’s starting to lift weights and do a lot of joint-pounding exercises, so I’ve had him adding the supplement in his recovery meals after his workouts. Collagen supplements help with any type of joint pain, decreases your chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis later in life, and aids in the degeneration of joints. I believe all children that are very active, whether they are in football or basketball or doing crossfit, or even just in the gym, really really should be adding more collagen into their diet.
So, adding in collagen helps your skin, hair, joints….and your gut. If you’ve got a bad gut (or even if you don’t), collagen offers you a ton of health benefits to help deal. Collagen helps form a connective tissue inside the gut, which can help seal and heal, lining the gastrointestinal tract and helping prevent gut issues from happening.
Oh, and I can’t forget about your muscles! Collagen increases muscle mass, feeding your muscles and therefore helping your energy output and boosting metabolism, which is a big deal!
But, perhaps my number one reason I crush so hard on collagen is for the health benefits it brings to the liver. Those who know me best know I always talk about cleansing the liver. Your liver not only creates bile, but filters the blood; so, think of it as kind of pulling contaminates out of the body. It’s really important to have it functioning properly.
One of the best ways to cleanse the liver is with collagen, or even just doing a 3-day bone broth cleanse and experiencing the benefits provided by this high-collagen source. This type of fast really helps to detox the liver and repair the gut system. If you’ve got damage to your liver from alcohol, prescription medication, or any other form of acute liver damage, collagen is something you need to take note of. Which is why, going back to the fact that many of us have recently partaken in a holiday spree of bad food and alcohol, a liver detox is a great idea for this time of year.
There you have it, the one thing you’re probably not getting enough of in your diet, but now you know is extremely important to add more of it in! So, add it into your cooking, try a supplement, and get real with yourself about whether you are contributing to slowing down the collagen process by some of the daily choices you make. The changes you can make are small, but the health benefits are many. Now, consider yourself in the know about this fountain of youth protein source!