10 Foods to Boost Collagen Naturally

5 min read


By Wing Joo Loong Team

Key Takeaways

  • Collagen production slows as we age and consuming foods high in collagen or collagen-boosting components can improve skin elasticity and hydration.
  • Collagen foods such as Bird’s nests and sea cucumber contain the key amino acids necessary to boost collagen.
  • Foods like pomegranates, Aronia berries, and tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis.

In recent years, collagen has become a buzzword in the beauty community. You may have seen people adding collagen powders to smoothies or sipping on bone broth for its collagen content. Although this is a fairly new phenomenon, collagen is not a new ingredient. In fact, there are several different types of collagen found in the human body, each with a different purpose.

Collagen in the skin is incredibly important for a youthful appearance — it is what gives us a youthful, wrinkle-free appearance and glowing skin. In this article, you will learn how to boost collagen naturally.

Why is collagen important for skin?

Collagen is the most abundant human protein, with 28 different types found in the body. While it has many functions, like strengthening bones and supporting connective tissue in tendons and muscles, it also gives our skin its elasticity, while also playing a role in the hydration and strength of the skin.

As we age, our bodies naturally produce less collagen, which leads to the formation of wrinkles and dryer, duller-looking skin. The benefits of consuming collagen have been studied for years. In a review of 11 different studies, it was concluded that consuming three to 10 grams of collagen each day resulted in improved skin hydration and elasticity after 69 days, on average.[1]


While collagen supplements and powders are popular, collagen-rich natural foods contain collagen that is bioavailable, meaning your body can use it right away. Consuming foods that boost collagen or are rich in collagen can also help your body create the necessary amino acids for collagen synthesis, including proline, glycine, and lysine.

What foods to eat to boost collagen

1. Bird’s Nest

One of the foods high in collagen, Chinese culture has advocated for the health benefits of bird’s nests for hundreds of years. About half of the bird’s nest is made of protein, full of 18 different amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. This includes proline, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and sialic acid. These amino acids promote cell regeneration, improve vitamin D absorption, speed up recovery, and stimulate the growth of red blood cells. Amino acids like these, especially proline, are key for collagen synthesis.

2. Korean Red Ginseng

Korean red ginseng is a powerful ingredient for skin health, as it contains essential oils, fatty acids, and vitamins. It can also boost collagen synthesis — the natural production of collagen within the skin cells. In one study, skin cells were treated with red ginseng, resulting in restored viscoelasticity and increased collagen production.[2] Another study found that Korean red ginseng significantly inhibited wrinkle formation caused by UVB radiation.[3]


3. Aronia Berries

Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, are a type of superfruit that contains high levels of polyphenols — micronutrients chock-full of antioxidants. These antioxidants are great for skin, as they reduce inflammation and can help clear your complexion. The Aronia berry also contains high levels of vitamin C, which is key for stimulating collagen production.[4] Plus, the berries contain zinc which helps your body produce new skin cells, improving the appearance of the skin.

4. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is essential for developing collagen. While pomegranates boost collagen production, they can also help reduce your skin’s appearance of ageing. They contain antioxidants, which can reduce cellular damage in the body, decreasing the incidence of wrinkles and age spots.

5. Sea Cucumber

New research has shown that sea cucumbers not only contain collagen but can also provide better moisture absorption than other common moisturisers. In comparison with popular moisturising ingredients, including glycerol control, tilapia fish skin, and porcine skin, sea cucumber collagen has better moisture-absorption capacity and moisture-retention, which is imperative for fighting wrinkles.[5]


6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are fairly common in most cuisines, but did you know they are a powerhouse for vitamin C? A single medium-sized tomato can contain up to 28% of your daily recommended intake.[6] Vitamin C can boost collagen by helping the body synthesise it. Plus, tomatoes contain large amounts of lycopene, which is an antioxidant known for its ability to support the skin.

7. Bone Broth

Bone broth, which is made by simmering water with animal bones, could be a good food source of collagen. The bones and connective tissue can release collagen, as well as amino acids, calcium, magnesium, glucosamine, and chondroitin into the water as they simmer. 

8. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein, and although they do not contain the connective tissues that meat or bone broth does, they do contain high amounts of proline and glycine. Since proline and glycine are two of the key amino acids necessary for your body to produce collagen, you will boost collagen synthesis by consuming eggs. While the whites contain the collagen-boosting amino acids, the yolks are also great for your health. They contain healthy fats and vitamin D, both of which promote healthy skin.

9. Avocados

Avocados contain vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega-3s can enhance collagen production.[7] Omega-3s may also have healing properties, which can also improve the appearance of the skin.

10. Nuts

Nuts, like cashews and pistachios, contain zinc and copper. Both of these vitamins can boost collagen production. Plus, nuts are full of protein, which is important for overall health.

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