The Best Foods to Boost Collagen Production in Your Body

A middle-aged woman with smooth, radiant skin

Follow these eating tips for the best foods to boost collagen production in your body. And friends will soon ask, “You look so renewed and refreshed . . . what’s your secret?”

Often, you’ll return home from a well-earned vacation and a friend says, “You look so wonderful and well rested.” But what you eat can have an even larger impact on the way you look.

Eat Collagen-Boosting Foods for Younger Skin

Katey Davidson, a well-known dietitian, and nutrition, fitness, and wellness expert states, “Collagen is that one thing we really miss once it’s gone. But there are tons of things you can do to keep it hanging around as long as possible.”
And this means eating the right foods that boost collagen production.

To boost collagen, you want to eat:

  • high-collagen animal or plant foods
  • Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is created by your body. It’s what makes your skin look supple and fresh. As people age, they produce less collagen, and the results are seen in our skin, muscles, and ligaments. Skin becomes more wrinkled and thinner.

There are collagen supplements that you can buy to increase collagen temporarily, but the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate them.

A better and more lasting way to increase collagen in your body is to eat a collagen-boosting diet. This will help your body naturally produce more collagen.

Our bodies begin to lose collagen in our mid-twenties and the loss continues steadily after that.

Here you can read more about what happens to the collagen in your body as you age. Learn more about what collagen is, how your body shows you are losing collagen, and how to replenish collagen in your body.

A chart describing the health benefits of Vitamin C

Foods rich in Vitamin C, zinc, glycine, and copper, as well as foods rich in protein (from animal or plant sources) supply the nutrients and amino acids to keep skin, muscles, and tendons healthier and more youthful.

Incorporate these Collagen Boosters into Your Diet

Beef Bone Broth

Collagen is extracted when you cook animal bones in water. The collagen protein, made of amino acids, helps rebuild bones and connective tissues, and improve, skin.

Drinking bone broth also aids joint health and mobility.

When making broth, be sure to get bones from a butcher you trust.

Nutritional information: Beef bone broth contains collagen, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, glucosamine, amino acids, and other nutrients.

Why this food is so good for you: It’s one of the top sources of collagen. Beef bone broth also supports a healthy immune system and provides a healthy inflammation response.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • There are many online recipes for beef bone broth. Simple bone broth can contain: beef bones; garlic; carrots; onions; celery, and bay leaves. Add little or no salt. Enhance with your favorite spices.

Egg Whites

Egg whites don’t contain connective tissues, but they contain the amino acid, proline. They are great if you are trying to lose weight but want a high protein food.

An egg white omelet made with spinach and scallions

Nutritional information: Egg whites contain large amounts of proline. They are high in protein while low in calories, cholesterol, and fat.

 Why this food is so good for you: Egg whites will help your skin look younger by increasing the amount of collagen produced.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Egg white omelets are a delicious breakfast or lunchtime meal. Add tomatoes, spinach, and other foods for a tasty and nutritious treat that will boost your collagen and energy.


Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries all help promote collagen production.

Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and strawberries

Nutritional information: Berries are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Why this food is so good for you: Antioxidants protect the skin from damage. Vitamin C aids the production of pro-collagen, the body’s collagen precursor.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Use to add flavor and color to oatmeal or breakfast cereal
  • Enjoy tossed over leafy green salads or mixed with yogurt
  • Eat a handful or two for a sweet mid-afternoon treat
  • Add them to pancakes, waffles, or muffins
  • Make yourself a delicious fruit salad

Leafy Greens (and Tomatoes)

Leafy greens including, kale, spinach, and other salad greens will help you feel more satisfied and fuller. They are delicious and good for you but add practically no calories.

Add tomatoes to a leafy green salad for lots of Vitamin C to aid collagen production. Their lycopene is a powerful antioxidant for skin health.

Nutritional information: Leafy greens contain chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.

Why this food is so good for you: Antioxidants are good for your skin health. Chlorophyll increases development of precursor to collagen in the skin. Leafy greens also reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Some of the greens that are high in chlorophyll include spinach, wheatgrass, collard greens, arugula, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, green beans, and peas.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Eat a leafy green salad as a side dish with lunch and dinner. It will help you to feel fuller. Include tomatoes.
  • Make a large salad with tomatoes and chicken for a filling meal.
  • Good sources of chlorophyll include spinach, Tuscan kale, parsley, wheatgrass, and arugula.
  • Make a smoothie with greens and use apple, kiwi, or green grapes to sweeten.


Chicken contains lots of collagen, especially in the skin and connective tissue. Your butcher can grind in some skin with your chicken for delicious chicken burgers.

Chicken feet also provide lots of collagen found in their skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones. You can cook chicken feet as part of chicken soup! Chicken breast also has lots of collagen, but not as much.

Chicken being roasted with lemon slices and garlic

Nutritional information: Chicken provides protein and significant amounts of iron, zinc, and copper.

Why this food is so good for you: An excellent source of collagen and collagen-building amino acids.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Enjoy chicken in soup
  • Add cut up broiled chicken to a lunchtime leafy green salad
  • Bake or broil at night for a quick, protein-filled meal. Add some garlic, to prevent the breakdown of collagen.

Sardines and Fish

The collagen from fish is mainly in the bones, skin, and scales—making sardines a top source of collagen. You can try including some of the salmon skin in your meal, as well.

Nutritional information: Sardines are high in omega-3 acids and have low levels of mercury. Sardines are full of calcium and Vitamin D.

Why this food is so good for you: Sardines are great for collagen production. Many fish are high in omega-3 acids for heart health.

How to incorporate into your diet:

  • Include sardines in salads
  • Salmon smothered in lemon adds collagen and vitamin C

Foods to Avoid

While many foods aid in collagen production, other foods damage collagen.

If you are concerned about the collagen in your skin, avoid

  • sugars—table sugar, high fructose corn syrup
  • refined carbohydrates—white bread, white rice, and more.

These foods can cause inflammation in the body, which in turn will damage collagen.

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