spread of various healthy foods
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
March 13, 2024 ·  3 min read

12 Best Foods To Help Boost Collagen

Collagen is often considered the body’s “glue”. It’s a fundamental protein that makes up a significant portion of the body’s protein composition. It serves as a foundational building block for various bodily structures, including skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.1 Unfortunately, as we age, our body’s natural levels decline, compounded by factors like exposure to UV light. To combat this decline and ensure optimal collagen levels, it is important to incorporate certain foods into your diet. There are going to be options on this list that include parts of meat that aren’t “lean meats,” and despite this being against what new health trends may say, it is perfectly normal and healthy to consume these things. Here are 12 top foods to help:

1. Bone Broth

Bone Broth Bouillon in Metal Pan.
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Bone broth, made by simmering animal bones and connective tissues, is a rich source of collagen (you’re literally taking it from one body and consuming it for yourself) and offers essential amino acids and minerals. This slow-cooked concoction allows collagen to break down into gelatin, facilitating easier absorption by the body.

Read More: Harvard Gut Doctor Avoids These 4 Inflammatory Foods (and What She Eats Instead)

2. Fish and Shellfish 

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Fish, particularly its skin and scales are an excellent source of bioavailability. Opting for fish like salmon, which is rich in Type I collagen can promote the health and elasticity of skin, bones, and tendons.

3. Chicken

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Chicken cartilage is abundant in Type II collagen and is extremely beneficial for joint health. It can even alleviate arthritis symptoms. Incorporating chicken wings or skin-on cuts into your diet can enhance intake.

4. Beef

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Bovine hide and bones offer Type I and Type III collagen crucial for skin, bone, and connective tissue health. Cuts like short ribs, containing more tendon meat, are optimal for collagen consumption.

Read More: Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes and Balance Blood Sugar with These 10 Foods

5. Egg Whites 

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Egg whites are rich in proline, an amino acid vital for collagen synthesis. While egg yolks don’t contain collagen, they do provide nutrients that are great for production in the body.

6. Citrus Fruit

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High in vitamin C, these are fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes that facilitate collagen synthesis by promoting production.

7. Berries

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Berries are natural sources of vitamin C, and like citrus, are crucial for collagen formation and utilization. If you can add berries to your diet, they’ll also support the body’s natural production process. Plus they’re a bit easier to incorporate into more meals than citrus.

Read More: Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

8. Garlic

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Rich in sulfur, garlic contributes to collagen production and is able to prevent breakdown. Compounds in garlic like taurine and lipid acid help rebuild damaged collagen fibers.

9. Dairy

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While dairy technically doesn’t contain any collagen directly, dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt provide essential amino acids—proline and glycine—which are crucial for collagen synthesis. Also, the calcium and vitamin D in dairy very famously support overall bone health.

10. Cashews

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Cashews are high in copper and as such, aid in collagen development. These nuts play a crucial role in skin, hair, and nail health.2

Read More: 11 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Magnesium and 20 Foods to Fix It

11. Oysters

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 Oysters promote collagen creation and repair through their high zinc content, benefiting skin health and healing processes.

12. Tomatoes

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Like berries and citrus fruits, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, but also contain lycopene, which supports collagen synthesis and provides antioxidants for skin health.3

The Bottom Line

Collagen powder and pills spoons on pink background. Extra protein intake. Natural beauty and health supplement for skin, bones, joints and gut. Plant or fish based. Flatlay, top view. Copy space.
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Adding these foods to your diet can significantly contribute to maintaining youthful skin, joint health, and overall well-being. Whatever your diet looks like, prioritizing collagen-rich foods ensures your body gets the necessary building blocks for optimal collagen production and utilization.

Read More: 14 foods that will help you look 10 years younger


  1. 12 Foods High in Collagen, According to a Dietitian.” Health. Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD. September 27, 2023.
  2. 10 Collagen-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet.” Eating Well. Brierley Horton, M.S., RD. August 15, 2023
  3. 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen.” Healthline. Sarah Garone. February 9, 2023.