There is a small village located in a hilly region just two hours from Tokyo, Japan that is called “The Village of Long Life.” Yuzuri Hara is the village, but it’s the starchy food that is a staple in the region that gives its population long life.
Most of the people living in the village are healthy into their 90s, still working, strong and flexible. So what’s their secret?
Apparently, it’s the root vegetables of satsumaimo, a type of sweet potato; satoimo, a sticky white potato; konyaku, a gelatinous root vegetable concoction; and imoji, a potato root. What these vegetables have in common is their secret: All contain nutrients that stimulate Hyaluronic Acid (HA) production in the body.
The increased levels of HA appear to slow down the aging process by boosting moisture levels in the cells, keeping joints lubricated, eye retinas moist and skin smooth and elastic.
Hyaluronic Acid is called the “waterloving” carb found naturally throughout the human body. It was first isolated by Karl Meyer in 1934, whose research found it to bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water. As it begins to bind to water, it becomes a gelatinous substance that serves as the body’s natural lubricant and cushioning between joints.
Skincare companies use it profusely in their products as it has been found to build cartilage and moisturize skin, tendons and ligaments, keeping connective tissue supple and preventing it from drawing toward the bones.
Those with hip and joint deterioration have probably had orthopedic injections of HA to help support joint mobility. HA is often used during eye surgery, and cosmetic injections under the skin have become increasingly popular for smoothing wrinkles.
HA begins to decrease in the body sometime around early adulthood. By middle age, joints lose their ability to maintain proper cushioning, and the collagen in skin loses its moisture, leaving wrinkles and sagging skin in its absence.
Imagine balls of Jello that resist compression between joints. Once the hyaluronic acid molecules break down and become a watery substance, they no longer can support the joints. You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “bone on bone.” That’s what you have without the help of HA.
Nutritionally, we can help to maintain adequate amounts of HA in the body by incorporating foods rich in magnesium, zinc, copper and silicon into our diet. Another way is to supplement with herbs such as grape seed extract, horse chestnut and resveratrol to counteract hyaluronidase, the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid.
Smooth, elastic skin is naturally loaded with HA, but as we age HA diminishes significantly and leaves our skin exposed to free radicals produced through exposure to pollutants, chemicals and sunlight.
Without HA, the skin loses its ability to hold water, leaving a dry, thin wrinkled appearance similar to raisins and prunes.
So what should the consumer look for when choosing an HA supplement?
• When reading labels, make sure HA is high on the ingredient list.
• When choosing a joint health supplement, a liquid, lozenge or gummy may offer the most benefit and they taste great and are easy to use.
• Consider an HA formula that contains antioxidants or hyaluronidase inhibitors.
• Use a quality HA lip balm to keep lips moisturized and plump.
• Look for an HA toothpaste to maintain good gum health.
• Choose an HA supplement that combines powerful antioxidants and lutein and zeaxanthin to support eye function.
• Take your HA supplement along with cranberries and vitamin C for urinary tract health.
The search for good health is endless. We’ve got to do our due diligence and read labels, but GreenAcres is here to help. Ask our knowledgeable market team members to suggest what has worked well for them and other customers. That will help you make a more educated decision about what works best for you.