Drink water, exercise, sleep, eat a clean, plant-based diet: these are the tricks and tips to which the most gorgeous among us often attribute their glowing visages. While there’s plenty of evidence backing up these simple lifestyle tricks, if you look a little deeper in your biology textbooks you’ll discover a compound essential to all body functions, from joint function to hormone stability and, of course, the ones that make us beautiful: collagen. Naturally produced in the body, collagen is a compound containing all nine essential amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—and thus is as essential to restorative practices like sleep and exercise for cell turnover and general homeostasis of the body’s systems. As we age (as early as our 20s), though, collagen production drops, and we see it in the mirror in the form of thinning lips, loss of elasticity and moisture in skin, and hair that’s thin, dry, or limp.
Our 21st-century conveniences make it easy to augment our bodies’ shortcomings with supplements and superfoods/powders/tinctures, but for vegans, finding a collagen booster can be hard. All direct sources of collagen are animal-based, and even the most amino-acid-full plant foods will be lacking in one or more. Eating a well-balanced diet will allow for the missing links to be filled in (especially for aminos glycine and proline), and yet making calculations to figure out the balance of foods with the right amino acids + supporting vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C, lysine, and garlic) scale may be too time-consuming or stressful for most. And since collagen is broken down by the digestive system, the way you “feed” your body this compound requires a multi-prong approach of giving your body the proteins it needs to make its own collagen. Here are three ways you can supplement from the inside and outside to look, and feel, your best.
Vegan Collagen Supplements
Developed with vegan-superstar Alicia Silverstone, mykind Organics‘s vegan collagen builder is a special combination of plant ingredients featuring antioxidants (rooibos and green tea), bamboo-sourced silica, biotin, and a slew of other good-for-you vitamins that make this powder a no-brainer addition to your routine. Plus, the brand supports certified whole and organic farms around the country, so you’ll be giving back to the agriculturists that will keep us growing for years to come.
Global sustainability advocates Reservage has a similar plant-based formula, this time containing white tea and ceramides (which mimic the skin’s moisture-retaining lipids).
Relatively new to the market, Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen is a topical supplement that boosts collagen from the outside-in. Its combination of microalgae and plant-based omegas will support the food-based collagen sources above, rounding out the entire approach.
Vegan Collagen-Boosting Meals
To get started today, try out these favorite PD-kitchen recipes with collagen-boosting goodness.
What are your favorite vegan collagen supplements and collagen-boosting meals?
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Photos: Alicia Silverstone via Instagram, GardenofLife.com; Reservage.com; Algenist.com, Lauren Kirchmaier, Jennifer Kurdyla, Christina Ramirez, Mary Hood Luttrell