Discover What Foods Help Produce Collagen

what foods help produce collagen

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When you make the right food decisions and choices you'll find your energy and health will respond in kind. In our article, we will explore what foods help produce collagen so you can maintain your vitality and youthful glow.

It's easy to boost your body's collagen production. For example, you can add anti-aging vegan and non-vegan collagen supplements. Supplements are an easy way to boost collagen production and collagen levels.

You can get collagen peptide supplements in liquid, gummy, powder, protein bars and capsule form. In addition, it's very easy to bake with collagen powder as well.

Let's get started to learn more about eating foods that help produce collagen.

"Eating is always a decision, nobody forces your hand to pick up food and put it into your mouth."

Albert Ellis, Michael Abrams, Lidia Dengelegi

Quick Review On What Collagen Is

Collagen is an essential, structural protein that builds and maintains your connective tissue and is heavily concentrated in the skin. 

Actually, its often called the ‘scaffolding’ that holds the body together.

Although there are over 28 types of collagen, there are five main types: Type I, II, III, IV and V.

When you start out in life as a baby, your body has abundant protein in the form of collagen.

However, starting in your late 30s, your body has less production of collagen which starts to create a collagen deficit. This deficit results in dry skin, fine lines, thinning hair, wrinkles and saggy skin.

In addition, collagen is necessary for healthy tendons, ligaments, joints and gut.  

With this in mind, eating foods that are a good source of nutrients like leafy greens, red bell peppers and citrus fruits will go a long way to preserve your youthful appearance and an active way of life.

Therefore, many people add a collagen supplement and/or bone broth to their daily routine. 

What Foods Help Produce Collagen: Meat Eaters

For those who eat meat and/or fish, or practice a Flexitarian Diet or keto, here's a list of what foods help produce collagen.

For your reference, collagen is synthesized in the body from the building blocks of these amino acids: glycine (especially helpful for sleep quality) and proline.

In addition, Vitamin C (zinc and copper too) must be present for the amino acids to synthesize into collagen.  

To help your body make more collagen naturally, you'll benefit from foods that are high in these two amino acids along with vitamin C.


Gelatin is the single best food for supporting collagen production in the body. In today’s world, we don’t use all parts of an animal in our food preparation (head to tail). That means most people are deficient in gelatin and therefore collagen.

Gelatin is almost entirely protein, made from animal bones and is incredibly high in glycine and proline amino acids necessary to make collagen. It has more glycine than any other food.

Bone broth

Bone broth is basically a step along the way to making gelatin. In other words, gelatin is a concentrated form of bone broth.

Bone broth is primarily made from beef, chicken or fish bones. You can easily make bone broth at home, although it takes a long time.

If you don't have the time or prefer convenience, bone broth is readily available online or at the store.

Some people do both...mostly because their homemade bone broth disappears quickly!

You'll want to check out our in-depth review of the best bone broth available on the market today here.

Dried fish and anchovies

Dried and dry-cooked fish has more lysine and proline than fish cooked with moist methods. Species like anchovies, cod, sturgeon, tuna, and whelk are particularly rich in these amino acids.

In fact, collagen from fish naturally has smaller peptides of collagen, which makes marine collagen more bio-available than animal collagen.

Egg whites

Although both egg whites and yolks have the amino acids proline and lysine, the whites of the egg have more of these essential amino acids than the yolks. 

Beef liver

It may surprise you to know that beef liver and the livers of other animals are higher in vitamin C than most fruits.

Liver is not only high in the proteins necessary to build collagen, but is also high in antioxidants like vitamin A and necessary minerals like iron and copper. 

Are you a Flexitarian? In this article, you will learn how you can modify a vegan or vegetarian diet to provide all the nutrients you need to stay healthy and strong.

What Foods Help Produce Collagen: Vegan

Because collagen is found in animal tissues, the richest dietary sources of collagen are animal products, including meat, eggs, and cheese.

However, as a vegan/vegetarian, this type of collagen isn't going to work for you. 

Well, can collagen ever be vegan? Unfortunately not at this time 

However, we can come at it a different way.

For example, instead of getting collagen from animals, a vegan collagen's formula can help to boost the body's natural ability to produce new collagen. 

In addition to collagen-boosting vegan supplements, you can eat these foods that will also help your body produce new collagen.


All forms of soy, including soy protein isolates and tofu, are rich in lysine and proline.

Admittedly, there are arguments for and against consuming soy. This article talks more about it so you can decide if it might be right for you.


Spirulina has recently been reclassified from a plant to a bacteria, even though it is capable of photosynthesis.

This incredible algae is full of essential nutrients and is loaded with lysine and proline amino acids, as well as antioxidant vitamins that work together to help the body produce collagen.

Wheat germ

Wheat germ is high in protein and amino acids, including lysine and proline.

It is also high in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that supports collagen production, although not as effective as vitamin C.

Other Collagen Rich Foods [Meat Eaters, Vegans and Vegetarians]

Keep in mind allergies or personal taste preferences when you decide which of these would fit well within your diet.

Sunflower seeds

It may seem strange, but sunflower seeds are rich in all the building blocks of collagen. They are a good source glycine and proline, rich in vitamins C and E and antioxidants.


Like sunflower seeds, almonds also contain a high level of vitamin E. In addition, almonds contain copper which is a necessary trace mineral necessary to complete collagen synthesis.

Winged beans

Also known as Goa beans, Manila beans, or four-angled beans, winged beans are loaded with collagen-boosting nutrients. They have glycine, proline, and are rich in vitamin C. 

super foods to help create collagen


Many fruits available contain high amounts of amino acids and vitamin C. These fruits are also among the lowest in sugar for those who enjoy a low-carb diet like keto.

Incorporate more of these fruits into your diet if you would like to boost your collagen production:

  • Kiwi - exceptionally high in vitamin C
  • Berries - blue, rasp, black, you name it! Berries are high in vitamin C and low in sugar compared to other fruits

Pro Tip

Here's a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool: Rub a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a

few minutes.  It's the phytochemicals in the cucumber that cause the collagen in your skin to tighten. You'll see a firming up of the outer layer of your skin and reduce the visibility of cellulite. You can use this tip on wrinkles too!!!


Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and green beans contain high amounts of vitamins C, D and A

As an added bonus, these vegetables are high in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll neutralizes free radicals, which are responsible for disrupting collagen production.

How To Avoid Damaging Your Body’s Existing Collagen

How can we protect the collagen we do have, especially since you know your body naturally produces less and less of it as you age? Let's look at four ways to do that:

Reduce Long Sun Exposure: Although the sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, too much sun can damage the collagen in your skin. Limit exposure to 15-20 minutes at a time.

Reduce Sugar: It's common knowledge that too much sugar leads to multiple health and weight challenges. Too much sugar attaches to proteins and changes the protein to be a molecule that is sharp. This sharp molecule can damage other protein molecules, including collagen.

Stop Smoking: Smoking is just an unhealthy activity all around, including for your skin. The chemicals in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin in your body. 

Improve Your Diet: A diet rich in collagen-producing meat, fish, fruits and vegetables will go a long way to support the collagen you currently have. 

Final Thoughts

Collagen is a critical component of your body's health and strength, as well as simply helping your hair and skin look healthier and more attractive. It's used in every part of the body to create the structures in your skin, bones, and tissues.

Collagen also contributes to healthy and well-lubricated joints, gut and digestive health and even strong teeth.

Fortunately, there are many foods that have collagen, amino acids and vitamin C that help your body produce collagen on its own.

Finally, consider adding a collagen supplement (or vegan collagen supplement) to your diet, this will help make sure you’re getting enough collagen or collagen-boosting nutrients in your diet to make a difference.

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