You asked. We listened. When we published an article on the benefits of using collagen, we were inundated with questions about how to incorporate it into your diet. The first article had mentioned a few ways to sneak this protein-packed, skin beautifying, heart healthy and hormone balancing supplement into your diet, but -- in case you need more guidance -- here's a detailed guide on using collagen.
But first, if you haven't already, read this first article so you can get a handle on what collagen is, exactly, and what it could do for you.
How to Incorporate Collagen Into Your Diet
Getting your daily dose of collagen is simple thanks to the supplement, but knowing what constitutes a daily serving is a bit more vague. This is because chances are you don’t need collagen. Unlike many essential micronutrients which your body cannot produce independently and require definitive daily intake guidelines, your body does produce collagen on its own, albeit in decreasing quantities as you age.
However, if you are looking to top up your stores, one serving a day is a good minimum recommendation. A serving can be anywhere from 1-3 scoops, depending on the brand of collagen you purchase. Your collagen container will come with the scoop in it, so measuring will be simple.
Again, this is something we’ve talked about in the first article, but here’s the short answer: for best results, grab a total body, hydrolyzed collagen. This simply means it has all the types of collagen in it that your body produces and can be absorbed quickly.
When to Use Collagen
Anytime, really. It’s a source protein that has also been shown to help repair connective tissues and ligaments, so it can be used before a workout or after — or both! The main reason experts say to consume protein post-workout is because protein is harder to digest and can cause GI distress while you sweat it out. Having it post-workout also ensures your get the protein in the timeframe you need it. If you consume protein too far in advance of exercising, it may not be there in the quantities you need it when you finally get around to smashing your workout.
How much post-workout? 15 grams will do the trick.
Can it replace a protein powder? That’s the catch: collagen is not a complete protein. It only contains 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot make on their own — and the balance of the 8 collagen does have is out of whack.
What collagen will do is support the health of joints and connective tissues, which can improve performance during exercise, as well as recovery after. So use it in addition to a good quality protein powder, like Sun Warrior, Yuve, or Nuzest Clean Lean Protein.
But collagen isn’t only for days when you’re working out. Ideally, you should consume protein with every meal, so you can use collagen even on rest days.
In fact, studies suggest you should use a serving of collagen every day for at least 4 weeks to begin to see results, so if you’re using it for the perks, you’re going to have to use it regularly.
But, where to add it in?
1. Tea or Coffee
This is a super easy way to get your daily dose of collagen. Collagen dissolves quickly, and — unless you opt for a flavoured variation — it’s completely tasteless.
We love adding a scoop to our morning pre-workout coffee or green tea. Both bevies have been shown to increase exercise performance and fat burn, and, when you this protein-rich supplement to the mix, it’s an amazing way to power up your AM sweat sesh.
If you’ve jumped on the juicing craze, you’re doing your body a world of good. In addition to an intense hit of nutrients, adding collagen to your juice can add the protein that will help keep you more satiated, and less likely to snack unnecessarily.
Another simple way to incorporate collagen! You can use the unflavored option, which we prefer because it can be added to anything without affecting taste, but, if you plan to use it in water, primarily, or as extra flavoring for smoothies, then a flavored collagen could be just the ticket for getting a healthy hit of hydration and protein.
Collagen is also a great addition to smoothies and can be used in addition to protein powder for an amped up workout drink. Another perk of collagen is that it makes your smoothie super frothy — more like a milkshake, so it not only enhances your protein intake, but also the texture of your bevy.
We love adding collagen to our Sunday morning pancakes. It’s a great way to get the protein that will keep us from stuffing our faces an hour after eating, and it makes the pancakes even fluffier.
Beef up your oatmeal with this amazing supplement. Remember: it will dissolve easily but you will need to stir it in well — especially if you eat your oats cold.
Want fluffier muffins? You know what to do: add the collagen! In addition to your run-of-the-mill bakery muffins, you can also add them to egg muffins. You can find this recipe — and a host of other mouth-watering meal and snack ideas — in our new meal and recipe guide.
Yep! Stir fry! Just dump in a scoop or three, and keep the total body gains coming. Heat doesn’t affect collagen’s ability to work its magic, so use it with confidence that you’ll still reap the rewards of this incredible supplement.
Stir a scoop of collagen into your cup of yogurt. That simple! We don’t recommend stirring in much more than a scoop per cup since it can change the yogurt’s consistency, given that most servings of yogurt are around ¾ cup.
Next time you’re whipping up a batch of your fave, comforting homemade (or, let’s be honest, store-bought) soup, dump in some collagen to increase the protein quotient.
Have your own collagen hacks? We’d love to hear them! Include your suggestions in the comments. And remember, if you need help cleaning up your eating and living a healthier, happier lifestyle, check out our best-selling nutrition guides and meal plans.