The Real Secret to Getting Healthy
There is so much information about nutrition on the Internet today, it's easily accessible, and everyone can weigh in. There seems to be so many different theories and special diets floating around it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. With more research available than ever before, why are we still so confused?
The majority of the problem stems from the fact that most people don't understand the basics of food and the human body. We are told to eat this rather than that, but don't often know why. If we break this information down into smaller parts we will better be able to understand it, just like the body breaks our food down into smaller building blocks. One of those blocks is glutathione. Encouraging our body to create more of this antioxidant is a very simple way to foster good health. But before telling you what to do, let's break it down.
Glutathione: the Friendly Tripeptide
Glutathione or GSH is an antioxidant; an essential component in our cells. Found at the cellular level of all animals it's comprised of amino acids fixed together by peptide bonds. Antioxidants are necessary damage control agents within our cells that act as gatekeepers. Simply put, an antioxidant is a super soldier than latches on to free radicals, heavy metals and other things that harm and stress our cells. When our body is not able to produce enough of these antioxidants we quickly fall out of balance; the effects are felt as cancer, disease, and accelerated aging.
Glutathione is a particularly powerful antioxidant created within the human body. Dr. Mark Hyman refers to it as the "mother of all antioxidants." While glutathione is available in living foods, it does not survive the heating process. This includes not only the heat of cooking, but also the acidic process of digestion. The best way to receive the benefits of glutathione is by encouraging the body to produce more of its own.
Glutathione Foods: Should You Consume More Foods that Contain Glutathione?
Strawberries and Watermelon
contain high levels of Glutathione.
BUT, just like other glutathione
foods they are NOT effective
in raising glutathione levels.
Consuming foods with glutathione will not increase the amount of glutathione in your body directly by much. Although some studies indicate consuming glutathione might decrease the risk of mouth cancer (Dietary glutathione intake and the risk of mouth and pharyngeal cancer. Flagg EW et al. Am J Epid. 1994. 139(5), 453-465).
How Do I Get More Glutathione?
Many common vegetables and spices have been found to stimulate the production of glutathione. Foods with plentiful amounts of sulfur encourage the production of glutathione by nature of their stickiness. Because sulfur is sticky, harmful toxins and heavy metals will become attached to it and exit the body. This stickiness is also responsible for pairing cysteine molecules together to form cystine. Cysteine is a very unstable molecule but is one of the three building blocks in glutathione, the one that is hardest to acquire. Cysteine has very powerful regenerative effects on the body, and this is one of the reasons glutathione is so important.
Eat Your Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables are the ones that have that distinctive smell when you cook them such as, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. That hallmark smell is the reason those vegetables are so good for you; it's full of that nutritive sulfur. Highly aromatic bulbs like onions and garlic aid in glutathione production for the same reason. Do a Google search for "sulfur rich foods" to see what else you can pick up at your grocer.
Don't Forget Flavor
That homemade chai latte might be healthier than you thought. Cinnamon, turmeric and cardamom will boost your glutathione due to their sulfur content. Parsley and black cumin will as well.
Mix up a Smoothie with Bioactive Whey Protein
The best way to get glutathione from dairy is to opt for a bioactive whey protein that has not been denatured. This is a great way to boost glutathione particularly because it's an excellent source of cysteine.
Get Moving and Quench Your Thirst
Whether its dancing, jogging or yoga, that thing you do to keep your body in shape boosts glutathione production. So if you're not moving yet, here's one more reason to start. Of course working up a sweat removes water from your body and makes you thirsty. Staying hydrated is quintessential to the production of glutathione, so make sure to drink lots of water. Boost your hydration a bit and replace some of those lost electrolytes by adding unprocessed salt to your diet.
Don't Be Fooled by Supplements
There are glutathione supplements available on the market. Many consumers are led to believe that this will boost the amount of GSH in their body. However, as we've mentioned previously, the glutathione would be destroyed as the stomach digests it, so this is probably not the best use of your money. In lieu of that, vitamins and minerals such as b12, b6, folate, fish oil and selenium are good for overall health and aid in the body's production of glutathione.
Glutathione is proof of why it's important to be an educated consumer and understand the why behind what we do for health. We all know we should eat our vegetables, exercise, and drink pure water. It's easy to think of these golden rules as mere helpful anecdotes. Once the body's internal process has been explored it's much harder to ignore that these are not shoulds, but musts, on the path towards living a healthful life. Health becomes easier to achieve as we learn what is essential for our bodies; when we understand how we work from the inside out. Just as glutathione supports us one cell at a time.