Hyaluronic acid has become a buzzword in the health and beauty industry, but what actually is it — and what makes it so magical?
Hyaluronic acid has plenty of benefits, but it is primarily known for its hydrating and plumping effects. Skim through the ingredients of beauty products from your local cosmetic clinic, and you’ll find it somewhere in the list.
Beyond applying it to the skin, did you know natural hyaluronic acid can be found in multiple food items as well — and consuming it can help you stay healthy and age well? If you’re on the hunt for hyaluronic acid foods, keep reading! Below is your comprehensive guide on this magical material, including the foods that are rich in it.
So, let’s get started!
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic (hi-ah-lew-ron-ic) acid is a thick, slippery substance naturally produced by your body. It is most commonly found in the fluids of the eyes and knees, acting as a cushion and lubricant. It may also be found in other tissues of the body. Hyaluronic is truly water-loving; it can attract 1000 times its own weight in water!
Cells use natural hyaluronic acid to function properly. This is because of its moisture-retaining properties, making it an essential agent for young and youthful skin.
However, the acid may reduce over time in the body. As you age, your body produces lesser amounts of the miracle substance and may break down existing acid. This contributes to visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and joint pain. Another factor leading to low hyaluronic acid levels is poor hydration.
In such a scenario, it is essential to supplement your diet with hyaluronic acid foods. A few sources provide the substance directly, while others encourage its production in your body. Keep reading to discover the top ones that serve the purpose!
Benefits Of Hyaluronic Acid
Before we get our hands on hyaluronic acid foods, let’s talk about the benefits of this magical substance — primarily obtained by adding it to our diet.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Almost half of your body’s content of hyaluronic acid is present in the skin. Here, it binds with water to help retain moisture. However, several factors (aging, exposure to UV rays, etc.) may hinder the production of the substance. Consuming hyaluronic acid may slow down this decline, providing the skin enough of the substance to maintain good condition.
The anti-aging properties of hyaluronic acid help reduce wrinkles and fine lines as you age. Hyaluronic acid foods supplement the deficiencies in the body, ensuring the skin has enough of the miracle substance to maintain its youth. Studies have shown that consuming 120 to 240 mg of hyaluronic acid for 30 days significantly moisturizes the skin and reduces dryness, too.
Relieves Joint Pain
Hyaluronic acid cushions the joints, lubricating the spaces between bones. This ensures swift movement, preventing the bones from grinding against each other (and hence, causing pain). As such, hyaluronic acid supplements are excellent for people with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Maintains Bone Strength
Animal studies have proved that hyaluronic acid can slow down bone loss (especially useful for patients suffering from osteoporosis and other similar diseases). Hyaluronic acid is not to be confused with glucosamine — another essential compound with similar benefits for the body. Both, taken together, ensure strength and resilience for the bones.
Soothes Acid Reflux
Hyaluronic acid is believed to speed up the recovery process of esophagus tissue damaged during acid reflux, science says.
Other Benefits Of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is important for cartilage. It is a significant component of synovial fluid present in the body, and helps improve shock absorption.
Foods That Support Hyaluronic Acid Production
Some sources claim that hyaluronic acid is present in plants, and may directly be obtained by consuming them. However, while plants may not provide the miracle substance itself, many contain nutrients that support its production in the body. The following are green foods you can consume to serve the purpose (and are great for vegetarians, too!):
Citrus fruits contain plenty of vitamin C. In addition to acting as an antioxidant, one of the functions of this vitamin is to protect existing hyaluronic acid in the body and enhance its further production. Eating an orange or squeezing some lemon into a lemonade can help meet most of your vitamin C requirements.
If you’re not a fan of citrus fruits, here are other options that are rich sources of vitamin C:
- Brussels sprouts
- Strawberries (and all other berries)
Leafy greens are a strong source of magnesium, which is an essential catalyst that aids natural hyaluronic acid production. Kale, spinach, mustard greens, swiss chard, arugula — there is a vast variety of dark leafy greens, and even more ways to incorporate them into your diet! If you’re not a fan of eating salad regularly, here are other fun ways to consume these leaf vegetables:
- Whip them up into a smoothie.
- Saute them in olive oil with other veggies you love, such as bell peppers (tip: add salt and pepper for extra flavor).
- Use them as wraps of tortillas.
- Stir them into your soups (right before they’re done cooking).
- Grind them and add them to yogurt to make delicious herbal sauces and dips.
Soy contains isoflavones (sometimes called the plant sources of the hormone estrogen). These boost hyaluronic acid production in the body, thus raising the levels of this miracle substance in your body. You can also avail these benefits from fermented soy products, such as soy sauce, roasted soy nuts, miso, and whole soybeans.
Root vegetables are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps maintain hyaluronic acid levels in the body. It has been observed that people who consume starchy root vegetables have fresh and elastic skin — and because the veggies themselves don’t contain the acid, their constituent nutrients aid the production process in your body.
Some root vegetables to consume include:
- Sweet potatoes
Beans and Other Legumes
Beans and other legumes are rich sources of magnesium and zinc. We’ve already seen the importance of magnesium in hyaluronic acid production. Zinc plays an equally important role, as low levels of the mineral are directly related to lower levels of hyaluronic acid. In addition to beans, you can find magnesium and zinc in lentils and peas.
Other Foods Promoting Natural Hyaluronic Acid Production
Foods that are rich in naringenin preserve levels of hyaluronic acid in your body. Naringenin is a bioactive compound that works by hindering the function of the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in the body.
Sources of naringenin to incorporate into your diet include:
- Tart cherries
- Greek oregano
What Foods Contain Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is also present within some foods. These are mainly animal-based options — the bodies of which manufacture this substance and store it within themselves. Let’s look at the top foods that contain hyaluronic acid — and can transfer it directly into your body!
Bone broth is rich in hyaluronic acid as well as other health-promoting compounds, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen. Taken together, these provide multiple health benefits, especially for the bones and skin.
Bone broth is made by simmering the bones (and the accompanying connective tissues) of animals in liquid for extended periods of time (at least 12 hours on the stovetop). Usually, bones high in collagen are used for the purpose. The end result is a tasty broth that is full of flavor — and nutrients!
Hyaluronic acid is distributed among all cells in the body of animals and is also found in connective tissue, making organ meats a rich source of the substance.Veal, venison, and goat are other good sources of hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic Acid Supplements
These contain artificial forms of natural hyaluronic acid, and help replenish (and slightly increase) your body’s store of the substance. The supplements help the skin stretch and flex, and also reduce scarring.
What herbs are rich in hyaluronic acid?
Plenty of herbs are rich in vitamin C which boosts the production of hyaluronic acid. Examples include thyme, dill, parsley, and cilantro. You can consume these by whipping them up into your daily salad, using them as garnishing over meals, and incorporating them into sauces.
What are other sources of hyaluronic acid?
You’re in for a treat here. Red wine contains resveratrol, which increases the production of hyaluronic acid. Other sources of resveratrol include purple grape juice. Additionally, dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium and zinc, both of which are essential for the production of hyaluronic acid. Bananas provide plenty of magnesium, vitamin C, and naringenin, making them ideal for increasing the miracle substance in your body.
What are other ways to make use of hyaluronic acid?
Apart from consuming hyaluronic acid orally, there are other ways to leverage its benefits topically. These include:
- Dermal fillers — These are made from pharmaceutical-grade hyaluronic acid, and are used to “fill” wrinkles and gaps in the skin.
- Serums — Hyaluronic acid serums contain the miracle substance and offer a fantastic way to topically apply it on the face. It is usually recommended to use it on damp skin, and seal in the moisture with a moisturizer afterward.
- Eye drops — Hyaluronic acid is often found in eye drops, which are used to relieve dryness and irritation in the eyes.
Does hyaluronic acid work?
Hyaluronic acid is a versatile molecule that works wonders for the skin, joint health, and eye health. It can be used in many different ways, including orally and topically. You can avail its benefits using one of the ways given in the previous FAQ.
Is hyaluronic acid safe?
Yes, hyaluronic acid is safe, depending on how it is used. Hyaluronic acid foods and over-the-counter hyaluronic acid supplements are safe to use. However, prescription products containing the substance should only be used as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Is hyaluronic acid good for acne?
Hyaluronic acid is often used for repairing, concealing, and treating scars. However, there isn’t much evidence regarding its effectiveness against acne.
Thanks to its water-loving properties, natural hyaluronic acid is said to be an essential when it comes to skin health. And it’s not just useful to apply to the skin — it’s also a game-changer when consumed orally! Whether you consume hyaluronic acid foods or take supplements, you can easily replenish the levels of this miracle substance in your body — and look (and feel) more beautiful than ever! All of that, while availing its many other benefits for the body, such as acid reflux and joint pain.
If you’re up for giving your body a boost of hyaluronic acid, the food items given in this blog post are a great start. Incorporate them into your diet and witness the magic of this substance on your skin — and body!
- Grigorij Kogan,…, “Hyaluronic acid: a natural biopolymer with a broad range of biomedical and industrial applications” [Online]
- M Stancíková,…, “The effects of hyaluronan on bone resorption and bone mineral density in a rat model of estrogen deficiency-induced osteopenia” [Online]