I have always been mystified by Collagen..if you ask someone the main component of the human body they most likely will say 'water' and that is correct, however next to water the number one physical component is collagen. And what a big component this is - it covers so many different types and is often very hard to decipher what it actually is. Today I'm taking it apart and explaining it in lay man terms...the jargon associated is somewhat like Latin in my book !
Collagen firstly is a protein and it is a protein that our body can produce. It is essential for our bodies and affects skin, hair, bones, joints and even the digestive system. When we are young our bodies produce bountiful supplies of collagen, as we get older however this falls dramatically, by our 40's our levels can fall by about 30% and thus starts the wrinkles, dry skin, fine lines etc...the fun stuff of aging. Like all things collagen is subject to breakdown and dwindles with age.
Apart from aging lifestyle factors affect collagen production, stress, alcohol, too much sun, a diet high in processed foods can also contribute to collagen loss.
What is Collagen ?
There are at least 16 types of Collagen (lets not go into all those here) but the important part is what it helps in your body:
This is where collagen packs a punch - it contains 18 of these 20 amino acids, this is why your body shouts for joy after a cup of homemade chicken stock. Now I know we are not all going to manage a cup of homemade stock every day and indeed might not want to consume animal foods so there are alternatives. There are foods you can include in your daily diet that will enhance the production of collagen within the body :
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