Ageing happens. We all know that it does, but no one needs to succumb to it gracefully or without struggle. One of the things that happen as we age is the loss of collagen. You can boost your body’s production of collagen through a healthy lifestyle.
Collagen makes up a great deal of the protein in our body systems, including bones, connective tissue, ligaments and the light padding under the skin that makes it glide smoothly over bone and muscle. Loss of collagen can lead to brittle bones, thinned tissue between joints which can cause arthritis pain and thin skin that tears easily and heals slowly.
You can fight these ageing symptoms with some very simple steps.
- Eat a Rainbow of Vegetables
The old-fashioned home economics teacher who recommended having two vegetables of different colours at every meal wasn’t so very far off base. Both orange vegetables and dark, green leafy vegetables have vitamins such as A and C that support collagen production and help protect it from free radicals in your body. Use it as an opportunity to explore new flavours and interesting sorts of food that go beyond peas, beans and corn.
- Enjoy Fresh Fruit
When it comes to fighting free radicals, berries and fruits are among the tastiest ways to do it. Blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, kiwi, the list goes on and on. Eat them on their own, enjoy them in smoothies or use them as natural sweets at the end of your meal.
- Protect Your Skin from UV Rays
Wear a shady hat when gardening or exercising out of doors, and use a good sunscreen lotion. Don’t worry about choosing one that has collagen added to it, because collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by the skin. Instead, select one that has amino acids in it that are used as building blocks for collagen. Look for words like retinol or tretinoin in the ingredient list, or even ingredients such as aloe vera, ginseng or green tea.
- Trade a Massage with a Friend or Get a Professional Massage
A massage helps promote blood flow to the surface of your skin, bringing with it oxygen and other good things. This helps improve the health of existing collagen.
- Engage in Healthy Exercise
Go for walks (with your shady hat on), go swimming in an indoor pool, take up yoga or tai chi. These are all activities that stimulate your body to overall better health. Your liver, the organ that produces collagen, is likely to respond accordingly.
- Drink Plenty of Healthy Fluids, Especially Clean Water
You can filter tap water or purchase distilled or otherwise treated water from your supermarket. This helps eliminate the chemicals that are often used to treat city water to make it safe to drink. Other healthy drinks include green tea, ginseng tea, or a limited amount of fruit juices. Smoothies are often better than just plain juice because they retain the pulp from the fruit.
- Limit Caffeinated, Alcoholic and Highly Sugared Beverages
These can adversely affect your liver, which is the organ that makes collagen for your body. High fructose corn syrup is especially hard on your liver because it bypasses several stops that normally help filter and use sugar before it reaches the liver.
- Get Professional Advice
If you think that your collagen production is slowing down, talk with your family physician. Collagen normally diminishes production by about 1 percent per year after age twenty, but there are conditions that can increase the rate of loss. Your physician might recommend a specialist or even supplements or treatments that could help mitigate or slow your personal loss of collagen.
Some people take collagen supplements. Studies have been done and are being done, but at this time, there’s no indication that taking collagen supplements will make a difference in your collagen production. If you do take a supplement, consult with your doctor before beginning it, and make it part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Limit your intake of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine as these are all substances that can adversely affect your body’s production of collagen.