What is collagen? Collagen is a protein naturally found in all animals, including humans. It essentially acts as the connective tissue that holds our bodies together, and is critical in supporting bone, muscle, tendon, and skin health. Our bodies continually produce new collagen, but as we get older, production of this protein is reduced significantly. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re upping your collagen intake from outside sources, especially after the age of 30 or so. So what exactly does collagen do for us? Here is a short list of its benefits, and how to capture them. Improve Skin Elasticity One of the biggest outward signs of aging is loss of skin elasticity, and this happens because we don’t produce as much collagen as we age. Because collagen is a critical part of the tissue that keeps skin looking youthful, adding more of it to your diet can help to reduce wrinkles and smooth your skin. Thicken Hair + Make It Grow Faster Every day, we come into contact with free radicals that break down the hair shaft and make it less healthy. Since collagen is a critical component of hair, taking this supplement can help reduce the ill effects of these free radicals. So along with making your skin more supple, collagen can also thicken your hair and make it grow faster. Joint And Bone Health Collagen does much more for the body than simply improve physical appearance. This protein contains two amino acids, proline and glycine, that are critical to maintaining good joint and bone health. In fact, studies have shown that taking a collagen supplement can be just as effective at reducing inflammation in the joints as taking an ibuprofen. It is also believed that collagen can help to improve bone density, which is a huge concern for people of a certain age. How To Take It Collagen can be taken in many different forms. One of the easiest ways to incorporate collagen into your diet is by taking a daily capsule. You can also buy collagen powder, which can be stirred into your morning coffee or tea. Don’t worry – it won’t impart any flavor on your beverage. If you’d rather not take it as a supplement, you can try eating collagen-rich foods instead. Bone broth is a great choice, since it can easily be made at home on the cheap. Finally, since collagen is an animal protein, vegans and vegetarians will find it difficult to add to their diets. But all is not lost! The good news is that certain plant-based foods help the body to naturally produce more collagen. Incorporate more vitamin C-packed fruits and veggies (like oranges, red peppers, and kale) into your diet for maximum health benefits.