The Truth About Collagen Supplements

The Truth About Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are all the rage right now. Celebrities, bloggers and probably your co-workers are stirring collagen powder into their green smoothies and bulletproof coffee, touting it as an anti-aging miracle. It makes sense, since collagen is a protein found prominently in our bodies. It keeps our muscles, tendons, and skin strong and elastic, features that fade as we age and our collagen production decreases…hello, sagging skin and wrinkles. So giving your body more collagen to work with means wrinkles and achy joints aren’t coming your way, right?

Well, maybe. But let’s not all gulp down a collagen slurry so fast – the research is still a little cloudy.

What are Collagen Supplements?

Collagen is a fibrous protein found all throughout our bodies. It makes up our connective tissue, gives our skin strength and elasticity, and is the main building block of tendons, cartilage, hair, nails, bones, and joints. Collagen is made primarily of two amino acids, proline and glycine, which are the non-essential type (meaning our body produces them naturally, rather than requiring that you consume them through food). The idea behind collagen supplements is that they provide “extra” of these amino acids, hydrolyzed for better absorption, so that your body can use them to produce more collagen.

Collagen supplements are made from parts of animals that contain a lot of connective tissue, and therefore plenty of collagen. Most collagen supplements are made from the bones, hides, and cartilage of cows, although fish, egg, and chicken collagen supplements are on the market, too.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

There’s some good research showing that collagen supplementation has beneficial effects on joint pain and stiffness in athletes and osteoarthritis patients. There’s also been statistically significant evidence that collagen supplementation can improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles in women (yay!).  Some popular collagen supplements claims that it improves bone density as well, and studies are looking favorable for that claim, especially since there’s little safety risk in taking collagen supplements (no severe side effects have been noted).

Should You Supplement with Collagen?

While there is evidence out there that collagen supplementation can be beneficial in several ways, several studies have come up short, not finding any significant effects from collagen supplementation or suggesting that we wait for more conclusive research before calling collagen a miracle.

Let’s remember that our bodies are pretty complex, just like eating fat doesn’t directly translate to body fat, eating collagen doesn’t directly translate to more collagen in your skin and bones. Collagen supplements may provide the building blocks of collagen, but those amino acids don’t come with a sticky note saying “send me right to the wrinkles and joint pain, please!” Collagen is digested and absorbed as individual amino acids, and those amino acids can be used for numerous body processes, not just skin health. As long as your diet contains enough essential amino acids to carry out its normal functions, it can produce as much glycine and proline (and therefore collagen) as it needs. Vitamin C is also a necessary factor in your body’s natural production of collagen, and it’s another nutrient you can get pretty easily with a healthy diet.

What’s the Final Word?

If you’re looking for a boost in collagen production, collagen supplements have some scientific backing, but they likely aren’t doing more than a well-balanced diet would do. Eating a variety of protein sources along with sufficient fruit and veggies will provides you all the vitamin C and amino acids you need to produce adequate amounts of collagen.

That being said, if you like to put protein powder in your smoothie, I don’t think a high quality collagen powder can hurt — and it just might help!

 

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

Skillet Tempeh Enchiladas

I love my cast iron skillet and love when I find new ways to make dinner in it. Enchiladas are a favorite meal of mine and I love when I get to make them just for me. No having to please anyone else’s tastes. No accommodations for the meat eater or the kiddo who can’t handle it spicy. This tempeh enchilada is pretty much all me! That doesn’t happen all that often in this house so I like to savor the opportunity when it comes around.

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

I customized everything to my liking: from the filling, to the salsa, to the cheese — right down to the type of tortilla.

Here’s what you’re looking at:

  • sauteed crumbled tempeh with my favorite spice trio: chili pepper, turmeric and cumin
  • black beans
  • tons of cilantro
  • red and green salsa
  • spinach tortillas
  • extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • chopped avocado

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

It’s ooey, gooey, cheesy and saucy with a little crunch from the baked tortillas — the best combination, in my opinion.

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

I know what you’re thinking — did she eat this entire skillet? No. I didn’t. It’s actually quite filling from the tempeh and black beans. I had two for dinner and saved the rest for lunch today. Can’t wait to dig in!

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

If you’re wondering why I used tempeh and what the health benefits are, you’ll have to head over to my Inspired Vegetarian column on Healthy Aperture.

Click here for the recipe —-> Skillet Tempeh Enchiladas

This one’s for you, tempeh fans. Slightly spicy, perfectly saucy, and full of Mexican flavor, this easy to make enchilada is sure to please the entire family.

Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry + $700 Amazon Giveaway!

Super simple Indian inspired cabbage stir fry recipe with cauliflower rice and peas. Gluten free, low carb and delicious! I fell in love with curry back in Graduate school. It was the late 90’s and I was living in Harrisonburg, Virginia at the time, when JMU was home to a few cozy vegan eateries. I would wait in line for an hour on Sunday morning for The Little Grill’s buckwheat pancakes and homemade falafel and Friday night often included a run to the Indian-American Cafe for Gobi Aloo. I made that dish for years using my Good Housekeeping cookbook, and the smell of curry still reminds me of that time in my life.

Nowadays I like to put a healthy spin on old favorites. This Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry pays homage to my grad school days and my love of all things curry and turmeric.

This stir fry is super simple to make and includes three awesome veggies in one delicious dish. After a quick saute of the shredded cabbage, I added curry, turmeric and cumin — one of my favorite spice trios. Then I stirred in cauliflower rice and frozen peas, which took this stir fry to a whole new healthy level.

Why is this stir fry as good for you as it is delicious? Well, it contains not one, but two cruciferous veggies (the cabbage and the cauliflower) and these guys are well-known nutrition powerhouses. It also contains turmeric, which I add to everything these days (even a smoothie) and can’t stop writing about. Oh, and don’t forget about peas. These kid-friendly legumes are bursting with nutrition goodness, too.

This Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry is: 

  • full of antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory and cancer preventive
  • super tasty
  • warm and comforting
  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • low carb
  • high in fiber
  • heart healthy

It also requires just 15 minutes and less than 10 ingredients to prepare. Another awesome win in my book.

Here are four ways you can repurpose this stir fry all week long:

  1. add a few scrambled eggs to it for breakfast
  2. create a Buddha bowl with it
  3. serve it inside a lettuce wrap
  4. Mix it with some ground beef or turkey for an Indian Goulash

Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry

Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1/2 whole cabbage, shredded (you can use pre-shredded bag, too)
  • 1 cup riced cauliflower (you can use frozen, too)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry

Instructions

  1. Using a food processor, shred the cabbage and rice the cauliflower. If using frozen riced cauliflower, defrost 1 cup. Heat coconut oil in large saute pan. Add onion plus 1/4 tsp salt and cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add shredded cabbage (you might have to do this in batches). Once all the cabbage is in the saute pan, stir in ginger, spices and remaining salt.Then add peas and cauliflower and mix gently to combine. Top with lemon before serving.
http://foodconfidence.com/2017/03/02/curry-cabbage-cauliflower-stir-fry/

This stir fry recipe is super simple to make and includes three awesome veggies in one delicious and versatile dish!

Wait, there’s more! Would you like a chance to win yourself $700 in Amazon cash?

That’s right, I’m celebrating this month with a St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway.

Win $700 Amazon Gift Card with this St Patrick's Day Giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with some great bloggers to bring you this amazing giveaway. The more of these awesome bloggers you follow, the more chances you have to win! 

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