Is collagen good for your immune system? Experts weigh in
Collagen is a protein that supports the structure and strength of our skin, hair, tendons, and ligaments. It's also abundant in foods such as fish, chicken, and grass-fed beef.
Whoever heard of collagen or even knows what it is? You might be thinking. It is an excellent source of strength for your skin – inside and out. Most experts recommend getting plenty of this protein in your diet.
What is collagen?
The protein found in the human body in the most significant amount is collagen. It makes up about 30% of our entire body weight. Collagen is mainly created in the body by the fibroblast cells in the connective tissues.
Various types of collagen are found in specific tissues throughout the body, including skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. Collagen's primary purpose is to provide these tissues structure and strength.
Collagen also helps to keep our bodies hydrated and is essential for healthy skin and a youthful appearance. If a person needs more collagen in their diet, the body uses its natural collagen stores. A reduction in collagen can lead to soft, saggy skin and a reduced ability to repair the body's tissues after injury, leading to an increased risk of disease.
How does collagen benefit your body?
A diet rich in collagen-rich foods promotes healthy skin and joints and solid and beautiful hair. It's also great for your gut health, as your digestive tract can only absorb collagen if you get enough of it in your diet.
- For healthy skin, joints and tendons - Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found throughout the connective tissue in the skin, bones, muscles, and joints.
- The skin comprises 30% collagen, while bones have approximately 40% collagen content. Tendons and ligaments also have collagen fibers to hold everything together.
- For healthy hair - Hair is about 18% collagen. Your nails are about 25% collagen. Getting enough collagen in your diet can promote a healthy head of hair and help with nail growth.
- For a healthy gut - The gastrointestinal tract houses approximately 80% of the immune system. Getting enough collagen in your diet can support digestive health.
Why eat more collagen?
Collagen is essential for strong and healthy skin, hair, and joints. Since it declines as we age, it's necessary for everyone – especially the elderly – to get ample amounts of it in their diet. It's not a bad idea for younger people to eat collagen-rich foods.
- Boosted immune system - One of the best ways to boost your immune system is to eat more collagen-rich foods. Increasing your intake of this essential protein can help your body stay strong against infection and disease.
- Reduced risk of illness - As collagen declines with age, the risk of disease rises. Eating collagen-rich foods can help you stay healthy and strong.
- Stronger hair and nails - By getting enough collagen in your diet, you can promote healthy hair and nails.
- Stronger bones - Osteoporosis can be a problem for people as they age. A gradual reduction in bone density causes it. Eating foods with high collagen levels is the best way to prevent this condition.
Types of Collagen
There are many types of collagen, but they all fall into one of two categories: Type 1 and 2.
- Type 1 collagen is the most abundant type in the human body and is found throughout your connective tissues, especially in your skin. It is responsible for providing structure and strength to your tissues.
- Type 2 collagen is found in blood vessels and throughout your lymphatic system.
Does collagen have any side effects?
No, eating collagen-rich foods does not have any side effects. However, if you're taking supplements, you should know the potential side effects. For example, if you take too many accessories, your body can't absorb all collagen.
So, it's best to get your daily intake of collagen through food rather than supplements. You should also be aware that too much collagen can reduce your body's ability to produce natural collagen. That's why it's essential to get your daily intake of collagen from your diet and not supplements.
The best food sources of collagen
Various foods, including fish, chicken, and beef, are collagen-rich.
- Fish - Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are the best sources of collagen.
- Chicken - You can also get ample collagen from chicken breasts, wings, and thighs.
- Grass-fed beef - If you're not a fan of fish or chicken, you can also get plenty of collagen from grass-fed beef.
Collagen is a protein that keeps our skin hydrated and healthy. It's also abundant in foods such as fish, chicken, and grass-fed beef.
Getting enough collagen in your diet can help your body stay strong against infection and disease and promote healthy hair and nails. There are many types of collagen, but the best way to get collagen is to eat foods rich in collagen.