Okay, so it’s doubtful that anyone can attribute their luscious locks, radiant skin, or strong muscles to collagen and collagen alone, but it’s worth knowing that collagen can help you in all those capacities. That’s not even to mention collagen’s almost-mystical effects on your nails, bones, joints, heart, and possibly more.
A single substance that offers so many health benefits certainly begs the question: What even is collagen? We’ve got you covered — keep reading to learn everything you need to know about collagen and how to add it to your wellness routine.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein. It’s the most abundant protein in your body, and it’s responsible for all sorts of bodily processes, such as:
- Providing your skin with structure
- Strengthening your bones
- Keeping your joints mobile
As a major component of your connective tissues (any type of body tissue that connects one part of your body to another, such as your bones to your muscles), collagen is the glue that holds your body together, so it’s safe to say it’s pretty important.
As you get older, your body starts to break down collagen faster than you can naturally create it — a key driver in the development of wrinkles and hair loss. To combat that decline in natural production, collagen supplements can be a game-changer.
What are collagen supplements?
Great sources of collagen include organ meats and bone broth, but we get you if that’s not really your cup of tea. Collagen supplements are a convenient way to add this powerful protein to your everyday diet.
Collagen supplements are usually hydrolyzed, or broken down into smaller components, and sold as “collagen peptides,” a fine white powder that easily dissolves in liquid. That smooth powder is linked to an impressive array of health and beauty benefits, including:
- Brighter, tighter, smoother skin
- Fewer wrinkles and fine lines
- Improved bone strength
- Ease of aches in your joints
- Improved flexibility
- Potential increase in muscle mass
- Improved body composition
- Improved heart health
3 Everyday Ways to Add Collagen to Your Diet
1. Add it to your morning cup of joe.
Or your morning cup of matcha, if that’s your jam. Honestly, any warm morning beverage will work: green tea, Earl Grey, Chai latte, golden milk, whatever you prefer. A good brand of collagen won’t alter the taste or texture of your favorite morning wake-up liquid, but will instead dissolve tastelessly and smoothly.
You won’t notice the difference as you’re sipping, but you’ll notice the long-term benefits if you make it a daily habit.
2. Bake it into make-ahead breakfasts.
Egg casseroles or quiche, protein muffins, pancakes, overnight oats — the options here are essentially endless. Anything you can think of to bake for breakfast, you can add collagen to it. If you meal prep an egg casserole with collagen, you can ensure that you start each day with a healthy dose of this critical protein.
And hey, don’t stop at breakfast. You can add collagen to regular casseroles; stir it into sauces, soups, and chilis; or even mix peptides into a dry rub seasoning for chicken wings.
3. Stir it into smoothies and yogurt.
Perhaps one of the most popular ways to add collagen to your wellness routine, blending it into smoothies or stirring it into yogurt may also be the easiest way to pack a collagen punch into your day.
For the best results, opt for a flavorless powder that dissolves easily: a flavorless supplement allows you to add collagen to many smoothies and yogurts with different flavor profiles.