If you have read any of the literature online in regards to eating Keto, then you have likely come across the term collagen. You can readily find products like collagen peptides, collagen protein powder, and bone broth which taut the benefits of bone broth. But what is collagen and is it really something you need? Today I want to explain a little about what collagen is, why it is important, and ways to increase your collagen intake.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the primary structural protein found in your body. It makes up 23-35% of your body’s protein content. Collagen is mostly found in the fibrous tissues such as the tendons, ligaments, and skin. Collagen has often been labeled as containing the “nonessential” amino acids, but as we will see in the next section these amino acids are critical for much in the body. These so-called “nonessential” amino acids are glycine and proline. Glycine and proline are not found in much of the animal proteins found in the Western diet, especially since we typically throw out the liver and other organ meats. Therefore, you will likely need to find them elsewhere.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen has numerous benefits for the human body and is an excellent addition to your Keto Diet. One of the primary reasons to eat Keto is to heal your body and collagen is going to be a vital part of your body’s ability to heal. I want to cover just a few of the tremendous benefits of adding collagen into your diet.
1. Improve the health of your skin
As we age, our skin begins to sag, develop wrinkles, and lose elasticity. Collagen is the primary protein in the tissues of your skin. As you add more collagen, you are able to improve your overall skin health. You can also reduce cellulite and stretch marks.
2. Reduce Joint Pain
Again, collagen is the buiding block of your tendons and ligaments. Aging leads to a break-down of collagen in the joints which causes pain and immobility. Think of collagen as the “glue” that holds the joints together. A lack of collagen means your tendons and ligaments will move with less ease. Collagen for the joints is like adding WD-40 to that squeaky, stiff door.
3. Strengthens Hair, Nails, and Teeth
Split ends, peeling or splitting nails, weak teeth, and hair loss can all be attributed to lack of collagen. The foundation of your hair, nails, and teeth are collagen proteins. With collagen, you are able to reverse the signs of hair loss, develop strong, healthy nails, and improve the strength of your teeth.
These are just a few of primary benefits of collagen for your body. I want to include a couple of other tremendous resources if you’re interested. Dr. Axe has a lengthy explanation of collagen and a more exhaustive list of the benefits, Mark Sisson writes about the healing power of collagen, and Kettle & Fire also write about the benefits of collagen here.
Ways To Get More Collagen
It seems to be getting easier and easier to add collagen to your diet, but are all of the collagen sources created equal? No, but adding collagen to your diet is fairly easy. It is important to evaluate the source and ensure you are getting the best quality collagen.
1. Eat the organ meats
Eating the organ meats in good, quality grass-fed meats is a great source of collagen. However, most palettes are not too keen on this way of adding collagen to the diet.
2. Collagen Protein Powder
Be careful here. The source for collagen protein powder is important. Primal Kitchen and Ancient Nutrition both produce an excellent source of Collagen protein powder. The key to remember here is that you don’t want to consume too much protein, so you may need to be cautious with your other protein sources throughout the day when you use a collagen protein powder.
3. Bone Broth
This is my favorite way to add more collagen to my diet. A good quality bone broth tastes great, is packed with collagen, and is moderate on protein. You can make your own or order some pre-packaged bone broth such as Kettle & Fire’s excellent bone broths .
If you have turned to eating Keto, even if just to lose weight, you’ve no doubt noticed the tremendous improvement to your overall health. Adding collagen regularly to your diet will only take those health improvements to another level. Improve the health of your skin, hair, and nails while reducing joint pain with collagen. Later in the week I am going to share some of my favorite tips and recipes for adding collagen to my diet. Subscribe to my newsletter below to be sure you don’t miss it!