When we think of collagen, we often think about beauty products. This is most likely because collagen has natural anti-aging properties. But did you know that you can find natural sources of collagen in food?
According to Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine,
Aside from aging, the top reason people don’t have enough collagen is poor diet. Your body can’t make collagen if it doesn’t have the necessary elements.”
So let’s talk about a few healthy foods that can boost collagen levels.
>> Bone Broth. Aside from being one of the top sources of collagen, bone broth is easy to digest and great for the gut. It not only soothes gut inflammation, it can help boost your immune system. Check out this article for more information on how our digestive system directly affects the immune system. Note: It is crucial that bone broth be from organic, grass-fed sources!
>> Brussels Sprouts. This cruciferous veggie is loaded with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that plays a big role in the production of collagen. Brussels sprouts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for many of us eating a plant-based diet.
>> Spirulina. This incredible blue-green algae is chock-full of amino acids (primarily glycine and proline which make up about 43% of collagen).
>> Citrus. We mentioned above that vitamin C is important for the body to produce collagen but did you know that its antioxidant properties also protect collagen from being broken down? I’ve included lemon and kiwi in the smoothie recipes below to give you an extra boost… and pineapple to help maintain bone strength as we age (go manganese!).
As we get older our bodies produce less collagen, which leads to all the signs we know as aging: wrinkles, achy joints, and more… Help slow down the aging process by providing your body with a collagen boost. It can be difficult to get enough collagen in your diet, which is why we recommend a collagen supplement that can be added to many of your everyday recipes.
Recipe #1 – Celery Root and Leek Soup with Chive Oil
For those following a ketogenic or a low carb diet, root vegetables typically pose a problem. However, one root is relatively low in carbs compared to other tubers, and that is celeriac (celery root). Celeriac isn’t actually the root of celery, although it is in the same family. It’s a fairly odd-looking veggie, but it has a nutty, lemony flavor. While it can look intimidating, it is easily peeled with a sharp knife.
For those on a strict keto diet, cauliflower may be substituted by reducing the broth by 1 cup. You can garnish the soup with fresh herbs for taste, but if you have time, the chive oil is delicious!
Bone broth has many health benefits. For starters, it supports immune function and healthy aging. Bone broth has also been found to reduce inflammation as it is high in sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which numerous studies have found help reduce inflammation (and pain) in the body. The collagen and gelatin in broth support healthy digestion and support gut health.
If you are using Bone Broth Protein in lieu of bone broth, here is the conversion: 1 scoop Bone Broth Protein + 12 oz of water = 2.5 cups bone broth.
Yield: 4 Servings
Preparation time: 60 minutes
- 2 tablespoons pastured butter or ghee
- 4 leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
- 1 stalk celery (pale if possible)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups peeled, chopped celery root (you will need about 2 pounds before peeling)
- 3 cups bone broth (or 1 ¼ scoops bone broth powder mixed in 1 ¾ cups filtered water)
- 6 tablespoons coconut milk (or milk of choice)
- Fine ground salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
- Chopped herbs for garnish (parsley, thyme, tarragon, etc.)
Yield: 1/2 cup
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 65 minutes
- ½ cup snipped chives
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Blend the chives in olive oil at high speed until the oil begins to warm, about 2-3 minutes. Set a fine strainer over a bowl and pour the mixture into the strainer.
- Allow to drip for at least one hour. Discard the solids (or reserve for another use).
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and add the leeks, celery, and garlic. Sauté until softened but still pale, about 7 minutes—do not allow the vegetables to brown (add an additional teaspoon butter and cover the pot if this starts to happen).
- Add the celery root and broth (and additional water if using bone broth powder) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 40 minutes. Mix in the bone broth powder, if using.
- Transfer the soup to a blender, or remove from heat and puree until smooth with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide soup among 4 bowls and garnish with chopped herbs and/or chive oil
Recipe #2 – Super Greens Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, and Spirulina Smoothie
This superfood smoothie features the potent blue green algae spirulina which is known for its protein rich, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Kale, a cruciferous vegetable, is a highly effective cancer busting food in its own right. Add in avocado’s rich essential fatty acid contents and kiwi’s bioflavonoid, antioxidant, and antimicrobial benefits… and you’ve got a dynamic combo that tastes incredibly good.
Yield: Two 12-ounce servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
- 2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
- 1 handful of kale, carefully washed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric root finely chopped OR 1 teaspoon powdered
- 1 teaspoon spirulina flakes or powder*
- 1-2 scoops collagen powder
- Quality salt to taste, such as pink or sea salt (approx. ¼ teaspoon)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup spring or filtered water
- Place all ingredients in a blender and process at medium for 10 seconds and then high for another 20 seconds or until smooth and homogenized. (Note: If you have a powerful blender, you can omit chopping the ingredients first.)
- Pour into glasses and garnish with a slice of fresh lemon if desired. Enjoy!
*Spirulina flakes or powder are available at most health food stores or can be ordered online. If desired, substitute with chlorella OR a combination of spirulina and chlorella.
Recipe #3 – Brussels Sprout Chiffonade With Shallots and Pine Nuts
Brussels sprouts are a valued member of the cruciferous family. The glucosinolates in this cruciferous veggie are especially potent and beneficial. They have also been found to protect DNA from damage. It’s important not to over-cook Brussels sprouts, which is why I have you slice them thin, keeping cooking time to a minimum.
Shallots, a member of the allium (onion) family, are richer in flavanols and polyphenolic compounds than even onions and garlic. They have a high content of antioxidant compounds, including quercetin, kaempferol, and various sulfuric antioxidants. The antioxidants are released when the cell surface is sliced or crushed, similar to garlic and chives.
It is best not to peel shallots too rigorously as the bulk of nutrients lie in the outer layers. Once chopped, allow to sit for a few minutes to maximize the nutritional benefits.
Yield: 8 servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- 1 ¾ pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and ends trimmed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted*
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Work Brussels sprouts though the feed tube of food processor fitted with a thin slicing disk to create a fine slice. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can slice them thinly using a sharp knife.)
- Melt butter with olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add shallots; sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir one minute.
- Add sliced Brussels sprouts; increase heat to med-low and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in pine nuts and lemon juice. Season with fine-ground Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
*To toast the pine nuts, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. You can also use a skillet, toasting and stirring them for 3 minutes, but be careful as they can burn easily.
Recipe #4 – Anti-Inflammatory Bone Broth Soup
This healthy, high-protein soup is made from an entire pound of celery and its leaves. Celery contains natural compounds that have antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting effects. These compounds also help reduce toxicity in the body.
Celery leaves are high in vitamin A. The stems are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C, with rich supplies of potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and sodium. Celery supports liver and digestive health and helps lower high blood pressure.
Bone broth provides a whopping 14 grams of protein per cup and plenty of calcium and potassium to support optimal bone and heart health.
Green onions support bone with their high vitamin C and K content. They are also loaded with carotenoids that play an important role in healthy vision.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 50 minutes
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 6 green onions, sliced
- One pound sliced celery stalks with leaves (about 4 cups)
- 4 cups bone broth (or 1 1/2 scoops of bone broth powder + 2 1/4 of water)
- 2 medium white-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces OR substitute cauliflower florets for a low carb (keto-friendly) option
- ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
- ¼ cup loosely packed chopped herbs (tarragon, basil, or parsley)
- 5 tablespoons coconut yogurt, divided
- Finely ground Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, basil, or parsley for garnish
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the green onions, sauté 2 minutes. Add the sliced celery and leaves, bone broth, potatoes or cauliflower, and celery seeds. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add ¼ cup chopped herbs.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Stir in 3 tablespoons coconut yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix remaining 2 tablespoons yogurt and 1 teaspoon herbs in a small bowl. Rewarm soup, if needed. Divide among 4 bowls. Drizzle each serving with the herb/yogurt sauce. Garnish with herb leaves and serve.
Recipe #5 – Avocado Spinach Citrus Smoothie
This go-to smoothie is chock-full of health-boosting ingredients. It is rich in heart-healthy potassium and vitamin E as well as lutein and zeaxanthin that support vision and immune function. The calcium and magnesium in avocados help promote restorative sleep, which is necessary for the nervous system to function at peak efficiency.
Nutrients in spinach help protect the digestive tract from damaging inflammation and seem to slow age-related decline in brain function. The nitrates in spinach give you strong muscles and boost energy. Its abundance of vitamin K promotes healthy blood and circulation and may play a role in protecting bones from osteoporosis. Spinach is also loaded with vitamins and minerals such as selenium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium!
Yield: 2 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- 1 ripe avocado, peel and pit removed
- 2 cups spinach leaves (large leaf, not baby greens)
- 1 ripe banana (or 2 kiwi) peeled
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 1-2 scoops collagen powder
- 1 cup coconut water or filtered water
- 4-6 ice cubes
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed until combined. Serve at once.
4 healthy foods that can boost collagen levels:
- Bone Broth
- Brussels Sprouts
As we get older our bodies produce less collagen, which leads to signs of aging: wrinkles, achy joints, and more.
1 scoop Bone Broth Protein + 12 oz of water = 2.5 cups bone broth.
It is difficult to always get enough collagen in our diet. We recommend adding a collagen supplement to your daily routine.