Our experts evaluate the efficacy of four such ‘beauty foods’.
In the quest for timeless beauty, many have turned to collagen-rich foods to maintain a younger appearance and brighter skin. The thinking behind this is because as we age, we lose collagen (the main structural protein in the skin which supports the skin’s foundation and promotes elasticity). Cue, wrinkles.
Four collagen-boosting foods have been touted as the answer to a glowing complexion. Bibi Chia, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre, and Chew Hong Gian, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician at Raffles Chinese Medicine, give their candid take on whether these work.
Many believe hashima boosts collagen production and help in achieving smooth, supple skin. (Photo: yhh5807531 / www.123rf.com)
How hashima supposedly boosts collagen production The Hasma or Hashima, is made from the uterine tubes of female frogs through a time-consuming process. The frogs are caught and dried and once dry enough, the fats surrounding their ovaries and oviducts are peeled and removed. Rich in hormones and lipids, the Chinese believe that eating this helps reduces internal heat, detoxifies, moisturises and stimulates skin cells to improve skin condition and provide beautifying effects.
Our expert says Hashima is known to be nourishing for both the lung and kidney systems, says Hong Gian. The Chinese believe that it promotes metabolism and moisturises the skin, which explains the product’s increasing popularity for cosmetic care.
2. Sheep Placenta
How sheep placenta supposedly boosts collagen production By increasing the level of collagen, protein and elastin, it seems. Many believe that the placenta and umbilical cord of mammals contain stem cells which have the ability to repair every type of cell in the body. It has been sought after by the wealthy and celebrities in hope to rejuvenate their skin tissue and restore a youthful lustre. Many cosmetic companies have joined the bandwagon and have been selling dried sheep placenta extract in the form of capsules.
Our expert says There are no studies proving that sheep placenta helps in restoring youthful complexion. The best way to maintain a healthy complexion is through a well-balanced diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals, advises Bibi.
3. Bird’s Nest
How bird’s nest supposedly boosts collagen production Bird’s nest is one of the most lavish yet popular tonics in TCM. It is a delicacy in the form of nests built by the salivary secretions of swiftlets. Many believe that it is rich in collagen and proteins, and eating this will be beneficial for the complexion. It repairs the skin and tissues, provides long-term elasticity of the skin and strengthens the immune and respiratory systems.
Our expert says Bird’s nest strengthens the lung, stomach and kidney, explains Hong Gian. In TCM, bird’s nest is widely used across a range of respiratory conditions. It is also recommended where digestion and assimilation of food intake are poor due to bodily weakness. It is also prized for its beauty effects and deeply nourishes the skin, making it smooth and supple.
4. Pig Trotters
How pig trotters supposedly boost collagen production A dish commonly found during post-pregnancy confinement, the pig’s trotters are known to be rich in collagen. Pig trotters in sweet vinegar is one of the most popular dishes in China, especially during the cold and dry winter when the skin is dehydrated. Besides having great nutrition and taste, this dish is popular among women who believe that the collagen-rich cartilages are able to nourish the complexion.
Our expert says Pig trotters may be rich in collagen, but eating too much of it puts you at a higher risk with increased fats, cholesterol and sodium intake, warns Bibi. Instead of consuming animal products that are high in saturated fats like trotters for collagen, consider having food sources that are high in Vitamin C as they help the body form collagen.
This article was written by Peh Xue Er and first appeared in Raffles Healthnews. It has been adapted for www.shape.com.sg.