Foods High in Glutathione

People are always looking for ways to maintain their health, decrease unwelcome symptoms of aging and boost their immune systems. While a variety of vitamins and minerals can help with some of these functions, there is one nutrient that can help with them all. That nutrient is glutathione, which can be found in a variety of foods. Here are some foods high in glutathione.

Glutathione is a combination of three amino acids known as glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Amino acids are the precursors of proteins. Usually there is a gene in the body that produces an enzyme that combines these amino acids into glutathione. However, this gene does not work correctly in some people. The reasons for this are manifold. For example, it may stop working due to a serious illness. Much of the time, it stops working due to the increased workload on the body’s immune system, such as from air and water pollution and toxins in processed foods. Toxins, such as mercury and lead, can also build up in the body through fish and other foods. Other ways that glutathione levels are decreased include medicines, increased stress and radiation. Even the normal aging process decreases this molecule.

Glutathione is an antioxidant. Without it, the body has great difficulty removing toxins from the blood and from cells in the organs and the skin. Antioxidants decrease the negative effect of free radicals on the cells within the body. Without antioxidants, every cell in the body will readily show the effects of age. Glutathione can also help detoxify the body because the sulfur molecules within glutathione attach to toxins, or poisons, in the body and carry them out as waste products.

A glutathione deficiency may make individuals feel run down. It can leave them with headaches and fatigue. As the body ages, it cannot replenish its supplies of glutathione as well as it once did. Therefore, people must be sure to eat foods high in this molecule to protect their immune systems.

One of the easiest ways to get glutathione from foods is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of these foods contain some level of glutathione, and those that are raised naturally without chemicals and picked at the peak of ripeness are the best. Fruits that have the highest levels of glutathione include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Melons

The best vegetables include:

  • Green peppers
  • Potatoes
  • carrots
  • squash
  • broccoli
  • Spinach

Dark green vegetables are typically rich in sulfur and are therefore rich in glutathione. Milk thistle in a tea, eaten as a seed or sprinkled as a powder, is a great source of glutathione as well.

The second easiest way to consume glutathione is by eating meats and dairy products. Of course, cooking meats decreases the levels of this nutrient; however, there are still smaller levels of glutathione available even after the food is processed or cooked. Beef, chicken, pork, milk and eggs all contain some glutathione.

Selenium and alpha lipoic acid must be consumed as well in order for glutathione to be used in the body. Foods containing selenium include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • red meat
  • poultry and cheese

Alpha lipoic acid can be found in several vegetables, including spinach and tomatoes.

Those who are not getting enough glutathione in their diets should consider supplements. These supplements will fill in the gaps in nutrition and may bolster the immune system. As an antioxidant, glutathione is a vital part of anyone’s diet.

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