Collagen is a protein — the most plentiful protein in your body. It’s in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, skin, intestinal lining and other connective tissues.
While you can’t measure your collagen level, you can tell when it’s falling. Collagen decreases as you get older, contributing to:
- Wrinkles and sagging skin
- Stiffer, less flexible tendons and ligaments
- Shrinking, weakening muscles
- Joint pain or osteoarthritis due to worn cartilage
- Gastrointestinal problems due to thinning of the lining in your digestive tract
Your body can’t make collagen if it doesn’t have the necessary elements. Foods rich in vitamin C can increase the levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen in the body as both are important for skin. Vitamin C acts like an army protecting its territory: It neutralizes free radicals before they wreak havoc and reduces inflammation, minimizing its effects
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don't. It is the essential vitamin for the formation of collagen–the spongy network of fibers that keeps our skin looking plump and wrinkle-free.
Eating a variety of plant-based foods is thought to work best for our overall health, including that of our skin. While our body needs a variety of nutrients to look and function its best, research has shown that vitamin C is a particularly important player specifically because the human body can’t produce it.