Several times a year, I do a three-day bone broth fast. I cook up a huge pot of broth and sip cupful’s of it throughout my fast. After finishing these fasts, I notice that my skin, especially on my face, is glowing, firm, and youthful. These amazing changes are not the result of some expensive skincare product. They are a result of collagen in the bone broth.
Yes – collagen! Collagen is a protein found naturally in the body that gives skin its firmness, elasticity, and youthful look. About 25 to 35 percent of the protein in our body is collagen. Over time, that percentage decreases due to age-related hormonal changes, sun exposure, environmental insults, and stress. As we approach our forties, we lose about a teaspoon of collagen a year. The result is loose skin, sagging under the chin, and wrinkles – all of which can worsen over time.
Fortunately, you can boost your body’s own collagen production to achieve a fresher, tighter, more youthful complexion – in three important ways.
A Bowl of Bone Broth a Day Keeps Wrinkles at Bay
The first of course is to make and drink bone broth. It’s easy to prepare a batch of collagen-rich broth. Simply boil any animal bones – cows, bison, chicken, turkey, fish, and others (ideally bones from grass-fed sources) – for 16 to 24 hours in order to release all the goodness. Throw in some veggies like greens, onions, and garlic too. My personal bone broth recipe, plus my meatless alkalizing broth recipe, is in my new book The Hormone Fix.
You can tell whether your broth has a lot of collagen in it after you refrigerate it: if it gels in the fridge, it’s full of collagen. Sip a bowl or two daily, or go on a total bone broth fast for three days, in which you drink it throughout the day.
Bone broth has so many healing benefits beyond skin. Learn more from my blog, Bone Broth Liquid Gold – Become a Natural Fat Burner.
Collagen Powder for Firmer Skin
Second, try supplementing with collagen powder. This type of supplement is very trendy right now. But it’s more than a trend: research shows you can increase your body’s collagen levels by consuming more collagen through supplementation, no matter what your age. Available in powders you can mix into coffee, tea, smoothies and other beverages, collagen supplements can renew and revitalize the way you look and feel (it’s good for joints too). These benefits were confirmed recently in a 2019 review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. After looking into eight studies, the researchers concluded: “Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. Collagen supplementation is generally safe with no reported adverse events.”
Collagen powder is tasteless too, and dissolves well in liquids. You can even put it in your bone broth to further pump up your collagen intake. Collagen is amazing for overall health too. Listen to my Couch Talk with Lillian Zhao of Further Foods: Why Collagen is Crucial to Maintaining Your Health as You Age.
Vitamin C – the Collagen Booster
Third, be sure you’re supplementing with vitamin C daily. Normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production and prevents skin inflammation. However, levels of vitamin C in the skin can deteriorate with aging, sun exposure, and chemicals found in hair dyes and some soaps.
Supplementing with vitamin C can provide significant protection against these changes and enhance regeneration of your skin. Start with a daily dose of 500 to 2,000 milligrams, taken any time of the day.
Eat vitamin C-rich foods too, including peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. A study mentioned in a 2017 article in Nutrients noted that a diet plentiful in vitamin C, along with supplementation, was associated with improved measures of skin elasticity, facial wrinkling, and less roughness.
For more information on the many powers of Vitamin C and other supplements I like, read my blog Supplements Dr. Anna Recommends.
Enjoying lots of good fats, found in fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, as I recommend on my Keto-Green Diet, supports vitamin C’s effect on the skin, too. These fats allow the skin to produce its own fats, which form a barrier against water loss and thus keep your skin hydrated, supple, and smooth.
Your skin is the largest body organ, making up 15 percent of our total body weight and covers a surface of 3 to 6 square feet. So why not protect it from aging as best you can?
Put your best face forward with the two C’s of skin care: collagen and vitamin C.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 unpeeled carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, including leafy part, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 stalks of cauliflower and or broccoli
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Optional: Add vegetable remnants from your week’s food preps. I love to save them from my prep time and save the stems and extra leaves for my bone broth or alkaline broth.
- Place all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Add water to cover by 1 inch.
- Cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. (Or place in pressure cooker or InstantPot and cook for 60 minutes on high.)
PS - You can substitute this for Bone Broth anytime or add bones to this to make it an extra alkalinizing bone broth. Or if you're looking for another keto-alkaline friendly snack, try out my Keto-Alkaline Protein Shake.