It was a gorgeous day along the Salt River. The Bumblebee Bicycle Club rode in tandem, enjoying the scenery. The cerulean sky was the backdrop for the sun radiating off the rippling water like diamonds. The trees lining the river were a striking green; the cotton tails hopped in and around them. The floral aroma of wildflowers blended with the sweet melodies of bird songs. Everything seemed to move slowly, causing the bicyclists to slow down to take in the peaceful sound of the picturesque river splashing against the rocks. Pedaling their bikes, they scouted a place to stop for a picnic. As the riders rounded a narrow curve, the natural beauty of the desert forest and crystal-clear water unfolded before them.

LJ held up his hand, signaling to stop. “I don’t think we’ll find a better place than this. How about we picnic here?”

Annie agreed. “It’s perfect for photos, too.”

“Speaking of photos, Annie. I want to take a picture of you to show my dermatologist. Your skin looks so radiant; I want mine to look like that. What’s your secret?” asked Nan.

“It’s really nothing special,” Annie responded. “Collagen plays a big role in skin elasticity, and there are foods full of it. One is green apples; I eat one almost every day. Plus, drinking plenty of water is important too.”

“I know there is more to it than eating an apple daily,” Nan said. “What else is involved in keeping your skin healthy?”

“The most important factor is mental and physical health. When you feel happy on the inside, it shows on the outside; the same goes for what you eat. Healthy food makes for healthy skin.”

“Okay, so it’s an inside job. Tell me more about collagen.”

“Sure,” smiled Annie. “Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, providing structure and resilience to our skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s one of life’s critical components. Not only does collagen play a vital role in physical health, but it also helps with our overall well-being. Collagen keeps skin healthy and elastic, aids digestion, and bolsters our joints and bones. It’s crucial for wound healing, immunity, and protecting us from inflammation and diseases. To put it simply, collagen is an indispensable part of life.

“I heard eating animal protein is a source of collagen,” Michael remarked.

“Yes, collagen is mainly found in connective tissues rather than muscles, meaning the muscle part of animal meat contains less collagen than other tissues.

To boost your body in producing collagen, add foods to your diet that are rich in it. Vitamin C is essential for this process, so include citrus fruits, oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers in your meal plan. Zinc and copper must be present for production as well. Protein-rich meals that include beans, legumes, nuts, kale, spinach, and other vitamin and mineral-packed foods can help create collagen.

Focus on eating whole foods and avoiding anything processed or high in sugar.

Exercise regularly because physical activity helps nourish your skin cells with essential nutrients like vitamins and oxygen, aiding their regeneration and multiplication. These vital substances support fibroblast cells, which create collagen in your skin.

Fish is a wonderful way to get your collagen fix. Salmon, sardines with bones, and tuna, for example, possess the proteins necessary for forming collagen, which helps keep skin, joints, and bones healthy.

Soybeans, soy milk, and other soy products are full of proline and glycine, two essential amino acids for creating collagen in the body. Adding to this list of benefits, soyfoods provide isoflavones; these plant-based compounds have antioxidant properties that aid collagen production.”

Collagen also facilitates digestion by keeping the gut tract intact, augmenting healthy bacteria levels, decreasing inflammation, and relieving digestive pain.”

“What’s the role of water in collagen production?” said Michael as he handed out bowls of Greek Salad topped with sardines.

“I’m glad you asked Michael because water hydrates our body and cells, enabling it to build and repair collagen. In addition, water helps supply essential minerals and nutrients to the body, which are necessary for collagen production. Without these nutrients, the body could not produce it efficiently.

Collagen, as a crucial structural protein, has many far-reaching benefits. It helps with the skin’s strength and elasticity, as well as its ability to keep water and other vital nutrients locked in. It can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines and heal wounds.

It builds up bones’ framework and helps manage bone remodeling and mineralization. Collagen also increases joint mobility by lubricating and cushioning the joints; it even helps repair the cartilage functioning as a shock absorber between the joints.

“Before we wrap up this convo, what’s your opinion about collagen supplements?” asked Nan.

“I think supplements are beneficial when backed by fact-checked and evidence-based science. Currently, research shows eating foods rich in collagen is preferred over taking collagen supplements since they offer a more robust amount of collagen. Supplements are not digested and absorbed as quickly and efficiently as collagen from food sources. Additionally, hydrolyzed collagen, found in most supplements, is a broken-down form of collagen and is not easily absorbed. Also, supplements do not contain the full range of beneficial nutrients like vitamins and minerals naturally present in foods with high amounts of collagen.

“Well, I asked, and you answered,” quipped Nan. “I’m going to help clean up while you finish your salad and Cardamom White Iced Tea.”

“Thanks, Nan. I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”

The Bumblebees snapped some memories, cleaned up, and then set off merrily on their journey, continuing down the winding river road together; it was another unforgettable experience.



Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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