Collagen: What you need to know
Collagen is a healthy buzz and it’s everywhere you look right now. At Good For You, we like to call it The Glow Glue because it is actually the glue that holds together our muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels and digestive system.
What actually is collagen?
Collagen is a jelly-like substance that comes from bones – marine mammal or animal. Yep, sorry vegans... to get collagen (even as a powdered supplement), you’ve got to accept that it comes from an animal.
The most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is a vital healthy building block that’s good for our immune health and gut health.
This is because it contains 20 essential and non-essential amino acids. These are building blocks that help our bodies absorb protein.
What are the health benefits of collagen?
The news is collagen is really good for you. It supports good gut health, improves immune health, reduces fine lines and wrinkles and protects our joints from degeneration as we age.
There are three different types of collagen:
- Type One Collagen: Keeps us looking good as we age by giving us plump, beautiful skin. It is the most abundant type of collagen found in the body. Not only does it minimise fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin hydration and elasticity, it also helps rebuild your muscles, eyes, bones, and spine. Want stronger nails and glossier hair (who doesn’t?), type one collagen is also useful for strengthen our nail beds and hair follicles.
- Type Two Collagen: Creates healthy joints. It protects our cartilage. Cartilage is the white tissue that connects our bones together and that doesn’t bounce back when we rip, tear or overstretch it, because it has no red blood cells. Type two collagen helps us as our joints degenerate with age. In essence, it stops the wear and tear by removing inflammation from the synovial fluid that encases the places where our bones meet our joints.
- Type Three Collagen: Takes care of organs, muscles, blood vessels and bones. It is the second most abundant type of collagen found in the body and is often paired with type one. If you have a gut issue, this is also the collagen type you’ll want to seek out because it helps to heal and seal the gut lining, as well as supporting lean muscle mass and bone health.
But there’s so many powders, creamers and dehydrated bone broth on the shelf and they all say they have collagen in them so how do I choose a good one?
The great news is that collagen doesn’t have to cost you lots of your hard-earned dollars. The most bioavailable way to get collagen into your diet is to make your own bone broth. Because it’s a wholefood, your body is going to be able to absorb it really efficiently.
Head to your organic butcher and buy some good-quality bones (they cost about 20c a serve) or use the leftover carcass of your Sunday roast chicken (organic if possible). Then just follow our recipe below.
If you’re going to choose to buy a collagen powder, the main thing to get a handle on is where the collagen comes from. Know your source! The cheaper versions are most likely full of synthetics. That’s why price matters. The more expensive the powder, the more likely it will have come from a quality source.
At the start of the winter season, we up our intake of collagen. Claire likes to take a collagen powder because it’s fast, easy and efficient. Kylie likes to drink a cup of bone broth with a teaspoon of turmeric, some Himalayan salt and a squeeze of citrus in it each day.
We find a daily dose during the colder months help to give us stronger digestion and strengthen the immune system so that we can better cope with winter’s ills and chills.
Bone Broth Recipe
Makes 5 – 10L
3 fish frames and heads or one large roast chicken carcass
2TBSP apple cider vinegar
5 – 10L of filtered water
A handful of Himalayan salt
A handful of black peppercorns
Onions and herbs can also be added for extra flavour
- Place the bones into a large stock pot (we like to use a 12L one)
- Pour the water over the top until the bones are submersed
- Add apple cider vinegar and Himalayan salt and leave to sit for one hour. The apple cider vinegar helps draw the minerals out of the bones so that your bone broth has more goodies in it
- Put the pot on the stove, bring up to heat and simmer at a very low temperature for 12 – 14 hours
- Take it off the heat and let it cool down
- Pour it into jars or better still, freeze it into portions so that you’ve got something healthy to reach for during the week
To serve, make a mug of glow glue by heating the broth, adding a tsp of organic turmeric, a pinch of Himalayan salt, some black pepper and a few squeezes of citrus (this is key if you are drinking fish broth because the citrus cuts through and removes the fishy taste).
Alternatively you can use your bone broth in cooking wherever you would use water.