We’ve all heard of slathering our bellies with cocoa butter during pregnancy to prevent stretch marks. But instead of just treating the surface issue, why not prevent stretch marks from the inside out? By understanding how stretch marks form, it’s easy to see how you can help prevent them–with what you eat!
In her Beautiful Babies book, Kristen Michaelis has this to say about stretch marks:
“You can prevent stretch marks. Wanna know how? By increasing the elasticity of your skin! And that’s done through (you guessed it!) nutrition.
We’ve long known that your skin’s elasticity, firmness, and functioning are dependent on certain key nutrients. That’s why certain vitamin deficiencies cause skin damage, and why supplementing with the depleted nutrients restores skin health.”
from page 110 in Beautiful Babies
Collagen Formation: The Key to Preventing Stretch Marks
Retaining proper collagen formation is crucial for improving your skin’s elasticity. As Kristin says in Beautiful Babies:
“Collagen and skin elasticity go together like peas and carrots.”
How do you increase collagen formation? By eating more collagen! Which is also known as… gelatin.
Here’s what Kristen says about gelatin in Beautiful Babies:
“At least one study was done to measure the effects of supplementing with gelatin on skin elasticity, and found measurable improvement. Of course, the best-known food source of gelatin is homemade bone broth, especially those broths made from oxtail or chicken feet.”
Gelatin protein used to be a staple in our diets. While today we tend to focus on eating just muscle meats, traditionally the whole animal was cooked–including the bones and joints, which are rich in natural gelatin and minerals. Real homemade bone broth was used to make soups, stews, sauces and gravies. It was present at almost every meal!
Today our diets are sorely lacking in gelatin. Most of our protein comes from non-gelatin sources, and the foods we eat that traditionally contained gelatin (like soup or gravy) are now mainly made of flavorings and thickeners with no traditional bone broth in sight!
Here are two easy ways to add more gelatin into your diet to boost collagen production and help prevent stretch marks:
- Drink at least one cup of real bone broth every day. A cup with every meal is even better! Cook more with gelatinous broth by using it in savory sauces and gravies, or hearty stews and casseroles.
- Supplement your diet with high quality collagen protein powder from grass-fed cows. This is my personal favorite brand of collagen or gelatin — and believe me, I’ve tried quite a few.
Gelatin: The Amazing Anti-Stress Protein
Not only does gelatin provide natural collagen, the unique amino acids in gelatin (particularly glycine) are known for their amazing anti-stress and healing properties. Glycine and gelatin have the ability to:
- promote wound healing (great for after childbirth!)
- improve sleep
- fight free radical damage (also good for the skin)
- improve insulin sensitivity
- promote digestive health and reduce gut inflammation
- reduce joint pain
Did you know that simple changes in your diet can increase your fertility, lower your chance of experiencing morning sickness, and even minimize the chance your child will ever need braces? Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade discusses all of this and more in her new book Beautiful Babies. In the forward, Joel Salatin says,
“I find Kristen’s feisty spirit and mischievous humor both empowering and liberating. As a dad of two, husband of one, and grandfather of three, I covet these historically proven and normal principles for every family on earth. I wish this book had been around when my wife, Teresa, and I were starting our family.”