It’s 6:00 a.m., and you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror brushing your teeth. The room is quiet (God bless the sleeping children), but your mind is already hard at work as you analyze the reflection in front of you.
- Maybe you just found a few new wrinkles under your eyes.
- Perhaps you’re concerned about your gut health.
- Maybe you’re frustrated that the baby weight is hanging around longer than you’d like.
- Or are you worried your family isn’t getting enough protein?
Chances are most of us can relate to at least one of these scenarios. Let’s face it. Having kids takes a toll on your body, not to mention the, ahem, aging signs that eventually start to affect us all.
Plus, we’re always looking for ways to slip some extra nutrition into our children’s diets especially on weeks when we feel we might have fed them a few too many convenience foods.
Luckily for you, I know just what you need to combat these complaints and concerns: collagen protein.
Collagen Protein: The Dietary VIP
Like Kelly Clarkson or Susan Boyle were superstars just waiting to be discovered, collagen may be just the thing that you’ve been waiting to find without even knowing it.
Simply put, it’s a protein found in your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. In fact, it’s the most plentiful protein in your body, accounting for one-third of the protein in your body. Basically, it’s holding your body together.
Sounds pretty important, right?
While there are many types of collagen, there are several main types of collagen that are most notable:
- Most of the collagen protein in your body is Type I. It is composed of densely packed fibers and It gives structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.
- Type II collagen protein is found in elastic cartilage that cushions your joints while you move. These fibers are more loose than Type I.
- The Type III collagen protein supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.
- Type IV is in the layers of your skin and helps with the filtration of liquids in and out of your dermis.
As you can see, collagen is an integral part of how our bodies are created!
As crucial as collagen is, there are things that can damage the collagen and deplete levels in the body, including high sugar consumption, smoking, sunlight, autoimmune disorders, and the aging process.
So we might be able to limit our sugar intake or avoid smoking, but we can’t very well avoid aging! What’s a person to do?
Easy: Consume collagen as a part of your diet.
Protein powders have gotten a lot of attention lately after a woman passed away suddenly after using them abusively. Like everything in life, too much of anything is going to be bad of you, so if you start adding collagen protein to your diet, do so responsibly (i.e. eat other things besides protein!).
Babies should not have added protein to their diet. If you want to add some extra collagen to your children’s diet be sure to talk to your doctor first.
8 Awesome Benefits to Sprinkling on the Collagen Powder
Collagen is a complex protein, containing many different amino acids. Some of these amino acids are not commonly found in a typical “western” diet, so adding collagen to your diet can potentially make a profound difference. It’s true: Collagen has gotten its famed reputation for the many specific benefits with which it is associated.
Take a look at these and see if any of these sound like something you may need in your life!
Benefit #1: Cellulite-Free Skin
One study indicated that collagen peptides (the powdered supplement), improved skin elasticity. Another study indicated that it can help the appearance of cellulite.
Benefit #2: Silky Hair
Collagen may promote strong, healthy hair. Although research on collagens’ impact on hair is lacking, there is some evidence that suggests collagen may help promote hair growth, fight damage to hair follicles, prevent hair thinning associated with aging, and slow graying.
Benefit #3: Smooth Joints
Collagen helps your joints move more easily, reduces joint pain, and can even decrease the risk of joint deterioration. There is even evidence collagen supplements can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefit #4: Healthy Gut
Collagen helps form connective tissue that can heal the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This can improve your gut health, which is really important, especially since poor gut health and the microbiome can cause a host of health issues, including many illnesses.
Benefit #5: Boosted Metabolism
Consuming collagen can help boost your metabolism through adding lean muscle mass and aiding in the conversion of nutrients. Making sure you get enough vitamin C can help convert collagen into a useable protein. Collagen may improve your energy, too.
Benefit #6: Unbreakable Nails
Collagen may prevent nail brittleness and make nails stronger.
Benefit #7: Detoxed Liver
Collagen may help your body to detox out the bad stuff. It promotes liver health by minimizing damage your liver experiences when it absorbs foreign substances or toxins.
Benefit #8: Happy Heart
There are numerous ways that collagen protein can aid in cardiovascular health, including preventing hardening of the arteries and improving circulation.
It’s hard to believe one thing can have the potential to do so much good for your body. See what I mean about it being a superstar thing to include in your diet? Even if just one or two of these resonate with you, chances are, adding collagen may be a good step for you.
Now that you know why collagen protein is so good for you, let’s look at all the ways you can add it into your diet. Take a look at these options and decide what works best for your family, but as always, be sure to clear any supplements or significant diet changes with your doctor.
The Easiest Way to Slip in Collagen Protein
Collagen powder is my personal favorite way to add collagen into my diet because it’s so versatile. Just sprinkle a little into a smoothie, coffee, oatmeal, or soup. Collagen powder, known as collagen peptides, dissolves easily and, being protein based, makes you feel full fast!
As you’re shopping around for a good collagen protein powder, try to look for brands that are grass-fed and pasture-fed. Here are some of my favorites that fit the bill:
Anna’s Amazing Collagen Protein Powder Smoothie
One of my favorite ways to consume collagen is mixed in a smoothie. A chocolate peanut butter collagen smoothie is my favorite, but collagen peptides can easily be added to your smoothie of choice.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
- 2 small bananas or 1.5 large bananas (flavor is best if they are speckled)
- 1.5-2 cups ice
- 1 cup milk (Adjust as needed depending on desired consistency. I’ve tried whole milk, almond milk, and coconut milk with success.)
- 2 TBSP peanut butter
- 2 TBSP cocoa powder
- 1-2 scoops collagen peptides
Blend ingredients together. Adjust any amounts to taste. Makes 1 large smoothie (about 24 oz) or enough for 2-3 smaller servings.
Sipping Collagen Protein in a Bone Broth
Bone broth is a great source of collagen, and, better yet, it’s easy to make at home.
That said, sometimes you just have TIME to make things from scratch. Just try to find a kind that doesn’t have a lot of extra ingredients added (many found in stores do). Kettle & Fire Bone Broth is a reputable premade option.
Snacking on Collagen Protein in Homemade Jello
One fun way to get collagen into your diet more is by using a high grass-fed gelatin to make homemade treats. Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin is a good option that my family has used.
While gelatin contains collagen (gelatin is broken down collagen), unlike collagen powder supplements, it will gel in liquids.
This makes it a good option for fun, kid-friendly treats like healthy homemade Jello. My kids love it when I made this treat with grape juice. Something the kids are excited to eat and that is filled with nutrients? Score!
Gelatin powder can be blended into smoothies, but it tends to lump up, which isn’t the best texture for a smoothie. So if smoothies are your collagen go-to, better to stick with the collagen powder and use the gelatin powder for treats.
Superstar Collagen Protein is in the
Limelight for Good Reason
Kelly Clarkson was working at Six Flags America before American Idol launched her into history.
Susan Boyle was taking care of her mum in Scotland before showing Simon Cowell what’s what.
This likely isn’t the first you’ve heard about collagen protein, but maybe this is the first time you’ve understood why it’s got so many screaming fans.
It’s a superstar just waiting to be discovered. One that can improve those cracked nails, give you pantene-pretty hair, and even help you shed a few of those stubborn post-baby pounds.
Start with a little powder and my delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie recipe for breakfast this week and then stand back and be amazed at how much better you feel.
Collagen is no one-hit wonder. This superstar is going to be around for a long time!