In recent years the paleo lifestyle has gained an ever-increasing amount of devotees as people see the benefits of turning away from processed, packaged foods and instead go back to the real foods we were designed to consume. But paleo is far more than a popular diet that eliminates processed foods, dairy, sugar, grains, and legumes. At its heart, paleo is about getting the maximum nutrition from everything you put into your body.
In addition to getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats through good food choices, it is also important to arm your system with the nutrients that help to promote optimal health and healing in the body. Any paleo expert will tell you, one of the best options to achieve this aim is the inclusion of collagen in your diet. But if you are new to the paleo lifestyle, you may be wondering what exactly collagen is and why it is so important anyway. Read on to find out exactly why you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of collagen any longer!
What is Collagen?
Collagen is simply a protein uniquely found in animals. Even though many of us don’t know much about it, it actually the second most abundant element found in our bodies, second only to water.
Why Do I Use Collagen?
With such a presence throughout our bodies, it’s no wonder that making sure we replenish our bodies with plenty of collagen is so vital. The human body needs collagen not only for skin health as it is often credited with, but also for helping with muscle growth, bone health, joint movement, decreasing internal inflammation, digestive tract health, brain function, sleep regulation, and more.
Unfortunately, while our bodies require and contain collagen stores, the levels begin to decline as early as age 20. When collagen levels become low, you can experience specific problems throughout the body as well as a decline in overall health.
How Do I Make Collagen Part of my Diet?
As you learn about the importance of collagen to your body, you may be wondering what you need to do to get this vital nutrient into your diet. There are two main ways to increase your collagen intake.
–Specific Food Choices: The same bone broth your grandmother used to cook to get the most out of her chicken and meat bones happens to be a rich source of collagen. In addition to bone broth, gelatin is also a dietary source to get collagen. While both of these choices can be good options for getting collagen, there are a couple of caveats. First, the bones or gelatin must come from quality sources– from animals that are free from added hormones and antibiotics and fed the proper diet. Secondly, it is important that they do not have additives like food coloring, sugar, preservatives, or other non-paleo compliant foods. Finally, it is important to get the quality sources on a consistent basis, which can be difficult for most people.
-Supplementation: For those of us for whom getting sufficient quality collagen through diet alone is difficult, hydrolyzed collagen can be a terrific option. Hydrolyzed collagen is simply collagen that has been washed in enzymes to further break down the protein into smaller, more easily absorbable pieces. A good hydrolyzed collagen is not only bioavailable, but should be tasteless, odorless, filler free, and will dissolve into water or other liquids. For many, this makes it possible to add collagen to a wealth of paleo friendly meals and snacks.
Whatever option you choose, be sure to make this critical part of the paleo (and any) diet part of your daily regime.
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