11 Collagen-Boosting Foods

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Located within the dermis (below the outermost layer of skin), collagen is the foundation of connective tissue that supports the skin’s structure—making it essential for younger-looking skin. But, as we age, the body produces less of it, since naturally occurring enzymes break collagen down, in turn, causing the skin to thin, lose fullness and form wrinkles. The sun, pollution, free radicals and smoke are also responsible for disintegrating collagen.

While the body is constantly creating new collagen to repair what’s been damaged, around age 35, collagen production naturally begins to taper off, and the quality of collagen is not as good as in years past. The good news? In addition to topical products, and treatments, food is a great way to naturally boost collagen in the skin. “Stimulating collagen with at-home topical products, in-office treatments and proper lifestyle choices helps the skin maintain its strength, resiliency and volume,” says Madison, WI, facial plastic surgeon Richard C. Parfitt, MD.

Flip through this gallery to see the best foods to restore, regenerate and repair damaged collagen. Get out your pen. It's time to make an anti-aging shopping list.



Creates stronger cells: “Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acid,” says New York nutritionist Brook Alpert. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty membrane that protects them. When the cells are healthy, they are able to support the structure of the skin.


Red vegetables

Pump up sun protection: Tomatoes, peppers and beets contain the antioxidant lycopene. "Lycopene acts as a natural sunblock, protecting the skin from damage while increasing collagen levels,” says Alpert.


Dark green vegetables

Rev up collagen production: Rich in vitamin C, dark green vegetables like spinach and kale can rev up collagen production. In topical products, “vitamin C has antioxidizing properties that stabilize the messenger enzymes that break collagen down. It also protects against free radicals to prevent weak collagen,” says Orlando, FL, dermatologist Dr. Dimitry Palceski.


Orange Vegetables

Restore and regenerate: Vegetables that are orange in color, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in vitamin A, which restores and regenerates damaged collagen.



Ward off damage: Blackberries and raspberries scavenge free radicals while simultaneously increasing collagen levels.



Blocks aging: Whether sources from soy milk, cheese or tofu, soy contains genistein (plant hormones that serve as antioxidants), which prompts collagen production and helps to block enzymes, like MMPs that can age the skin.


White Tea

Supports structure: According to research conducted by Kingston University and Neal’s Yard Remedies, white tea may protect the structural proteins of the skin, specifically collagen. It’s believed to prevent enzyme activity that breaks down collagen, contributing to lines and wrinkles.


Citrus Fruits

Studies show that citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits that are rich in vitamin C have the ability to help amino acids—lysine and proline—convert to collagen. Antioxidant vitamin C is also extremely important in helping to neutralize free radicals, which attack and break down collagen and elastin in the skin.



In addition to giving your body a dose of healthy protein that it needs, egg whites are high in both lysine and proline, as well as collagen itself, so adding more egg whites into your diet could help support your body's natural production of collagen. And for those who choose the vegetarian or vegan route and don’t want to incorporate animal products like eggs or lean meats into their diet, try nuts (particularly peanuts), which also supply lysine.



One of the best sources of sulfur, which is necessary to collagen production in the body, garlic also provides lipoic acid and taurine that help rebuild collagen fibers that have been damaged.



A favorite among exotic foods, oysters are a naturally rich source of zinc—an essential element of the collagen-building process. Also chock-full of vitamins and minerals including iron and vitamin B12, oysters provide a low-calorie option and a long list of health benefits. 

  • JaredR
    Posted on

    Soy is a actually good for you. I have spent quite a bit of time reading up on it, from many sources. It is not a “testosterone killer”. It is in fact more of a hormone balancer. If your testosterone is too high it lowers it. If it’s too low, it raises it. The same with estrogen levels. So unless you are taking metabolic steroids to abnormally increase your testosterone, it’s perfectly safe for men. It does the same with estrogen. Men and women have both hormones. Also soy can be beneficial helping reduce chances of developing prostate cancer. Being able to convert daizein into equal is the most relevant when it comes to getting the most from soy. Not everyone has the particular gut bacteria to make the conversion.

  • emmanuel
    Posted on

    seems to be a great deal though.. ill try it!!!

  • Reanna
    Posted on

    Eating mostly fresh versus packaged or precooked foods helps a LOT towards keeping the skin plump and maintaining a youthful appearance. Europeans also eat very little GMOS and more organic which is why they look so good and have some of the longest living populations.

  • Heena
    Posted on

    How about having dates everyday to produce collagen

  • rawlin
    Posted on

    Just to reiterate a few of your readers' comments re: soy....soy is a real problem. It interferes with the uptake of vitamins and minerals and it interferes with the proper functioning of the thyroid. I spoke to an exert about this and he said even organic sprouted soy is a problem and should be avoided. I do use organic wheat free tamari because when foods are fermented the chemistry of the food changes and in the case of soy, the downside of this food is reduced so I think in moderation it is OK.

  • Carmel
    Posted on

    I love most of the foods on list except oysters, eggs, meat. My most fave is soy! Soy is very good for you and esp. for menopausal women. It helps estrogen levels. Some says dont eat it, well I say dont listen to them! Eat what ya want!

  • Mariella
    Posted on

    I already eat everything on this list except oysters, and I'm happy with my skin.

  • Sarah
    Posted on

    Soy is awful for you! Bone broth should be listed number 1 on here, it actually contains collagen and ready available nutrients for the skin.

  • Max
    Posted on

    I would never touch Soy. It is a testosterone killer.

  • Carol
    Posted on

    Topical collegan can not penetrate skin. Don’t believe the hype!

  • Denise
    Posted on

    Soy is very good for you

  • saddique
    Posted on

    i wounder about garlic . here Afghan dont eat as much garlic as compared to europeans . but europeans age very fast as compared. it might also include climate, behaviour, happiness work etc etc only food is not enough

  • Christine
    Posted on

    I am just starting to learn about collagen. I found out that there are four main types of collagen, types 1,2,3, and4. If we buy collagen we shouldn't take the type 2 at the same time as types 1 and 3. The different types do different things. If you buy it a fish source is the best, as opposed to a bovine source, but then I asked myself what if you're a vegan? So I found this article. But what type of collagen does your body make from these vegetables? Does it matter? Does the body just "know"? I have been making my own bone broth but then wonder what type collagen i'm getting from it. Probably type 2 when I really want types 1 and 3 for the skin. I found a great source of fish collagen but it's so expensive! I guess the more you know the less you know...

  • Monique Lopez
    Posted on

    Soy is really not good for you at all. Don't consume soy.

  • margaret.
    Posted on

    great information.the celery,and cucumber are mentioned on another site and i suppose eating them whole or juiced would be just as good for you.now spring & summer are almost here all these foods are a natural choice anyway.i love salads & fruit and try to grow my own if possible, so i will really enjoy all of these and feel the benefits also.grrreeeaaat!

  • rawrroxie
    Posted on

    just look for the left and right arrow guys. it's on the top right side of the article. LOL

  • Renee'
    Posted on

    Celery, cucumbers, then you leave us hanging! Hello!

  • me
    Posted on

    It's a good article except for two things, one, soy is not good for you, more research needs to be done by the author on that subject. Only fermented soy is ok to eat. Two, on the garlic, do you suggest raw or cooked, because most of the beneficial elements of garlic are at their most potent when garlic is chewed raw. And I guess there's a third, as someone mentioned here, there's pictures of celery, cucumbers and juices, but none are mentioned in the article.

  • martha
    Posted on

    mskin peels back when i bump things.will collagen help. thanks

  • pamelapooh
    Posted on

    pics of celery and cucumbers, but they're not mentioned...what's up with that?

  • SummerStorms
    Posted on

    I liked that there was one I hadn't heard before - garlic, and its sulfur and its lipoic acid! :) Always nice to hear a new food-as-anti-aging tip.

  • Sandi Woods
    Posted on

    There's that wonderful product of Dr. Brandt's Collagen Booster I've seen improvements since I started using it! Great source of topical collagen.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    tak boleh panjang lagi ke info yang kau bagi ni ?

  • Shiny
    Posted on

    Could you suggest anything on below? “Stimulating collagen with at-home topical products, in-office treatments and proper lifestyle choices helps the skin maintain its strength, resiliency and volume.