Published: 08/07/2012 - Updated: 02/07/2018
Not only dairy or foods with high concentrations of calcium may protect us against bone diseases, it has now been found that collagen is the main reason that our joints remain strong, free of dislocations, and our tissues remain flexible and resilient.
Collagen is the shield of our bones, cartilage, joints, ligaments, intervertebral discs, tendons and membranes that surround and protect the muscle fibers. Thanks to this element that our body can produce, depending on our diet, all the body parts mentioned above can be maintained in good condition.
If over the years collagen is decreased, there may be joint pain, bone density loss and skin wrinkles. Also rheumatic diseases such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis, for example, is a degradation of the cartilage that protects the bones of the joint. If we are not careful, this degradation progresses until the complete destruction of cartilage and finally to the thinning of the bones, this process of course, is accompanied by intense pain.
One factor that affects this condition in addition to the lack of collagen is the advanced age of the people. One of three people suffers from it after 70 years.
Another disease that was thought for years was only caused by the loss of calcium salts of bone is osteoporosis, a rheumatic disease associated with aging and loss of bone density, which eventually break easily. However, specialists and scientists have found that the lack or loss of calcium is mostly unrelated to the intake of calcium salts but with the lack of a collagen.
Just like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis is more related to the degradation of bone collagen with a deficit of calcium salts in the diet. That’s why we should pay more attention introducing the collagen in our diet more often.
Where can we find collagen? Unfortunately, this compound is not in the plant kingdom and meat and animal products contain it.
Eating meat, especially those with a higher content of tendons and ligaments, commonly called nerves, we can enrich collagen.
It can also be obtained from fish; salmon is a clear example, although its content is concentrated in the skin and bones. The gelatin used in the preparation of puddings and desserts also has collagen, just as the legs of pork and lamb.
One bad thing about collagen is that being a long and complex molecule, foods that contain it are difficult to digest and can cause flatulence.
Vitamin C and K
The good news for vegetarians is that although there is no food in the plant kingdom that have directly collagen in its properties, vitamin C and K are the major stimulators for our bodies to produce it naturally.
These vitamins can be found in the citrus, kiwis, strawberries, blueberries, plums, figs, bananas and vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, kale, spinach, beets, eggplant, purple asparagus and cauliflower.
Another benefit of eating collagen is related to nutrition of our skin, preventing wrinkles and aging process. This is a property that has been used by large companies in the industry of beauty and cosmetics. Currently there cream products, capsules, etc., based on collagen and are highly demanded.
In this case, cashews and walnuts have an abundance of fatty acids that help keep skin healthy, soft and youthful, while fighting aging and wrinkles.