Collagen is one of the predicted food trends of 2017 and for good reason! People are starting to realize how essential it is to your overall skin, hair and bone health.

It is a naturally-occurring protein found in your body that gives your skin elasticity and is basically the glue that holds your bones and tendons together. It also helps you replenish dead skin cells. Your body has 16 different type of collagens, with type 1 being the most abundant. Type 1 collagen is best known for providing healthy skin and strong connective tissues and bones.

At about age 30 your body starts producing less of this protein which is part of the aging process that leads to things like wrinkles, saggy skin and joint pain. A diet high in sugar further depletes your collagen levels in your body.

Collagen related diseases are often a result of a diet that lacks collagen-rich foods or if your body has a hard time digesting or absorbing it. Since collagen is essential to healthy skin and joints, it’s critical that you get more of this one nutrient in 2017.

A most common way to add more collagen to your diet are bone broths. In fact, we make these for some of my personal chef clients because they provide a significant amount of protein. There are also lots of collagen powders and supplements that you can take now too. Jennifer Aniston even includes a powder in her morning smoothies and attributes her “glow” to this healthy supplement.

Other ways that you can add more collagen-rich foods to your diets, is through fish, chicken, eggs and beef (bovine). Fish provides mostly the type 1 collagen and is absorbed more efficiently in the body. Chicken collagen is used to treat arthritis, back and neck pain and is the key component to cartilage and tissue health. It helps boost your immune system and improves your digestion.

Collagen is also found in the membrane and yolk of chicken eggs. The protein found in eggs is perfect for building tissue. Eating more eggs can decrease joint pain, increase your range of motion and improve your overall skin health.

Bovine collagen is found naturally in the hide, cartilage, and bones of cows and contains multiple types of collagen that help build the major components of your ligaments, bones, tissue, muscles, gums, teeth, etc. Beef can help improve your sleep, improve your gut health, build muscles and repair tissues.

In short, collagen is a critical nutrient to include your diet, especially as you get older. Whether you include it in the form of powder in your smoothies, supplements you take with breakfast in the morning or actual meat that you consume, collagen is something to eat more of in 2017 and have healthier skin, bones, and hair as a result!