what's vitamin c good forWhen winter looms around the corner, it’s time to zero in on some of those important nutrients for immunity and wellness. Vitamin C high foods quickly comes to mind at times like these— associated highly with fighting colds, coughs, and flus by helping give our immune systems a little boost. But many people don’t realize there’s a whole lot more to vitamin C than just those wintertime woes! For example: did you know vitamin C high foods and collagen are connected?

For its own reasons, vitamin C is good for you; the benefits of taking collagen have their own value for health too, and for many things. But there is a huge connection between these two nutrients that people should know, and not many might know at all why collagen is good for you also! To learn all you need to know about how an “immune vitamin” and a “beauty protein” are connected, read on and look no further.

What is vitamin C?

First of all: what is vitamin C? Vitamin C good for the skin, immunity, tissues, wound healing, and so many other things— the list doesn’t end here. You may see it labeled as ascorbic acid in supplements or as an added ingredient in certain foods, but the best way to get it into your diet is to eat all-natural vitamin C that naturally occurs in certain foods (or in supplements that contain whole food ingredients high in vitamin C).

Above many other things, Vitamin C is good for you because it is an antioxidant— did you know that? But beyond being a simple antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and protects against inflammation, vitamin C is also good for health in the following ways:

  • Helps form blood vessels
  • Helps build muscle
  • Helps protect cells
  • Support health of bones and cartilage
  • …and more

What is collagen?

benefits of taking collagenCollagen, on the other hand, is not a vitamin but a protein. Still, proteins are equally as important for our health as vitamins are…in fact, maybe even a little bit more important in some ways, depending on how you look at them.

Proteins function as both a daily important fuel for our bodies as well as a building block for vital structural tissues within us— including muscle, bone, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues. Among a few other proteins, collagen is one of the most essential, and for many surprising reasons it’s critical that we get enough. That’s because collagen is good for:

  • Protecting and growing healthy connective tissue
  • Fortifying muscle and bone
  • Amplifying skin health and elasticity
  • Reducing the cosmetic effects of aging
  • …and more

What’s vitamin C good for?

Besides getting your daily dose and requirements, are there times where vitamin C is good for you in ways that are better than others? Sure, overall vitamin C is good for heart health, immunity, and more if you get enough daily. But there could be benefit to taking a little extra dose on certain days more than others, but it depends on the reason.

Does vitamin C help with a cold? This is one good example and common use of some extra vitamin C— and many people turn to this nutrient for a little extra help when they’re sick! This is mostly because of the immune benefit. When you catch the common cold or flu, it ultimately comes down to your body’s immune system to battle it. By taking some extra supplemental vitamin C, you ensure that your immune system is in tip-top shape to reach recovery and cope with symptoms.

Does vitamin C help with acne? Another helpful situation for extra vitamin C is skin problems, and especially acne. Extra internal vitamin C can also definitely help to keep up on, which supports inflammation-fighting and swelling with acne issues. But of all these, topical vitamin C can be the most exceptional when put directly on acne sores, too. In fact, many skincare products specified for acne issues happen to contain vitamin C for this very reason— check the labels next time!

Benefits of taking collagen

why is collagen good for you

Credit: Adrian White

On the other hand, what are the benefits of collagen besides the basics? When is it good to get a little extra? As we stated earlier in this article, not many people are too aware of the more specialized reasons why collagen is good for you. This body-strengthening protein does what all other proteins do— but it also has a very strong association with healthy aging, beauty, and glowing skin.

Collagen can be found and consumed in quite a few foods. But, taking some extra internally— or using it topically in skin products— can be a huge boost to your skin health, and an integral part of an anti-aging skincare routine. In fact, along with vitamin C, collagen is a top go-to nutrient for pampering skin against the effects of weather, time, and other defects.

Collagen is good for:

  • Strengthening hair
  • Thickening hair growth
  • Speeding up hair growth
  • Improving hair luster and shine
  • Reducing skin fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improving nail strength and luster
  • Building muscle
  • …and more

Of note, for new mothers, taking plenty of collagen while breastfeeding can also help your body recover more quickly— supporting it to bounce back from the huge demands of lactating and feeding an infant that can take a huge toll on the body’s skin, pallor, muscles, and bone.+

Why vitamin C and collagen go hand in hand

vitamin c high foods

Credit: Adrian White

By now you’re probably well acquainted with what both vitamin C and collagen can do, if you’ve gotten this far. So, what’s the connection between these seemingly unconnected nutrients? Here’s the scoop: getting plenty of vitamin C is a surefire way to boost your body’s own collagen production! Besides collagen supplements (or in addition to them), good sources of vitamin C— and especially whole food source vitamin C, rather than ascorbic acid supplements— stimulate collagen production better than any other nutrient. You could even say collagen production couldn’t happen without enough vitamin C!

That’s why foods with high vitamin C could be called “ healthy hair foods.” And, besides protein-rich foods (including collagen-rich foods), vitamin C could easily be considered an essential and healthy food to build muscle alongside protein— because you wouldn’t be able to produce enough collagen without this precious antioxidant vitamin. (And yes, that even applies to the vitamin C in fruits; fruits are indeed muscle building!)

To help build up the body, fuel your strength, build muscle, and pamper skin against the effects of aging, here are the best foods for sourcing vitamin C or collagen in the diet. Some are great sources of both!

Vitamin C high foods and herbs:

  • Acerola Cherry
  • Amla (Indian gooseberry)
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cherry
  • Citrus (lemon, orange, etc.)
  • Elderberry
  • Guava
  • Hibiscus
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Raspberries
  • Rosehips
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • …and more

Foods high in collagen:

  • Avocados
  • Bone broth
  • Citrus (lemon, orange, etc.)
  • Blueberries
  • Garlic
  • Horsetail (herb)
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms
  • Tea (White, green, black, etc.)
  • …and more

As the season for colds and flu comes closer, and you begin stocking up on more vitamin C-rich foods or supplements, keep in mind: you’re also doing your skin, hair, nails, muscles, and bones an immense favor during the darker months, too. Collagen is also important, and the more vitamin C you get, the more your body will love it!

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