Anti Aging Secrets: The Sweet Potato Is The Fountain of Youth

Can Japanese sweet potatoes take the place of a plastic surgeon? Actor Olivia Munn thinks so.

Perhaps looking to deflect recent speculation that she’s had cosmetic work done, the “X-Men: Apocalypse” star took to Instagram Tuesday to reveal the secret behind her radical change of appearance.

“Japanese potatoes … help keep wrinkles away,” she wrote.

Munn has said she eats a baked one every day. The purple tuber, known as satsuma-imo, is similar to a regular sweet potato, high in antioxidants and healthier than a white potato. The satsuma-imo trumps the Idaho white with fewer carbs (24 grams vs. 37 grams) and calories (113 vs. 170). But a beauty secret?

While some anti-aging products cost upwards of $1,000, Olivia Munn‘s age-defying skin secret can be purchased at the supermarket for just a few dollars. The 34-year-old Newsroom actress keeps her skin line-free with a secret potato recipe that actually isn’t too difficult to prepare . You can “Enjoy watching those lines on your face disappear!” after roasting Satsumaimo Japanese sweet potatoes with olive oil and cinnamon.

You can order them from Japanese markets. They also come in pill form, which I tired but I really didn’t see much of a difference. Taking the actual food substance makes a huge difference.

Olivia Munn’s Anti-Aging Potato Recipe


1 medium sized Satsumaimo Japanese sweet potato

Extra virgin olive oil



1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Slice the sweet potato into 1-inch thick rounds and place on a baking sheet.

Drizzle each slice with extra virgin olive oil on both sides and sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of each slice is golden brown.

Sweet Potato Facial Mask

1/2 peeled, boiled sweet potato, cut into chunks

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp ginger powder

1 Tbsp milk, cream, half & half, rice milk, coconut milk, or almond milk (unsweetened)

Boil your sweet potato until it falls apart easily when you stick a fork in it (about 15-20 minutes). Strain out the water (reserve some sweet potato water, if you’d like, and rinse your face with it once a day for the next 3 days – bonus!). Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and let it run until the mask is very smooth. This mask has an exceptional texture – PERFECT for a food-on-your-face mask that doesn’t fall off, drip, or otherwise make a mess.

Slather the mask onto a freshly washed face. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse well, scrubbing lightly with a washcloth.

Finish by smoothing on a VERY light layer of olive oil over your face – just makes the entire experience heavenly!

Serves: 3 applications

Shelf life: None – refrigerate up to 3 days

Get Your Hyaluronic Acid
I’m really big on hyaluronic acid, it’s so important. It’s something that we develop in our body and as we get older it starts to diminish like with collagen. But unlike collagen, its only purpose is to carry water to the parts of your body that need it. I started eating these special potatoes that are high in hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid, with its remarkable ability to keep tissue moist, is particularly effective in treating wrinkles and dry skin. It maintains skin elasticity and even speeds up the healing process for wounds and scars. Hyaluronic acid is also believed to promote healthy eyes and heart valve function.  The body’s hyaluronic acid levels decrease with age. In theory, sustaining optimal hyaluronic acid levels could retard the aging process, prolong a youthful appearance, and sustain life.

Connective tissues of humans and animals contain Hyaluronic acid. It plays a key role in cushioning and lubricating the body and is abundant in the eyes, joints and heart valves. A powerful antioxidant, hyaluronic acid is perhaps best known for its ability to bond water to tissue.  Since the beginning of time, people have been searching for an effective way to reverse the aging process. Hyaluronic acid is seen by many to be the Fountain of Youth, and there are plenty of natural sources available to make it part of a healthy diet.

Think of it this way:

Your body needs a variety of ingredients in the right proportions to function, just like you need a variety of ingredients to make a cake. If you are making a cake and you are short on eggs, it’s okay to add more eggs, up to a certain amount. If you are not short on eggs, then just adding more eggs is going to ruin your cake. If you are short on flour but not eggs, but you keep adding more eggs but no extra flour, you are really going to end up with a mess.
It’s the same basic principle with your body, only on a larger and much more complex scale. Some people might have defective collagen because they are short on vitamin C. For those people, getting extra vitamin C in their diets would probably be good. But taking massive doses of vitamin C, especially if a person isn’t deficient in vitamin C to begin with, probably isn’t a good thing.

What is Hyaluronic Acid?

Hyaluronic acid (also called Hyaluronan) is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate.  Hyaluronan occurs throughout the body in abundant amounts in many of the places people with hereditary connective tissue disorders have problems such as joints, heart valves and eyes. Hyaluronic acid fastens onto our collagen and elastin and creates cartilage. It’s found in every tissue of our body, and is responsible for carrying out a number of vital functions.

Hyaluronic acid has become especially popular in both the medical and cosmetic fields. Medical professionals are employing HA to alleviate conditions like arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, dry eyes and pain associated with joint damage. It has also been effective in increasing mobility, alertness, sleep quality, muscle strength, sexual potency, wound healing and bone density. A majority of medical treatments that employ HA are obtained from rooster combs. Rooster combs are considered to contain the most potent variety of HA and are administered via injections. Hyaluronic acid abnormalities are a common thread in connective tissue disorders.  Interestingly, they are also common biochemical anomalies in most of the individual features of connective tissue disorders such as mitral valve prolapse, TMJ, osteoarthritis, and keratoconus.

What foods contain hyaluronic acid?

Soybeans contain high amounts of phytoestrogens–plant sources of estrogen that act like estrogen in your body. Estrogen helps your body produce more hyaluronic acid. Consume soybean foods such as tofu, tempeh, soy cheese and soy milk.
Scientists at the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research in Japan revealed soy milk extracts fermented with bifidobacterium (a “friendly bacteria”) significantly enhanced the production of HA when applied topically on the skin for two weeks. This did not work with unfermented soy milk extracts.

Animal Parts
According to Harvey Blatt’s 2008 book “America’s food: what you don’t know about what you eat”: “The red combs of roosters and hens are one of the world’s richest sources for the sugar molecule hyaluronan, a compound some doctors are calling the next big thing after Botox for removing wrinkles.” Aside from red combs, animal parts such as joints and tendons are rich in hyaluronic acid, as are human joints and tendons. Make a broth or stew of animal joints, bones, tendons and skin. Chicken soup made with chicken legs and feet is an ideal HA source.

Red Wine
Resveratrol, found in the skins of grapes and red wine, helps stimulate hyaluronic acid in your body.
In 1997, researchers at Northwestern University Medical School learned that resveratrol in red wine, highly concentrated in grape skin, is a phytoestrogen. Drink red wine or red grape juice to increase estrogen, which produces more hyaluronic acid in your body.

Starchy Root Vegetables
In November 2000, a ABC News Prime Time Live program revealed something interesting about the people of Yuzuri Hara, Japan, called the “village of long life.” They all have smooth, wrinkle-free skin, good eyesight, health and energy. And, as I said earlier, live well into their 80s and 90s. The people of Yuzuri Hara grow and eat starchy root vegetables, which stimulate the body to produce hyaluronic acid, including a small sweet-potato-like vegetable called “tamaji.”

Arctium Lappa Fruit
Studies at Research & Development, Beiersdorf AG in Hamburg, Germany, revealed success using Arctium lappa (A. lappa) fruit extract to reduce signs of aging. A. lappa, which contains hyaluronic acid, was part of a formula and applied topically. After 4 weeks, the crow’s feet wrinkles were “significantly reduced.” Scientists concluded A. lappa effectively regenerates the skin structures to reduce wrinkles.

Magnesium is needed in the body to synthesize hyaluronic acid, so consuming foods rich in magnesium, like avocados, broccoli, peanuts, potatoes, soy and spinach can keep hyaluronic acid levels from dropping too low.

Estrogen and hyaluronic acid have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship. When the level of one rises, so does the level of the other. Soy products, like tofu and soy beans, have been shown to increase estrogen levels, making them an indirect source for hyaluronic acid.

Zinc deficiencies seem to coincide with low hyaluronic acid. Consuming brown rice, peanuts, potatoes, pumpkin seeds and other zinc-rich foods could alleviate the problem.

Does it come in supplement form?

Essentially, hyaluronic acid is a dietary supplement said to reduce the accumulation of fluid and decrease inflammation in the joints and connective tissues of the body.  Typically, it is found in tablet form and taken in a 40 or 50 milligram dosage twice a day, but can be given hypodermically to the affect area. The tablets are not a prescription medication, so bottles of hyaluronic acid can pretty much be found anywhere that sells vitamins and supplements, this would include pharmacies, big box stores and supplement dealers like GNC and Vitamin World.


Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have discovered abnormally high levels of hyaluronic acid could contribute to tumor progression in breast cancer. The University of Minnesota’s Department of Surgery has found similar results regarding colon cancer.

While a number of studies have linked abnormal levels of HA to either connective tissue disorders (CTDs) or conditions common in CTDs, such as premature aging, there are also a number of studies on Pubmed noting associations of high levels of HA to some forms of cancer. With HA as with other substances in the human body, such as estrogen and cholesterol, there are most likely optimal levels, and disease often occurs when these levels become out of range in either direction. Low estrogen levels have been linked to bone loss, while high estrogen levels have been associated with breast cancer. High cholesterol levels have been linked to heart attacks and stroke, while low levels have been linked to bleeding problems and depression. HA has been studied less than either cholesterol or estrogen, but the prudent path would be to assume that the body has optimal levels of HA, as it does for cholesterol, estrogen and many other substances.
As such, it is always prudent to consult your doctor before you decide to take HA or any other type of supplement to make sure it is an appropriate treatment for your particular health condition.