In the 2009 film "Julie & Julia," a blogger played by Amy Adams attempts to cook her way through Julia Child's iconic book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
When she encounters a recipe for aspic, she says, with a touch of sarcasm, "Aspic is sort of a beef-flavored Jell-O mold. Doesn't that sound delicious?"
But whether you like it or not, there's one aspect of aspic that neither Julia nor Julie seemed to realize: A protein in this dish — collagen — may do wonders for your skin.
Although aspic isn't on menus very often these days, people are gobbling up collagen, the main structural protein in skin, connective tissues, tendons, and cartilage, in supplement tablets, gummies, and powders. In fact, the collagen market is estimated to be worth $98 million this year.
The trend is fueled by small studies linking collagen supplementation to improved skin appearance, less-brittle nails, and reduced pain from osteoarthritis. And folks hope it will reverse age-related collagen loss that causes wrinkles, crepe-like skin, and weaker joints and muscles.
But instead of taking supplements, your best bet may be to try these dietary measures to increase your collagen intake:
• Eat foods containing the amino acids that are the building blocks of collagen: chicken (skinless), fish, egg whites, and nonfat dairy. Powdered collagen may not make it through your stomach acid, but food's building blocks of collagen will.
• Get collagen-building vitamin C from fruits, red and green peppers, and greens; and zinc and copper from nuts, whole grains, and beans.
If you do take supplements, use hydrolyzed collagen powder, and make sure it's sourced and manufactured reliably.
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