When it comes to organs, your heart gets all the love. Heck, we even exchange heart-shaped cards on Valentine’s Day.…
Staying Young: Collagen and Gelatin
Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Are you confused about the relationship between collagen and gelatin?
If you are, you’re likely missing out on one of the closest things we have to a fountain of youth.
So I want to bring you up to speed and help you ward off the ravages of time.
Now, if I ask you what collagen does, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
A lot of women might say, “decreases with age, leaving me with wrinkles.”
That’s because the place we hear the most about collagen is in marketing for cosmetics. These days it seems like half the products designed to go on our faces boast of containing collagen or helping restore it.
Let me give you a more complete picture of collagen.
It’s a fibrous protein made of amino acids that prevents bones, ligaments, and muscles from falling apart and gives skin elasticity while keeping it firm and tight. It makes up about one third of the protein in our bodies.
I have some good news and some bad news about collagen.
First the bad news…
Our body produces less and less collagen after the age of 40. (If you’re over 40, I’m sure that’s not actually news to you!) Because of that decrease, a lot of things start to weaken. Our skin and hair get thinner, sags and wrinkles begin to appear, our joints get stiffer, and our tendons and ligaments lose elasticity.
And for those of us facing the loss of that youthful glow, there’s even more bad news: Products that claim they’ll boost your collagen if you apply them to your face generally don’t really do that because collagen molecules are too big for the skin to absorb.
So if nature isn’t going to keep us filled with collagen once we hit a certain age—and using expensive beauty products won’t even solve our external battle to stay young—we’re going to have to take on the job for ourselves.
And here’s the good news…
There’s a simple and effective way to deliver collagen to your body. Through collagen rich foods.
It’s called gelatin.
Yes, I know even the word gelatin sounds so unsexy and old fashioned that it’s ironic it could be the key to keeping you sexy and young.
Most people don’t realize that gelatin is actually cooked collagen. You make gelatin by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. And what are all those things loaded with? That’s right…collagen! Gelatin is essentially food with collagen.
So when you eat gelatin, you replenish your body with collagen—which fights wrinkles, strengthens bones, ligaments, and muscles, nourishes organs, restores luster to hair, makes nails strong, bolsters the immune system, and even heals your gut and reduces inflammation.
Of course you can buy gelatin either as a gel or as a powder (that you mix with water to get gel) and then use it as a thickener in recipes. But it would be hard to get enough of it that way.
You can also take gelatin as a supplement, but that’s not a convenient way to get the optimal amount.
So what’s the best way to ensure you consume plenty of gelatin and keep your body in top shape?
By far, the easiest, tastiest, and most effective method is to eat bone broth—at least a mug of it a day (but you can have several mugs if you like).
I’ve called bone broth an elixir, and I’ve said it works magic. A big part of its power comes from cooked collagen, which has been hiding in plain site as boring old gelatin forever.
But now you know better than to think of gelatin as boring and old.
Eat it regularly—preferably in the form of bone broth—and chances are no one will think of you that way either.
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