12 Foods That Increase Glutathione Levels Naturally
You might have seen glutathione supplements on store shelves claiming to improve your health and athletic performance. Should you participate in the trend, and is a pill your only option? Are there more natural ways to boost your levels?
Glutathione comes from nature. Living organisms synthesize it from other materials, and you can encourage this process using holistic methods. Let’s take a closer look at how you can increase your glutathione naturally through these 12 foods.
What Is Glutathione and What Does It Do?
Glutathione is an antioxidant, which means it scavenges damaging free radicals, whisking them out of your body before they can harm you. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that seek their missing mates inside your cells, causing cellular damage and death as a result.
Your body makes glutathione from glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. In addition to removing free radicals, it helps your body repair tissue, which explains its popularity among athletes.
3 Benefits of Glutathione
Any substance that removes free radicals from your body decreases disease and cancer risk. However, glutathione’s propensity for tissue healing makes it desirable for anyone who moves their body. While activity builds muscle fibers, it also produces free radicals and damages tissues — it’s the repair that makes you stronger. Here’s how strong glutathione levels assist that process.
- Improves endurance and performance: The right levels let you work at your best for longer.
- Reduced soreness and inflammation: Anyone who has limped after leg day knows how DOMS can hinder your other life activities.
- Improved recovery time: Exercise’s benefits follow the pain, and helping people push through the discomfort encourages them to move their bodies more often.
How Can I Increase My Glutathione Naturally?
Fortunately, there are several holistic methods to increase your glutathione levels naturally. Food is only one of them. Additionally, you should:
- Get enough sleep: Glutathione levels fall in those with insomnia.
- Exercise: Combining cardio with weight training increases glutathione levels better than either alone.
- Avoid alcohol: The lungs of those with alcohol-use disorder show depleted glutathione levels.
Which Food Has the Highest Glutathione? 12 Foods That Naturally Increase Glutathione Levels
It might not surprise you that deep, leafy greens are the foods with the highest levels of glutathione. After all, kale and spinach have long-standing reputations as superfoods.
However, foods rich in vitamin C and selenium also contribute. Vitamin C also removes free radicals — think of it as extra troops in your body’s defensive army. Selenium supplements have increased glutathione levels in select study populations, although most people get adequate intake of this nutrient through food.
Here are 12 foods to eat more of to increase your glutathione levels naturally.
1. Spinach and Other Greens
Spinach, kale and other deep, leafy greens are the foods with the highest glutathione. Even though your body absorbs dietary glutathione relatively poorly, consuming more salads and adding a few leaves to wraps, sandwiches and other dishes can help.
Although greens are your best sources, asparagus is the food highest in glutathione per serving size. It also contains rutin, another antioxidant associated with tissue healing.
Avocados are rich in glutathione and vitamin E. Additionally, the oil also contains this antioxidant and features a high smoke point that makes it desirable to chefs. It even elevates traditionally less healthy foods like potato chips.
Those who live in the great white north should nevertheless acquaint themselves with this classic Southern gumbo veggie. It’s a rich source of glutathione and filling fiber to nurture your intestinal microbiome.
Turmeric may increase glutathione levels through similar mechanisms as vitamin C. It contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that also decreases free radical levels and contains polyphenols that protect your body’s cells.
6. Wheat Germ
Naturally occurring wheat germ is one of the best sources of glutathione, but don’t be fooled by processed bleach flour with the word “wheat” on the label. In yet another reason to avoid this stuff, manufacturers strip away the bran and chaff that contains the precious antioxidant, leaving you with a non-nutritive glue that provides calories but not much else.
While many nuts and seeds increase your glutathione levels, perhaps because of their selenium content, almonds take first prize. They’re also a snap to add to salads or a satisfying snack by themselves.
Broccoli evolved from the same mustard plant as deep, leafy greens like kale. Although it’s vastly different from its ancestors, it maintains higher glutathione levels than many other foods.
Garlic contains sulfur compounds, a substance necessary for your body to make glutathione. While it’s primarily derived from animal sources, plants have it, too.
10. Leeks and onions
Like garlic, leeks and onions contain considerable sulfur levels. They also add a unique crunch and flavor to countless dishes.
11. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain high selenium levels to increase glutathione. Use them instead of croutons in salads or grind them into dips and butters.
12. Meat and eggs
Meat and eggs are also great glutathione sources. Those with the most methionine and cysteine — beef and chicken — are best.
Increase Glutathione Levels Naturally Through Food
Glutathione is an antioxidant that can help you recover from activity more quickly. It has become a popular supplement among athletes, but you can increase your levels through natural, holistic means.
Now that you know which foods have the highest glutathione, add more of them to your diet. You can also increase your glutathione naturally by using holistic methods.