With the current pandemic still rearing its ugly head, immune health continues to be a topic I am asked about almost daily. It’s true—it is more important than ever to ensure adequate intake of certain nutrients like zinc and vitamins C and D, but there is another antioxidant you may be less familiar with that is arguably the most important for maintaining powerful immunity.
Also known as “The Mother of All Antioxidants,” glutathione (GSH) is critical for removing toxins from the body, preventing various diseases, and maintaining immune health. While our bodies are designed to manufacture GSH on their own, many of us are suffering from deficiencies due to the unprecedented toxin overload that we deal with daily.
So how can we optimize our precious glutathione levels? Keep reading below to learn the most effective ways to boost this powerhouse antioxidant.
1. Eat more sulfur-rich foods
When your sulfur levels are low, your GSH levels are sure to be low, too. Try to make cruciferous vegetables a staple for daily consumption in your home. Think cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, arugula, watercress, cauliflower, radish, collard greens, and turnip.
2. Exercise daily
Regular aerobic exercise boosts glutathione levels and strengthens your body’s additional detoxification processes. The secret to building this habit is starting slow and easy. You don’t have to be perfect on day one—you just have to show up!
3. Increase your intake of methylation nutrients
The methylation nutrients include vitamins B6, B9, B12, and folate. Not only are these nutrients essential for beneficial gene expression, but they are essential to synthesize adequate amounts of glutathione. Top methylation foods include chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, avocado, and beets.
4. Make sleep a priority
You have probably heard it before, but getting quality sleep is crucial for not only GSH production, but nearly all facets of your health, too. Keep your bedroom cool and dark, try and stay off screens an hour before bedtime, and add in temporary sleep aids when necessary. Check out this post for my favorites, with additional hacks for sleep, too!
5. Add selenium-heavy foods to your diet
Selenium is a powerful mineral that not only aids in thyroid health but is also required for GSH synthesis. Add the following selenium-rich foods to your grocery list (dietary restriction permitting!):
- brazil nuts (1 nut = 100% of the selenium you need for the day, so don’t eat too many in one sitting!)
- yellow-fin tuna
- sunflower seeds
- baked beans
6. Eat cysteine-rich foods
Cysteine is an amino acid that is critical for the synthesis of GSH. Eating foods like lentils, oatmeal, and sunflower seeds can help to boost GSH levels.
7. Add a few supplements to your regimen
N-acetylcysteine (NAC)(take a minimum of 1000 mg per day), alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle are all supplements I recommend when working to boost GSH levels. NAC is a precursor to GSH and is proven effective at both preventing and treating various illnesses. Alpha-lipoic acid, like glutathione, is found within our cells and is a potent disease-fighting molecule that also helps restore depleted GSH levels. Milk thistle has been used for hundreds of years to aid the liver in detoxification and boost immunity through its ability to increase glutathione levels in the body. However, the best supplement for boosting GSH levels is GSH itself! My favorite glutathione supplement is Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Glutathione.
As always, speak with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your regimen.
Glutathione is present within every single cell in our bodies. Research increasingly shows its importance in so many aspects of our health, including the prevention of cancer, dementia, and heart disease. Try these seven tips to boost your GSH levels and take charge of your health today.
Have further questions, or looking for more ways to optimize your overall well-being? Book a one-on-one with me!