​Skip The Supplements—These 7 Foods Naturally Boost Collagen In Your Body​Skip The Supplements—These 7 Foods Naturally Boost Collagen In Your Body

If you’ve walked down a supplement aisle this year, chances are, you’ve seen collagen. This structural protein is the most abundant protein in our body, found in skin and other connective tissues. It’s also a buzzy topic in the supplement world right now, with companies glorifying collagen-boosting pills and powders for their ability to create youthful skin, healthy bones and cartilage, and strong hair and nails.

Our body naturally makes collagen, but it produces less as we get older. A decrease in collagen can result in loss of elasticity and structure throughout the body (cue wrinkles and looser skin). The thought is that if you consume more collagen, you can stave off aging skin or degrading joints—an enticing claim. Still, some experts doubt that taking supplements is the best way to maintain your collagen supply.

“I definitely discourage people from supplementing collagen,” says Ashley Barrient, MD, a bariatric dietitian. “It’s going to be a waste of money because your body is not actually going to utilize that extra collagen. Instead, a well-balanced diet rich in lean protein, heart-healthy fat, fruits, and vegetables has all of the key collagen-synthesizing nutrients you need to boost collagen.” (If you do decide to try a collagen supplement, you need to read this.)

Some foods that are good for you have a lot of different nutrients in them. These nutrients work together to help your skin produce collagen and to keep it from breaking down. Read on for seven foods that will keep your skin supple, your bones healthy, and your hair and nails in tip-top shape by promoting your body’s natural ability to boost collagen.

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