In recent years, both collagen and gelatin have become increasingly popular as the health benefits of these proteins have become more widely understood. Collagen, the most abundant protein in your body, can be found in bones, ligaments, tendons, skin and more, and consuming collagen regularly has been shown to have a multitude of benefits. The benefits of collagen include:
However, eating collagen and it's derivative, gelatin, is by no means new news. Collagen and gelatin—an irreversibly hydrolyzed, or broken, form of collagen—comes from the cartilage, skin and bones of animals. Throughout history, humans have made soups from animal bones and eaten all the parts of animals, including the tougher parts containing connective tissue and therefore, collagen. These practices aren't common in this day and age.
While bone broths can be a great source of collagen, there are other ways to increase our intake of this important protein without sipping on soup all day long. Today, both hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin can be purchased from reputable sources and used in a variety of ways. While both collagen and gelatin contain the same amino acids, hydrolyzed collagen can be dissolved in cold and hot liquids alike and does not cause liquid to gel, making it perfect for mixing into smoothies; coffee or tea; or your breakfast oatmeal or yogurt. Gelatin, on the other hand, dissolves in hot liquids and causes them to gel making it great for....Jello!
Homemade jello--spiced up with anthocyanins and vitamin C—is one of my favorite ways to increase my intake of the amino acids found in collagen (namely proline and glycine) along with important cofactors for collagen production. Fruits rich in the bioflavanoid anythocyanins—such as dark berries—have been shown to link collagen fibers, increase vitamin C levels, and protect against free radical damage. Furthermore, vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen formation by increasing the activity of the enzymes that form collagen. I love making this jello as a healthy desert or for a delicious breakfast with a dollop of sheep's milk or coconut milk yogurt. I welcome your ideas for incorporating collagen and gelatin into your everyday routine!
Not Your Grandmother's Jello:
1. Cut up your fresh fruit (if necessary) and place it in a pie dish or bowls.
2. Brew 16 ounces of herbal tea.
3. Take a small amount of the brewed herbal tea and use it to dissolve 2 tablespoons of gelatin.
4. Mix the dissolved gelatin mixture, the rest of the herbal tea and 16 ounces of dark berry juice.
5. Add maple syrup, to taste, if desired.
6. Pour the liquid into the containers of your choosing over the fresh fruit.
7. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
To purchase collagen or gelatin, visit our store.
Dr. Elizabeth Winter practices integrative and functional medicine in San Diego, CA and sees patients from a distance via Skype. For more information about her and her practice philosophy visit About Dr. Winter.