COLLAGEN IS ALL THE RAGE
Here’s What You Need To Know
These days, we’ll do whatever it takes to preserve our youthful skin. This process might include creams, tinctures, or maybe a facial at a spa. But one of the new hit trends, collagen, is actually one of the oldest tricks of Eastern Medicine and TCM.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is the component within our skin that keeps it looking healthy, firm, and glowing. The bad news is that collagen production begins to slow down at a rate of about 1 percent each year once we’re in our mid-twenties and then even more to a whopping decline of around 30 percent once we’re in our thirties and forties. This results in sagging skin, dryness, wrinkles, and a lack of luster.
The idea is, when you increase your collagen intake, it’s less likely that you’ll so many severe changes in your skin. Healthy collagen production can also support strong hair and nails. Collagen isn’t simply about skin health, however. It’s also the main element of our connective tissue and joint muscles. The decrease in new collagen production as we age coincides with many people’s issues with joint pain or diminished mobility. Abundant collagen production can prevent arthritis, joint pain, and stiffness.
Picking the Right Collagen Supplement for You
Collagen peptides often come as a powder, presented in a container similar to protein powder. Most specialists recommend opting for a hydrolyzed collagen peptide because they are small and easily absorbed by the body. Beyond that statement, research has yet to uncover further specification as to which collagen options are best.
It’s suggested that when searching for your collagen peptide you select a product that has studies to back up the results. In addition to doing your research, be sure to consult with your medical professional and TCM practitioner for guidance on the right choice for your health plan.
Three Ways to Sneak Collagen into Your Diet
So you’ve got your collagen peptide supplement, but what’s the best way to work it into your day-to-day life? As most products are flavorless, it’s easy to add the powder into smoothies, health shots, and even your morning coffee. Here are three simple recipes to whip up a collagen-infused beverage at home.
Almond-Chocolate Collagen Smoothie
One of the tastiest ways to get your daily dose of collagen in is this dreamy chocolate smoothie. Whether for breakfast or an after-workout snack, you can whip up this smoothie quickly for a healthy sweet treat. Get out your blender and add 1 frozen banana, 2 cups of almond milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1 quarter cup cacao powder, 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds, and 1 ounce collagen peptide. Blend well until smooth, pour into a glass, and enjoy!
Creamy Collagen Coffee
That’s right, collagen can make a seamless addition to your favorite morning coffee. Flavorless varieties of collagen are so subtle you won’t even notice a difference. Collagen tends to have a frothy reaction with many beverages meaning your coffee will be extra light and tasty, too. Simply combine 4 ounces of coffee, 4 ounces almond milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, half a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, and 1 ounce collagen peptide. Stir together, mix with a handheld frother, or use iced coffee and blend for a cold treat. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top for a spicy addition.
Immunity Health Shots with Collagen
For an immunity-boosting, skin-beautifying start to your day, try a collagen health shot. This morning tincture is small but packed with a big punch. In TCM, ginger, cayenne pepper, and lemon are all powerful ingredients often prescribed to aid in strengthening the immune system. This recipe combines them with the anti-inflammatory action of turmeric and elasticity of collagen to help jumpstart a healthy day.
Start by grating 20 ounces fresh turmeric and 100 ounces fresh ginger and adding them to 2 cups of warm water. Let the mixture soak for 45 minutes to an hour. Then add juice from 1 and a half lemons, 3 tablespoons of honey, and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder. Strain the liquid into a jar or sealable container of choice and add 3 ounces of collagen peptide. Drink 2 ounces of the mixture each morning.
Collagen in Food
Get ready to expand your horizons when it comes to food, as the best way to get collagen is from what you eat! Research on certain hydrolyzed collagen peptides from animals has shown repeated positive effects for the skin. These collagen peptides tend to be located in the connective tissues of the animals (like the feet), as well as in a few plants and fungi. Here are a few classic collagen dishes. Bon Appetit!
At first glance, you might mistake snow fungus for a large cotton ball or fuzzy keychain accessory, but this collagen-rich mushroom is one of the most versatile options available as it’s commonly prepared in both main dishes and desserts. As its name suggests, snow fungus tends to be a light white or cream color but might look silver once rehydrated. Snow fungus can be added to a hot or cold soup, or stir-fry or used as garnish for other dishes.
These marine animals are considered a delicacy in many countries in Asia (particularly Japan). They tend to have a leathery look with occasional spots and have a pretty bland taste naturally. For this reason, most preparations of sea cucumber involve plenty of added seasoning and sauces. Since it’s a delicacy, a side of vegetables is the most common accompaniment and in some places you’ll find sea cucumber and fish maw together for a heightened collagen meal.
Bird’s Nest Soup
This famous Chinese dish is more than just a clever name. Bird’s Nest Soup is a literal bird’s nest. Fashioned from their own sticky saliva, the soup is actually made of bird saliva (are you cringing yet?). When preparing Bird’s Nest Soup, it must first be soaked and softened in water and then slowly steamed. Overcooking will strip out the nutritional value. This soup tastes like bland gelatin, but many people prepare it as a dessert by adding rock sugar as it steams.
What Exactly is Collagen?
Literally speaking, the word collagen means “glue producer”. This meaning comes from ancient Greek and references the practice of melting down the skin and sinews from horses and other animals to make glue. Collagen is a natural protein we all possess from birth and continue to produce throughout our lives.
Let’s break it down further. Proteins are large molecules within our body that have an array of important jobs. Primarily, they do a lot of the heavy lifting within our cells. Without proteins, our organs and tissues would lack structure, function, and proper regulation. Proteins are developed from amino acids which we intake from many foods like meat, quinoa, eggs, soy, tofu, buckwheat, and dairy.
Are you on team collagen? What are your favorite ways to incorporate this skin secret into your daily routine?