Collagen and Fall Foods

Pumpkin dessert + Increasing protein + Fall Foods:

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. Beginning at about age 40, collagen levels start to decline. Sun damage, smoking, exposure to pollution, weight fluctuations and a diet high in sugar can further diminish collagen productions. 

The good news is that collagen is a protein is found in many foods which we can easily eat more of everyday.  Plus, when you eat protein it has a balancing effect on your blood sugar which can lead to greater satisfaction and fewer cravings. The body knows it is being nourished and does not need to feel stressed.

Types 1 and 3 collagen are primarily responsible for maintaining the health of skin, nails and hair.  Type 2 collagen is found to be beneficial for the integrity and strength of your joints. The combined actions of collagen make it a highly nutrient-rich substance.  Collagen is found in animal products, primarily bones, cartilage and muscle tissue.   Don’t forget that there are many other substances that help the body produce and utilize collagen to maximize it’s efficiency.   These include antioxidants like Vitamin C, zinc and chlorophyll (think dark leafy greens).

These days, my family and I are cooking up all kinds of pumpkin dishes and treats.  In the fall, pumpkin is abundant, nutritious and can take on many flavors as it has a mild taste.  Pumpkin is loaded with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).  These nutrients enhance cell turnover which can promote healthy skin (brightening and smoothing).  Pumpkin is also rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A and C which protect the skin and can aid in collagen production.   Try this Dr. Clara beauty food recipe this week:

Pumpkin Panna Cotta 

(Dr. Clara beauty food)


·       1 15-ounce can pumpkin

·       2 cups almond milk, soy or cashew milk (unsweetened)

·       ½ cup half and half

·       ½ cup agave nectar

·       1 teaspoon cinnamon

·       ¼ teaspoon salt

·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·       1 envelope gelatin


  1. Combine pumpkin, milk, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan. Add agave nectar and bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally (15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over half and half, let sit to bloom for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add to heated mixture, stirring to dissolve. Stir in vanilla.  Take an immersion blender and blend the mixture in the saucepan or whisk rigorously.
  4. Pour mixture into dessert dishes.  Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Serve with a small dollop of whipped cream for an extra treat.

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