Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it’s certainly having a moment in the wellness world. Noted for its range of health benefits, you’ve likely noticed collagen cropping up on tons of different food, beverage, and supplement labels—but it can be hard to find easy and delicious ways to make it part of your everyday routine so you can actually reap all those great benefits!
First things first: What is collagen, anyway?
Collagen is the protein exclusively found in animals—including humans—that holds everything in the body together (think of it as the "glue"). It has a smooth, gel-like consistency and covers and holds your bones in place. Basically, it’s what allows us to move without pain from our bones rubbing against one other or against joints. Collagen makes up about 30 to 40 percent of all of the protein in the human body, and it’s found in bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, and skin. It’s also a crucial element of skin’s elasticity.
Speaking of skin….
Ingesting collagen has been touted for providing major hair, skin, and nail benefits. It’s often recommended to improve skin elasticity and firmness, and research has shown that collagen supplementation also has potential as a treatment for individuals with osteoarthritis and other joint conditions. Collagen has also been noted for its role in supporting strong nails, skin, and teeth because of its high-protein and amino acid content, and it even plays a vital role in supporting muscle building and maintenance of muscle mass, which is key for keeping your metabolism fired up.
It keeps the gut happy.
Collagen has also been studied for its potential in healing a compromised digestive tract. It’s been shown, for example, that collagen levels are low in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, so many integrative practitioners encourage supplementing with collagen-containing foods or products to help heal the gut. On a simpler note, supplementing with collagen is also a great way to increase your protein intake.
Why do we need to supplement with collagen?
We know the amazing benefits of having collagen in the body for everything from youthful skin to prime gut health. But because collagen production naturally declines as we age, reducing the structural integrity of the skin and instigating the weakening of cartilage in joints, it’s important to supplement with this vital protein. Other factors like sun exposure, diet (high intake of refined sugar and nutrient deficiencies, for example, have been shown to impair collagen production), digestive problems that interfere with collagen production, and diseases that impact collagen may lead to reduced levels. Supplementing helps you boost your collagen levels to keep your body functioning optimally.
Working collagen into your routine.
Collagen supplements are available in capsule form, but many practitioners recommend food-based sources, as they may be more bioavailable, meaning that the body can use them more readily. Bone broth is especially popular, though smaller amounts of collagen can also be found in eggs. Sure, you could spend all day simmering a pot of bone broth—but for those times you want a quicker way to add collagen to your diet, Primal Kitchen has developed some easy and delicious ways to integrate it into your routine.
Take their Collagen Fuel protein powder, which has a whopping 20 grams of protein per serving from grass-fed cows, and the collagen equivalent to 2 cups of bone broth per serving. It comes in classic vanilla and chocolate flavors, making it perfect to chuck into a morning smoothie, or even to use in more creative and fun recipes like collagen fat bombs, collagen ice pops, or collagen coffee.
If you want an even easier way to make sure you get your daily dose of collagen, these tasty collagen bars from Primal Kitchen are just what the doctor ordered. You can take them absolutely anywhere, anytime with no mess—making them perfect for busy people on the go, or great for travel—and they come in incredible flavor combos like Coconut Cashew, Macadamia Sea Salt, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Dark Chocolate Almond. The best part? They’re made with real food ingredients you can feel good about consuming, and they clock in at 15 grams of protein per bar with only 3 grams of sugar, making them an objectively super-healthy snack.
How to choose the right kind of collagen.
Finally, it’s important to remember that not all collagen is created equal. It’s incredibly important to see where it’s sourced from and how it’s processed, to make sure you’re getting the purest and best form of this powerhouse protein. To ensure its products are of superior quality, Primal Kitchen has actually teamed up with a European company that sources collagen from grass-fed cows in both Germany and Brazil and uses a unique research-backed manufacturing process.
So, why is grass-fed so important? Well, when compared to cows fed a grain-based feed, grass-fed cows are leaner, and products made from these cows tend to be higher in "good fats." Plus, choosing collagen from grass-fed cows is not just better for your body; it also supports a more sustainable process that is better for the environment.
Convinced you have to add collagen to your routine? Shop Primal Kitchen’s suite of paleo-friendly products here to find the collagen product that’s perfect for you.