Today, collagen seems to be on everybody’s lips.
People talk about it while collagen-based mineral waters and products enjoy growing popularity, since external collagen is often presented as crucial for our health. But we can actually get by well without any collagen supplements.
As one third of the protein in our bodies is collagen, “we don’t need extra collagen to keep ourselves going”, says Health and Nutrition Manager Soile Käkönen from HKScan.
–Our bodies are intelligent enough to use proteins for producing the collagen we need. And in general, we get enough protein in our diet.
Collagen is abundant protein in the body. It is an important constituent of our cell membranes, blood vessels, joints, bones and cartilages, and thus vital to our bodily functions and overall wellness as well as for our skin, hair and nails.
Meat – a versatile cornerstone of a healthy diet
Natural sources of collagen are meat and fish. Besides collagen, i.e. protein, meat includes important nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B. Read more about health benefits of meat.
–The best collagen comes from natural sources, such as meaty beef bones, pork rind and chicken skin. Or fish. A good collagen source, which few come to think of, is sausage with rind and all. A plant-based collagen does not exist – yet, sums up Käkönen.
Although nature tends to give nutrients in their best possible form, there is a lot of buzz around collagen-based foods and supplements. Especially in the States, the market for these products is on a tremendous rise.
In the EU, there is no scientific proof or officially accepted health claims of collagen’s efficiency so far. For example, collagen does not absorb through the skin. This is often just an image the cosmetic industry wants to convey.
–To penetrate the cell membranes, collagen has to be chopped into peptides. But one problem with many collagen preparates and protein bars is their taste. If collagen peptides are split into amino acids, the taste can be very unpleasant.
For that reason, Käkönen simply recommends a well-rounded diet and a healthy lifestyle as the best way to take care of our skin, joints and bones.
–Food should be an enjoyment and taste should not be excluded from a healthy diet, she says.
From nose to tail – no waste of the animal
As people are increasingly into the origins of food and the wellbeing of our environment, it is all the more important to pay attention where the meat comes from while also decreasing the wastage. In the meat industry, this means using all parts of the animal’s body, such as bones, skin, cartilage and connective tissues.
Following nose-to-tail ethics, no inedible animal parts are wasted at HKScan. These side products of meat processing can be utilized for example in bioenergy, pet foods, feed, fertilizers, or leather industry.
Some edible side streams of the animal body are also used for various food ingredients such as sauce bases, gelatine – and collagen, of course.
–We encourage our farmers to feed their animals with local food, fodder from their own estate. By buying our meat products, you can always be sure of which and what kind of source your collagen comes from; a Finnish animal whose wellbeing has been taken care of.
And should you wish to prepare your own collagen, Käkönen suggests an ancient, yet trendy elixir.
–A classic broth, or bone broth as many prefer to call it today, is a true superbeverage and the secret behind the taste of delicious soups and casseroles. Tasty, full of nature’s own collagen and rewarding to make. Ethical too, because the less prestigious parts of the animal’s body are used for a good, healthy purpose.