How I Eat Collagen

Collagen. If you're not already familiar with this word, then congrats-- you're probably still in your teens. Collagen is that happy protein that keeps your skin plump and youthful-looking; it gives that tantalizing glow to your skin. Sadly, it doesn't last forever and its production starts to slow down in your late twenty's. In recent years, I've noticed a frenzy in the cosmetics industry with churning out all sorts of products targeted to boost collagen production in your skin, but I'm skeptical. Instead of putting weird chemicals on my face that probably never sink deep enough into my pores to do anything, I'd rather explore the internal route--by eating it!

And so I began my experiment.

First I did some research and found out that Sulfur-rich foods makes protein synthesize faster and eventually boosts collagen production. These foods are fresh stalks of celery, olives, and garlic. Since I absolutely abhor olives, I chose celery and garlic. For weeks, I got my mom to buy stalks after stalks of celery. We'd stir-fry them, put them in salad, in soup, in noodles...I have to say, unless you're crazy about celery, it's not the most taste buds-friendly vegetable, so I didn't keep it up.  I'm pretty sure I won't touch celery for the entire 2010.
Then, I laid my siege on garlic. Since garlic was already a big part of my diet, it wasn't hard to add more. The only problem is that raw garlic really does a number on my stomach and breath, so unless a recipe really calls for raw garlic, I always make sure they're well cooked. They're almost too easy to incorporate in your meals, and they require way less effort than the celery. If I have spaghetti, I'll mince a couple cloves of garlic into the sauce; if I cook Chinese food, I'll stir-fry a couple cloves with some vegetables. Now, we eat almost a bulb a day between my mom and I, and luckily, nobody ever complains that we smell funny--yet.


I learned in highschool biology that tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant Lycopene. This super antioxidant inhibits enzymes called Collagenases which break down collagen, and since I don't want all that painfully consumed celery to go to waste, I thought I'd better eat some tomatoes.
I like to stock my fridge with fresh tomatoes and just one in water and eat it whenever I feel like it. Although cooked tomatoes are reduced in Vitamin C, their Lycopene becomes more potent, and since Lycopene is the hero here, I'm willing to sacrifice some of that Vitamin C. I also stock my pantry with crushed tomatoe puree. They can be made into tomato soup or simply used as an enhancer to other recipes. I add a couple spoonful at a time to stews, roasts, or cooked sauces to add depths to the flavour. This way, I can sneak even more tomatoes into my meals.

Next I added my favourite fruit of all time--mandarin oranges--to the mix. They're packed with Vitamin C which helps your body produce more collagen among other wonderful things. I like the super tiny ones for their sweetness and bite-size goodness. I make sure I stuff myself with too many of these sweet delights in one day, because one time when I was young, I overdosed on these delicious little things and my hands literally turned orange!


Just recently, I fell in love with the humble but mighty avocado. This super fruit with awful looking skin is soooo creamy and just full of great omega fatty acids which keep the skin supple. Fish contains a lot of omega fatty acids too but it's no comparison to avocado's versatility. I can slice open an avocado and eat the entire thing in one minute at a coffee shop--you just can't do the same thing with fresh fish. Lately, I've been making guacamole every week. I just mash up 2 avocados, mix it with 2 minced cloves of garlic, cilantro, lime juice, a splash of salt and pepper. I think avocados are definitely a staple in my diet from now on.   


 After this experiment, I definitely see an improvement in the overall tone and elasticity of my skin. Not only do all these food items contain important ingredients that strengthen the structure of our skin, it promotes our overall health. The best of all, it's natural! You don't have to make the extra effort to eat everything that's good for you out there, but at least start with one. Bon appetit.


  1. Hazel Says:

    Ohhhh. Coooooool.

    Posted on February 12, 2010 at 7:11 PM  

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