These days, it seems like every single choice we make has some bearing on our health, and it can be hard to tell what choices will have major benefits, and which are less important. As a general rule, paying attention to diet and exercise is a great way to give your body the tools it needs to naturally regulate your health and keep your mind and body running smoothly. Nutritional supplements are very popular but don’t always provide the same benefits as naturally sourced substances, like antioxidants, which are incredibly important to your body’s health both in the short, and long term. Talking to a doctor about how you can incorporate antioxidant-friendly foods and activities into your lifestyle will help you take control of your health, and reduce the need for expensive medical care in the future!
What is an Antioxidant?
Cells in the human body can suffer something called oxidative stress, when ‘free radicals’ come into contact with these cells and damage them. Antioxidants bind to the free radicals and prevent them from damaging cells, reducing oxidative stress, and thus all of the negative side effects oxidative stress can have on the body. These side effects can include inflammation, allergy, and other even more dangerous issues. Sometimes, free radicals can completely enter a cell’s nucleus and damage the DNA, which can cause cancerous cell replication. Antioxidants are the body’s first line of defense against this kind of damage and are an incredibly important part of any diet.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is an antioxidant, often called the ‘master antioxidant’, which is proven to help reduce the effects of oxidative stress. Glutathione is a chemical that is actually made by the body, and isn’t readily bioavailable or found in nature. However, certain lifestyle and dietary choices can improve your body’s ability to synthesize glutathione by giving it the ingredients it needs to create it and reduce the habits that can damage glutathione levels. Research shows that meat, dairy, and eggs all improve your glutathione levels because they contain glycine, a hard to find the component of glutathione production. For those who avoid animal products, leafy greens, pumpkin, soybeans, and cauliflower also contain glycine. Many of the chemicals that make up glutathione can’t be ingested or injected as supplements because they are toxic when taken alone, and are destroyed by the digestive system before they can be converted to glutathione.
Health Benefits of Glutathione
The advantages of antioxidants, in general, are well documented, but in particular, glutathione has numerous health benefits. Glutathione can reduce exhaustion and keep energy levels up, and improve immune health to prevent vulnerability to colds and the flu. It also cleans the body of toxins like free radicals, and makes it easier for cells to repair themselves. When cellular repair rates are improved, it can lead to reduced fatigue, slower aging, and improved brain function and mood. Also, because glutathione is ‘the master antioxidant’, it affects many of the organs and can improve functioning in the liver, lungs, brain, heart, as well as several others. Glutathione can reduce cancer risk by limiting cellular damage, and promote recovery by increasing cellular repair rates. This increased cellular repair can help with everything from acne to HIV/AIDS.
How to Improve Your Glutathione Levels
Glutathione is created endogenously, or inside the body, but levels can be affected by numerous external factors. To keep your glutathione levels high, make sure you eat plenty of glycine-rich foods, like meat and leafy greens. Also, make sure you reduce behaviors that have been shown to damage glutathione levels, like smoking, heavy drinking, prolonged stress, and exposure to unsafe household plastics.
It might seem too good to be true, but glutathione has been shown to have numerous health benefits, both treating and preventing disease and discomfort. Because high levels of glutathione are associated with healthy eating, and reduced exposure to toxins from alcohol, tobacco, and plastics, it can be used as an indicator of good health, as well as a tool to help improve health even further! Taking steps each day towards improving your glutathione levels can help you feel and look younger and healthier in no time at all. Talk to a doctor to learn how you can improve your glutathione levels in ways that are right for you!