Nobody likes wrinkles, right? That’s why we all shell out so much money for wrinkle-fighting skin creams and serums.
But here’s the deal. It’s true that putting these formulas on your skin can work wonders, at least temporarily. However, feeding your skin moisturizers from the outside is only part of the solution.
What’s the other part? Feed your skin wrinkle-fighting nutrients from the inside. And one of the most powerful wrinkle-blasters is hyaluronic acid.
Today, I’ll tell you why your skin craves hyaluronic acid—and why your eyes and your joints love it, too. In addition, I’ll share ways to increase your body’s levels of hyaluronic acid so you can moisturize from the inside out and get the beautiful, youthful skin you deserve.
What is hyaluronic acid, and what does it do for you?
Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like substance in your extracellular matrix (that’s the fluid between your cells). Like a sponge, hyaluronic acid soaks up water; in fact, it can bind 1,000 times its weight in water. That’s why it “plumps up” your skin, making it smooth and dewy.
Normally, our bodies are constantly making new hyaluronic acid and breaking down older molecules of it using an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which I’ll talk about more later. Unfortunately, as we age, we make less hyaluronic acid—but our bodies keep breaking it down at a rapid rate. The less of it we have, the drier and wrinklier our skin becomes.
And guess what: Your skin isn’t the only part of your body that needs hyaluronic acid to stay young and healthy. Here are some of the other roles this crucial nutrient plays:
- It helps to keep your eyes healthy. There’s a jellylike tissue in your eye called the vitreous humor, which is rich in hyaluronic acid. When there isn’t enough hyaluronic acid in this tissue, your eyes get dry. (That’s why many eye drops contain hyaluronic acid.)
- It acts as a cushion in your joints and also helps layers of tissue glide easily over each other. In fact, researchers have dubbed it “the body’s WD-40.” That’s why getting extra hyaluronic acid in your diet can help to ease the aches and pains that come with aging.
- It promotes skin healing, which is why it’s often used to treat burns and surgical wounds.
Clearly, if you want to look and feel your best, you need to optimize your body’s levels of hyaluronic acid. And you can’t do that simply by rubbing on a face cream—which will merely plump your skin temporarily, won’t help your joints at all, and may actually do more harm than good. To truly optimize your hyaluronic acid levels, you need to do it the natural way: by eating the right foods.
The #1 food that boosts hyaluronic acid
In general, it’s hard to get hyaluronic acid from foods. But there’s one big exception: my favorite food, bone broth! That’s because it’s made from bones and cartilage that are rich in this nutrient.
Want more good news? Bone broth is also packed with collagen, which works hand-in-hand with hyaluronic acid to make your skin beautiful. And hyaluronic acid and collagen also work together to heal joints, so you’ll get a double dose of powerful nutritional medicine in each mug of broth.
(New to bone broth? Here’s how to make it.)
If you can’t get a daily dose of bone broth for some reason, you can take hyaluronic acid in supplement form. Research shows that oral hyaluronic acid supplements can effectively reduce wrinkles in just weeks.
Additional foods that boost hyaluronic acid
Also, eat foods rich in magnesium, which helps the body produce hyaluronic acid. Good sources of magnesium include leafy greens, avocados, broccoli, bananas, nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes.
In addition, eat foods that help to prevent the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Citrus fruits and tomatoes are rich in naringenin, which inhibits the activity of hyaluronidase—that hyaluronic acid-destroying enzyme I talked about earlier.
And don’t forget water. Hyaluronic acid soaks up water like a sponge, but only if there’s water available to begin with! So drink plenty of water every day, and eat water-rich foods like cucumbers and berries.
Oh, and one more tip: Avoid excess sun exposure, because sunlight decreases levels of hyaluronic acid in your skin.
A recipe to get you started!
As I’ve said, the #1 dietary source of hyaluronic acid is bone broth—and that means you’ll want to get a bone broth fix every single day.
However, on a hot day you may not want a steamy mug of broth. So instead, try this cool, hydrating, perfect-for-summer recipe. It’s rich in bone broth to boost your hyaluronic acid, it’s loaded with naringenin-packed tomato juice, and it makes about seven servings—so you’ll be good to go for a whole week.
Prep Time: 10 min | Yield: 6-8 serving
3 cups tomato juice
1 pint purchased fresh mild salsa
2 red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 cups chicken bone broth
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
Working in batches, blend all ingredients except hot sauce in processor to a coarse puree. Transfer gazpacho to a large bowl. Season to taste with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Optional: Top with sliced avocado, cucumber, red onion, fresh cilantro or grilled shrimp.
P.S. And for other fabulous bone broth recipes, check out my favorites here.