Winter Skin – Is Hyaluronic acid the answer?
Winter has its perks – warm cosy fires, dinner parties, snow and skiing if you are lucky (I’m much more of summer girl myself, give me a tropical island and cocktail over a ski-field any day). However, there are a few less pleasant side-effects that come with this season. Dry, itchy skin from heating, wind and low humidity can take its toll (esp. as you age – yikes that’s me!). While switching to a good moisturiser at the first sign of chill proves helpful, the drier climate and indoor heat may have already taken a toll. Fortunately, there’s still time to get serious about a daily routine to ensure a hydrated, glowing complexion.
In walks the hyaluronic acid (HA) diet. Hyaluronic acid is a compound produced naturally by your body and major part of tissue health (both skin & joints) – it helps to fill the space between the tissue and skin. Rather than what its name suggests (stripping the skin), it actually holds moisture because it naturally holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water! It’s found in moisturisers and serums thanks to its proven ability to moisturise and improve dry aging skin. Unfortunately, the body’s natural production decreases as you grow older, oh no!
Meet your new grocery list for smoother skin and a longer life:
Potatoes – These beautiful nuggets of happiness once got a bad wrap, but it turns out they are packed full of hyaluronic acid. Potatoes also come with bonus dose of vitamin c, potassium, fibre, magnesium, and antioxidants. Cold potatoes also act as a prebiotic for your gut when cooled, so don’t feel guilty!
Sweet Potatoes / Orange Kumera & Root Vegetables – Sweet potatoes actually don’t contain much HA, however, they contain vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and b vitamins that encourage our bodies to naturally produce HA.
Meats and fish – All animals have HA in their cells. Their skin is a particularly rich source of HA, so try your salmon or chicken skin on (organic please) – once in a while, if you don’t already do so. Salmon skin is also an excellent source of Omega 3s – Also great for skin hydration.
Organ meats – this category of meat is especially high in hyaluronic acid. Think liver, brain, tongue, tripe, kidney… not for everyone. An easy way to incorporate organ meats is whip up a pate, or chuck a chicken liver in your slow cooked stew or mince (again organic here please)
Bone Broth – A wonderous food / drink for skin & gut health. It’s basically made from simmering the bones of meat for 12-24 hours to release their collagen (in a more digestible form called gelatine), glutamine, glycine, proline, and minerals. One of my top picks
Fermented Soy – Again soy gets a bad wrap due to its phytoestrogen content, but it is these phytoestrogens that help our bodies produce HA. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances that mimic the estrogen that our bodies produce until menopause. Consume this one in moderation, and always choose non GMO organic soy that is fermented like Tempeh.
Avocado – Avocados are a true superfood for the skin, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthy fats, the good fat that may even encourage weight loss. There are also small amounts of magnesium in avocados which encourages our bodies to produce more hyaluronic acid.
Bananas – These smoothing building blocks are actually one of the only fruits known to be rich in HA, and they also come with a long list of other essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which also encourage your body to make more HA. A double dose of deliciousness.
Almonds – Not only are almonds high in protein, fibre, healthy fats, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E, but on top of all that, their hyaluronic acid content can make a visible difference in your skin. Same goes for cashews. Stock up on your nut butters.
Citrus fruits – Orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin—sweet, juicy, excellent sources fibre, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. Fight infection, satisfy sugar cravings and plump skin all at once.
Side note – magnesium: Magnesium is essential for hyaluronic acid synthesis; a lack of magnesium in the diet may be part of the cause of low hyaluronic acid levels. Foods rich in magnesium – almonds, cashews, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, chocolate, cacao, prunes, banana, raspberries, spunach, parsley, tahini, red meats and poultry.
In Yuzuri Hara, a village in Japan, ten percent of the population is 85 or older. Diseases of aging, such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, are virtually unknown. People rarely see a doctor and their skin rarely shows signs of aging. They live long, healthy active lives. According to ABC’s 20/20 report, they attributed this to a diet rich in hyaluronic acid.