Collagen Boosters For A Plant-Based Diet

How to enhance the collagen you already have

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Avocados

If you chew your fingernails, tear a ligament, break a bone or cut your hair, you’ll be familiar with collagen – it’s a protein found in the body mostly in nails, bones, ligaments, hair and skin.

“Collagen is a complex protein structure made up of 19 amino acids,” explains Vancouver nutritionist Lindsey Ivey. “With enough collagen, you will strengthen joints, build up the GI tract, heal injuries faster and encourage lush hair, strong nails and glowing dewy skin.”

Collagen occurs naturally in the body, however, levels decline with age and Ivey says an unhealthy lifestyle will slow collage production. So it’s important to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption, get enough sleep, exercise, eat a healthy diet and manage stress. Collagen synthesis can be increased by ingesting animal protein but that’s off limits if you’re following a plant-based diet. So what’s a vegan to do?

“Currently actual vegan collagen is hard to come by,” explains dietician Ana Reisdorf in an article in Healthline. “Most companies sell ‘collagen boosters’ as supplements. These boosters contain various vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and zinc that the body needs to make collagen.”

Other common ingredients in collagen supplements include vitamin A, L-lysine, copper, L-arginine and manganese.

Reisdorf says several years ago scientists discovered a way to genetically engineer collagen using microorganisms but so far there is no commercial application.

In the meantime, don’t despair! There are lots of plant-friendly foods and supplements to help boost your natural collagen production.

Plant-based Production

The following plant-based foods can help to boost your natural collagen production:

  • Seeds: Pumpkin, flax, chia
  • Nuts: Cashews, pistachios, peanuts
  • Green tea
  • Green cruciferous vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Red fruits and vegetables
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Citrus fruits
  • Soy products

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