With the ever-growing popularity of traditional diets that incorporate animal-based foods, you may have seen an influx of recipes that include collagen powder.But what is collagen anyway, and why are we suddenly using it so much? It’s a pretty amazing protein, and I want to share the scoop on the benefits of collagen protein and how you can begin using it in your diet. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It is the major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb.
Collagen helps us maintain the hydration, integrity and firmness in our skin. It’s often included as an ingredient in anti-aging beauty care skin formulas, but evidence indicates that consuming collagen can keep us looking young. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for eight weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to those who did not take the supplement
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases as you get older, your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis increases. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall.
Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong. As collagen in your body deteriorates as you age, bone mass does too. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked with a higher risk of bone fractures.
Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong and functioning properly.
Researchers have theorized that taking collagen supplements may help reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. Collagen provides structure to your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries may become weak and fragile.
How to Choose Collagen Powders
As with all animal-based products, quality matters. I recommend purchasing collagen powder that is:
- free of artificial flavours or colours
- hydrolyzed – you’ll also see it labeled as ‘collagen peptides’; this is the broken-down form that is easy to absorb
How To Use Collagen Powder
Collagen dissolves completely and is flavourless, so it is very easy to incorporate into recipes without impacting the overall consistency or taste.
Add collagen to:
- Soups, stews and other one-pot meals
- Energy balls or bites
- Homemade granola bars
- Pancake batter
- Baked goods like muffins, cookies, brownies, or flatbreads