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Ever since yoga exploded in popularity in the 20th century, we've heard countless things that the mind and body exercise can do for your overall health and wellness. Previously on 532Yoga, we wrote about the benefits of meditation and how it can do more than just calm you down— it can slow down the aging process and stimulate your brain as well.
While it's clear that yoga has done much to improve our health and lifestyles, the opposite question must be asked: are there things that we can change in our lifestyles that can help improve our yoga? Funnily enough, yes there are. Today, we'll be talking about the most abundant protein in our bodies, and what it can do to help us refine our yoga practice. That's right, today we're talking about collagen.
What Does Collagen Do?
Collagen has been a hot topic for a couple of years, and it's not hard to figure out why. It's been touted as the ultimate solution to maintaining supple skin and preventing aging, with collagen powders, topical creams, supplements, and even injections growing in popularity over the last few years. But beyond all the hype, what does collagen really do? Quite a lot, actually.
A post on Live Science suggests there are several different types of collagen in the body. There's collagen for your cartilage, in your bone marrow, in your basement membranes, and even in your hair and cells. Speaking medically, however, taking in collagen into our bodies can do a lot to boost our bodily functions and overall health.
Collagen has been found to reduce pain and improve joint health for those suffering from arthritis. When applied topically, it can also promote wound healing and prevent infection. And of course, most importantly for those who practice yoga, it can improve your flexibility.
Does Collagen Really Work?
The short answer is: yes and no. Collagen certainly isn't the fountain of youth or some kind of magic bullet to get the perfect skin and figure. However, WebMD claims that research on collagen shows promise, especially when it comes to bone, joint, and muscle health— all essential to practicing yoga.
In terms of muscle and cartilage, taking collagen supplements or increasing the amount of collagen in your diet can do a lot in improving muscle mass and body composition. It's especially significant for yoga, where the benefits of collagen are only strengthened by the activity. Practicing regular movements like in yoga can actually help strengthen collagen bonds and structure in your body, which feeds back again and improves your flexibility, healing, and overall yoga journey.
Where Can We Get Collagen?
The benefits of collagen are clear, but where can we get it? Collagen is a protein, so it stands to reason that you can find it in protein sources like soy products, black beans, kidney beans, other legumes, seeds, and nuts. You can also add to the amount of collagen in your diet by taking supplements.
Collagen can also be found in berries, citrus and tropical fruits, garlic, and red and yellow vegetables. On the supplement front, there are tons of vegan collagen supplement options like the PlantFusion Complete Plant Collagen Builder.
If you’re looking for more traditional sources, Brightcore’s Revive is a multi-collagen protein powder made from grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine, cage-free chickens, wild-caught fish, and egg shell membrane. Revive is tasteless and mixes in with food and drink easily, and also contains hyaluronic acid for more hydrated skin and hair. No matter what the source, the evidence is clear: if you’re looking to boost your yoga practice, adding collagen into your diet is the way to go.