We all know the term ‘aging gracefully’. However, the social pressures on us to look younger for longer are high. There are lots of expensive cosmetics, surgical procedures and miracle cures out there claiming to smooth the skin, rub away those wrinkles or reverse aging but what goes into these cures isn’t always safe, can be full of toxins and even painful. So are there any natural solutions to healthy aging?
The first thing we need to understand is how we age. Collagen is a protein found in our connective tissues with approximately 75% in our skin and around 30% in our bodies such as cartilage and tendons. Although there are four types of collagen found in our bodies, it is Type I that is associated with aging as it is present in our skin, ligaments and bones. Type I collagen helps to provide the firmness and elasticity in our skin but as we get older collagen production declines causing joint pain, sagging skin and wrinkles! Lifestyle factors also play their part – smoking, too much sun exposure and diets high in sugar all contribute to lowering collagen levels.
Collagen is made up of 19 different amino acids with the most important amino acids lysine, proline, glycine and glutamine. To keep your skin supple and firm and your joints in good condition we need to increase the collagen in our diet. The good news is we can get these essential nutrients needed for collagen production from food and natural supplement sources.
Chicken and meat are rich sources amino acids lysine and proline. Fish provides glycine and proline. Eggs also contain mostly Type 1 collagen. Wheat germ is a plant based source of proline. Orange coloured vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A which helps to restore and regenerate collagen. Berries such as raspberries and blueberries help to scavenge free radicals which cause aging skin whilst helping to increase collagen levels. Lycopene found in red veggies like tomatoes and beetroot also boosts collagen.