Collagen is made up of amino acids that your body must absorb to benefit from. Adding a few foods to your diet that are high in amino acids that form collagen and elastin (a type of protein found in connective tissue) can help support your body’s natural production of collagen.

Emphasizing a nutrient-dense diet that includes lots of antioxidants and vitamin C— such as from fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices — is also helpful for maintaining higher collagen levels. 

Vitamin C is particularly valuable for supporting collagen levels since not only does it act as an antioxidant, but it is also required to produce type I collagen, which is the most abundant form of collagen in the body. 

Nutrients including zinc, manganese and copper are also supportive of collagen production.

Finally, consuming enough quality protein-rich foods and healthy fats also plays a role in supporting collagen synthesis. 

Here are a few of the top collagen-rich and collagen-boosting foods that you can add to your diet:

Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of the few foods/beverages we consume that has collagen in it. It’s available in liquid, powder, bars, or even capsule form and is an easy collagen food supplement as well a source of other nutrients and beneficial compounds.

Spirulina 

This algae is a great plant-based source of amino acids like glycine, which is a key component of collagen. Use the dried form in green smoothies, desserts, or juices.

Alaskan Cod Fish

Cod is packed with amino acids, such as glycine and proline, as well as selenium, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. Other wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are all excellent sources of not only protein but also sulfur, omega-3s and other compounds that support overall health.

Eggs

Eggs and egg whites are some of the top collagen foods thanks to their content of the amino acids that make up collagen, including glycine and proline.

Gelatin

This is a type of protein derived from collagen. Use it in soups, stews, or broths to bump up the nutritional value.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Since they’re great sources of healthy inflammation-supporting compounds, antioxidants and vitamin C, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and arugula are some of the top foods that promote collagen synthesis in the body.

Other beneficial veggies include brussel sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds also contain around 19 percent of the recommended daily value for zinc in a single serving, a mineral that is integral to collagen synthesis. 

Berries

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, elderberries, cranberries, acai, and goji berries are rich in vitamin C, as well as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and other antioxidants that can support healthy levels of collagen. 

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as lemon, limes, oranges, and grapefruit provide vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, and other micronutrients that help support overall health.

Cherries, grapes, avocados, kiwi, apples, and pineapple are other fruits to seek out to help make your diet generally more nutrient-dense.

Garlic

Garlic is rich in sulfur, which is thought to ramp up collagen synthesis in the body. Onions, leeks, chives, and shallots are also good additions to your diet to boost your flavonoid antioxidant and organosulfur compound intake.

Fermented foods

Probiotic-containing fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, which is important for a healthy immune response and maintenance of healthy cells/tissues throughout your body. 

Herbs and Spices

Fresh and dried herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, clove, cinnamon, rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, and others are supportive of healthy immune system function, gut function and digestive health.

xoxo, Dr. G