Collagen is an important protein that provides structure to the skin, hair, nails, connective tissue, cartilage, bones and joints. Specifically, it’s made up of the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine and makes up around 30% of the proteins within our body. Collagen gives skin strength and elasticity, and is what makes skin look youthful, full, and less lined. But it doesn’t just affect the way we look. Collagen is also the glue holding our ligaments, joints and bones together.
As we age, collagen production declines and the skin tends to weaken and become thinner, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin. Exposure to factors like UV light, a high-sugar diet or smoking can decrease our collagen levels, too.
The best way to help the body produce collagen is to eat a healthy diet, with adequate protein. It is also important to avoid stress, get sufficient sleep, and eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, such as oily fish, fruit, nuts and olive oil.