I’ve always been a firm believer in cooking chicken with the skin on because it gives it more flavor and a crispy texture. Whether I’m roasting or satuéeing it, the skin stays on. Oftentimes, though, chicken skin gets a bad rap for being full of fat and calories. If you shy away from chicken skin, however, you could be missing out on some amazing anti-aging benefits. It turns out that not only does chicken skin make your dish tastier, it’s packed with an ingredient that increases collagen production. And collagen — which we produce less of as we age — is key for keeping your skin plump and youthful, counteracting wrinkles and sagging.
How does eating chicken skin help with collagen production?
When it comes to anti-aging foods, chicken skin might seem like an unlikely candidate. However, it’s full of an amino acid called glycine that’s been shown to significantly increase collagen production. By consuming 100 grams of chicken skin, you’ll get about 3.3 grams of glycine that’ll contribute to keeping your skin and muscles healthy and strong over time.
Even better, chicken skin also contains heart-healthy unsaturated fats, as Dr. Travis Stork highlighted on his daytime show, The Doctors. This basically gives you the green light to keep it on the meat as you’re cooking it, especially if it’s being roasted or pan-seared, which gets the skin super crispy.
At what age do we stop producing collagen?
Collagen is a key protein that occurs naturally in our bodies, and is responsible for maintaining skin’s elasticity as well as strengthening muscles and bones. We have plenty of it when we’re young, but over time, collagen production slows.
According to board-certified dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD, sometime in our late teens and early 20s, we begin to produce approximately one percent less collagen each year. And since our bodies are constantly balancing between making collagen and breaking it down, we begin to have less collagen in our systems overall. “When we are young, our bodies produce more collagen than we break down,” he explains to Mind Body Green. “That balance tips the wrong way with age, since tissue regeneration decreases.”
Essentially, as we get older our cells weaken, slowing down the rate at which they can repair bodily tissue. This can lead to muscle loss, in addition to the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The good news is, your diet can play a major role in ensuring that your body has enough collagen to lessen these age-related woes.
For those of us who love chicken, it’s great to know that leaving the skin on is good for us and has anti-aging benefits!