Your body produces collagen naturally when amino acids are combined with certain minerals and vitamins- vitamin C, zinc, copper, and protein. It is a primary protein in the body. Our hair, nails, and skin are composed of 90% collagen.
As we age, we begin to lose collagen. By the time we are 80, we have approximately four times the breakdown of collagen as we did before we were 20. Therefore, we must look for foods that will help us build these amounts back up. Collagen is used in many beauty products, the most popular being collagen supplements and collagen creams. But one food group where we can find collagen is the meat group. Stay with us as we take a further look into collagen and delve into what meats are the highest in collagen.
There are over 40 types of collagen in our bodies, with four being more common than the rest.
Type I collagen makes fibers and can be located in connective tissue related to the bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
Type II collagen creates fibers that are not as established as type I and are located primarily in the cartilage.
Type III collagen makes skinnier fibers than type I and adds to cell organization in the organs.
Type IV collagen is located in what is known as the “basement membrane”. This is a sheet-like framework of collagen cells that encircle various tissues.
Why We Need Collagen
Our bodies benefit from collagen. Collagen aids in our skin’s health, giving it a more youthful appearance. It may also aid in bone density, and helps to strengthen muscles.
Top Meat Choices With Collagen
Foods rich in collagen include several choices of meat. If you are looking for the highest amounts of collagen, look to the skin, joint material, bones, and some organs.
Beef contains type I and II collagen. It is commonly known as bovine collagen. There are various benefits to consuming beef collagen. It can help with osteoporosis, relieve arthritis pain, improve an individual’s gut health, build muscles, and repair tissue. Beef collagen also promotes deeper sleep.
Various cuts of beef contain different amounts of collagen. According to Shawn Baker, M.D., author of The Carnivore Diet, collagen makes up about 3% of beef steak. On the other hand, chuck cuts are rich in collagen. If you are looking to get the most collagen, go with organ meats. Beef heart has two times as much collagen as regular meat. In general, organ meat will have 1 ½ to 2 times as much collagen as muscle meat.
If you are uncertain what cuts of beef to pick for the most collagen, a tip is to find the cut that is the toughest. The tougher the cut, the more collagen it will have.
Pork(porcine) collagen is mainly type I and III. It is considered to be closer to human collagen than bovine(beef) collagen. Therefore, it is more easily absorbed by our bodies.
The pork shoulder or pork butt has the most collagen as these are the most worked muscles in a pig.
Pork bone broth can be made by simmering pork bones in water. This is a tasty beverage that can be drunk alone or made into a flavorful gravy.
Pork rinds are an excellent source of collagen. Why? Because they are made from pig skin. Be sure to look for pork rinds that are cooked in their fat and not vegetable oil.
Chicken is an excellent source of type II collagen. This collagen will aid in skin health, boost the immune system, improve digestion, aid in athletic performance, and help relieve arthritis.
There is a good deal of connective tissue in a whole chicken. As you can see, roasting a whole chicken is a fine choice for incorporating more collagen into your diet. Chicken feet specifically are a great source of collagen, and are often eaten in China, Russia, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, and other sections of the world.
How many of us love our chicken wings? Guess what…these contain collagen because they are meat on the bone. Just make sure you are once again not using vegetable oil. Consider trying them grilled for a tasty collagen-filled meal.
(2)You can make your chicken broth at home by adding a whole chicken to a pot of cold water, then adding in celery, carrots, onion, salt, and other seasonings. This chicken broth can be used in gravies and other recipes, or you can simply drink it by itself. Chinese medical practitioners have used chicken broth to aid in digestive health, support the kidneys, and build blood.
Fish are a superb source of collagen from food, containing types I and II. But you must leave the skin on. Most of the collagen found in fish is kept in the skin. Fish also is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It is absorbed 1 ½ times faster than bovine or porcine collagen. Sustainable fish choices include codfish, salmon, sardines, pangasius, and tilapia.
Shrimp is a good source of collagen. You can save their shells as well to make a stock that will be rich in protein. This broth can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
Oysters can also increase collagen production due to the vitamins and minerals they possess. They contain a whopping 1,502% of the daily recommended zinc and 552% of your copper requirements in just one cup.
Managing Editor, With a background in health, holistic nutrition and science, Chloe has written for international publications including the Wall Street Journal and Green King.