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4 Easy Ways to Add Collagen to Your Diet to Improve Joint Health

4 Easy Ways to Add Collagen to Your Diet to Improve Joint Health

Supplementing shouldn’t be a chore. You already have enough (maybe too many) things on your mind; you don’t need another item added to your to-do list.

That said, taking care of your joints is critical for improving your health and quality of life, both in the short- and long-term. One thing you can do for better joint health is add a collagen supplement to your daily routine. Fortunately, this won’t require you to make any significant changes to your existing diet or spend extra time planning and preparing a supplement regimen. Just find a collagen product that’s consistent with your goals and dietary preferences, and add it to foods you’re already eating.

“I work collagen into my diet every single day. It’s easy and tasteless, so it can go into pretty much anything,” says Amy Mandelbaum, owner and head coach of Westport Training & Fitness and CrossFit Westport in Connecticut, where she predominantly works with men and women 40 and older (@amypistol on Instagram). “Because it dissolves easily and doesn’t change the texture of the food it’s added to, collagen can go into smoothies, pudding, coffee, cereal, you name it. I like having it in the morning, but you can add it at any time of day. It’s super portable, doesn’t go bad or need refrigeration.”

In other words, boosting your joint health with supplemental collagen is easy. Below are four delicious ways to fit collagen seamlessly into daily snacks, meals, or even your morning joe.

1) Coffee + Collagen

A caffeine and collagen boost is a great way to start your morning. “I personally blend collagen into my first cup of coffee of the day, along with a scoop of chocolate protein powder,” says the 53-year-old Mandelbaum. “It’s a quick way to start the day for me.”

Mandelbaum’s go-to coffee concoction is as follows:

1 cup/mug black coffee
2 scoops unflavored collagen powder (like Multi Collagen or Collagen Maximizer)
1 scoop protein powder

Mix all of the above ingredients in a blender to make it “frothy.”

Coffee Health Tip: For body- and brain-boosting healthy fats, add MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) to the above mix or use Nutra Collagen’s Collagen Coffee, which includes MCT Coconut Oil and comes in convenient individual packs.

 

2) Overnight Oats with Collagen Boost

Good old-fashioned oatmeal is a great source of heart-healthy fiber and a smart carbohydrate choice for breakfast or a snack to provide sustained energy during the day.

You can have your porridge either hot or cold. If you prefer the latter, consider overnight oats, where the oatmeal sits in liquid for several hours and softens up. Any number of other ingredients can be added to the oats, including fruit, nuts, protein powder, or your collagen supplement.

Here’s Mandelbaum’s favorite overnight oats recipe:

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (Gluten Free)
1 cup of vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (option; omit if you don’t like coconut)
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey

Stir ingredients in a mason jar, bowl, or plastic container, and refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to eat, stir in collagen powder, fresh fruit, and/or nuts.

Oatmeal Health Tip: Choose plain oatmeal instead of flavored varieties, which are loaded with added sugar.

 

3) Collagen-Infused Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt makes for a perfect high-protein, high-calcium snack. It also mixes well with other healthy foods like fruit and nuts, not to mention collagen powder. Pretty much any type of yogurt will work, but Greek yogurt and Icelandic skyr are higher in protein than regular yogurt and also have a thicker texture that many people enjoy.

“The one thing to remember is that collagen is best absorbed in the body when it’s ingested with some sort of food substance like protein, yogurt, or oatmeal,” says Mandelbaum. “So, you want to take your collagen with something that gets the digestive tract moving. Just plain water isn’t as effective.”

Here’s a delicious yogurt parfait, courtesy of Mandelbaum:
2/3 cup Siggi’s 4% Icelandic Skyr (Touch of Honey flavor)
1 scoop collagen powder (like Multi Collagen or Collagen Maximizer)
Oat-and-honey granola

Mix collagen powder into yogurt, then stir in granola and eat.

Yogurt Health Tip: Don’t be scared off by full-fat dairy products, like the Siggi’s 4% milkfat yogurt listed above. Whole milk contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than low-fat and skim milk. CLA is an omega-6 polyunsaturated essential fatty acid that’s been shown to boost heart health and even offer cancer-fighting benefits.

 

4) Fruit + Protein + Collagen Power Smoothie

Sometimes the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest option is to throw a bunch of wholesome ingredients into a blender for a quick shake or smoothie. The possibilities are endless here – fruit, yogurt, juice, milk, chia seeds, protein and collagen powder, and more, are all fair game.

Here’s a high-protein, collagen-packed smoothie recipe that’s great for breakfast, between meals, or as post-workout recovery shake:
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop protein powder
1 scoop collagen powder (like Multi Collagen or Collagen Maximizer)
1 banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter or peanut butter powder
Crushed ice

Mix ingredients in a blender, and enjoy!

Smoothie Health Tip: Feel free to use frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, mango, etc.) in your shakes instead of fresh fruit. Frozen fruit is comparable to fresh fruit in terms of micronutrient and phytonutrient content.

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