In a piece discouraging spending money on collagen supplements, University of Newcastle nutritionist Clare Collins offers a better way: a list of the food items (we encourage sticking to mostly vegetarian options) that underpin skin health and vitality.
A complete diet is better value for money
A 2019 survey reported 37% of Australians spent up to A$20 a month on cosmetics and personal care, with 26% spending between $21–50 and 15% spending $51–200 a month.
A bottle of collagen supplements costs anywhere between roughly A$15–20 to over $100. Each capsule, or per serve, contains roughly between half a gram up to five grams of collagen.
By comparison, you can get better value for money by eating foods rich in protein like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, tofu, dried beans and legumes. This will provide the amino acids your body needs to make collagen.
Because collagen would be unstable without vitamin C, it’s also important to regularly eat foods rich in it. Good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, capsicum, tomatoes, spinach, kiwifruit, lemons and oranges.
Also aim to regularly eat foods rich in other nutrients needed to help keep skin healthy. This includes:
- zinc, which is found in seafood, meat, chicken, dried beans and nuts. Inadequate zinc intake can lead to skin conditions including acne and some types of dermatitis.
- vitamin A, from oily fish, egg yolks, cheese, tofu, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Vitamin A helps immature skin cells develop into a mature skin layer which forms the body’s first layer of protection. “Beta-carotene” found in vegetables can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Good sources include pumpkin, carrots and leafy green vegetables.
- and foods rich in polyphenols. These are small chemicals found in vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices that help plants grow well or protect them from pathogens. Studies suggest higher intakes are associated with slowing some of the skin damage caused by exposure to the sun.
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