Collagen: It’s the second most abundant substance in the human body (water is first). It supports healthy skin, hair and nails. It keeps our joints strong. And, particularly in our golden years, it is essential for bone health.

However as we age, our collagen levels naturally decline. But there’s a way to replenish them—through cooking.

“You can take collagen in supplement form, but an easier way to incorporate more of it in your whole family’s diet is by adding a collagen powder to existing food,” says Tim Mount, director of education at NeoCell, a manufacturer of collagen products, such as Super Collagen powder.

Because it doesn’t get degraded in boiling water, collagen can be mixed in to soups and sauces, such as spaghetti sauce. Mount suggests adding it to dressings, smoothies, even coffee and tea. “It dissolves well, is totally flavorless and doesn’t get gelatinous, so people won’t even know it’s there,” says Mount. Simply add a scoop of powder per individual serving. Visit neocell.com/recipes for ideas.

Did You Know?

Collage packs a healthy dose of muscle-building protein — about 11 grams per serving.