Blossoming Health with Nanny Bee
By Linda Pecone
You may recognize collagen from the ingredient list on your favorite lotion, or perhaps notice all the supplements at your vitamin store. What is collagen, exactly? What are its benefits, and how and why you can, and should get more of it into your daily routine?
Did you know that collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies? It’s in our muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels,
digestive system and tendons. Collagen gives our skin strength and elasticity and replaces dead skin cells. It is, quite literally, the “glue that helps hold our body together.
As we age our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down. We begin experiencing this slowdown in the form wrinkles, sagging skin, and joint pains. A bad diet high in sugar, smoking, and too much sun further contribute to the depletion of our collagen. We can combat a lot of these issues by consuming collagen rich foods like bone broth.
How do I count the ways collagen can benefit the body? It will improve the health of your hair and skin. Increasing collagen can help firm up the skin, improve smoothness, and help skin cells renew and repair normally. It also helps to reduce cellulite and stretch marks by improving your skins elasticity. Its helps with hair growth as hair grows from, and is nourished by skin cells.
Its gel-like, smooth structure covers and holds our bones together, therefore assisting our tendons and ligaments to move smoother and with less stiffness. Less stiffness, smoother gliding of the joints means less pain from swollen joints. It’s like the grease we put on a creaky hinge to stop it from creaking. It’s an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.
Collagen is very helpful for those who suffer from leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where bad-for-you toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract. Collagen helps to break down proteins and soothe your gut’s lining, which in turn helps to heal damaged cell walls and infuse them with healing amino acids. It does this by forming “sealing and healing” connective tissue in the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It is evident in recent studies that many illnesses can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut. A healthy gut contributes tremendously to a healthy body.
If you are a body builder, a boost in collagen may help increase your metabolism by adding lean muscle mass to your frame and helping with the conversion of essential nutrients. Even if you aren’t a body builder, retaining muscle mass is crucial as you age. Supplementing with collagen can begin to restore the source or your energy and vitality.
You can supplement with collagen. I love to use it in my coffee and smoothies. My favorite source is made by Vital Proteins. You can find them online. They make many different powder forms of collagen, including my favorite coffee creamer.
Here is a recipe for making bone broth adapted from Nom Nom Paleo. It’s one of my favorites. I love the lemongrass flavor so I added a stalk of it to this recipe. I have a jar of this stuff daily, make all of my soups with this, and I put it on my dogs’ food nightly. Remember when making bone broth it must gelatinize when cool. You can make it in a slow cooker or on a stovetop. Here is a slow cooker recipe.
2 carrots, chopped medium
2 celery stalks, chopped medium
1 medium onion, chopped medium
7 garlic cloves, smashed
3.5 lbs. of beef bones (from organic, grass fed cows, or your local farmer)
2 bay leaves
1 3” stalk lemon grass
2 tbs fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons of apple cider (important in the gelatin forming process)
Dump the vegetables in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, (or large pot for stovetop method). Drop in the bones. Add the bay leaves, sprinkle in a bit of salt, drizzle the vinegar on the bones. Add enough water to cover everything. Cook for 12 to 24 hours. When it is ready strain and discard solids. Pour into jars, or containers of choice. The broth will keep in the fridge for a few days and in the freezer for several months.
Linda Pecone, along with her husband, is a long time resident of Lyons Colorado. She has a degree in nutrition, and is a certified herbalist. She enjoys creating healthful recipes for families and pets. She is also the owner of The Lyons Little Yellow Wellness House on Second Avenue.