Antioxidants are substances that neutralize and prevent damage done to the body by free radicals. Free radicals act as scavengers on our cells, invading them and turning healthy cells into unhealthy cells through a process called oxidation.
Since antioxidants are our best defense against free radicals, maintaining high antioxidant levels and reducing our free radical exposure is essential in keeping our bodies disease free and even slowing down the aging process.
The problem is, free radicals are everywhere. In our environment factors such as sun exposure, radiation, and pollution, just to name a few. They are also triggered by our lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor sleep habits, stress, alcohol, and diet (which I feel is our biggest contributor). In a society where time is often non-existent, we don’t always make the best food choices or take time and care in preparing our meals. I mean, let’s face it, we can all alter and change bad habits, but eating is a must!
Glutathione, the MASTER antioxidant, commonly referred to as GSH and pronounced “Gloota-thigh-own”, is manufactured in the body and produced by our liver. This powerhouse antioxidant has the potential to fight off illness and diseases such as Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Autism, and even Cancer. It may even be the secret to preventing aging!
As toxins build up they make way for diseases to invade our body and create illness. Because GSH is produced in the liver, it also plays a powerful role in detoxification. If we were unable to detoxify and purify the waste in our bodies, we would die.
All of this sounds great, right!?! So why do we still manage to get sick, age, and have disease prevelant among us?
Well, the aging process is alot more complicated than just merely battling free radicals. Along with that, our cells lose their ability to divide over time which depresses our immune system, thus leaving it susceptible to sickness and disease. A domino affect if you will.
Good news; Bad news
The good news is that your body produces its own glutathione and there is plenty we can do to replenish our levels. The bad news is that environmental pollution, drugs (both prescription and non), impurities, stress, age, and illness all deplete it. Fortunately, many of those things we can control, but factors like environment and age we have little or no control over at all.
So how do we replenish and improve our levels?
Contraversy surrounds oral supplements of glutathione and their effectiveness, so taking a pill and calling it a day might not be your best avenue if you’re serious about getting your GSH levels up for optimum performance.
Luckily, we have plenty of other options!
First and foremost, improving our diet. Adding in foods that contain glutathione, can in essence, stimulate the liver to produce more of this powerful antioxidant. Most fruits and vegetables contain GSH, but mostly when eaten in their raw state, as cooking destroys alot of the GSH in fruits and vegetables. Some examples include sulfur containing foods like asparagus, garlic, and onion, as well as grapefruit, avocado, okra, orange, spinach, and watermelon. Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are not only sulfur rich and packed with GSH, but they also stimulate the production of more GSH.
Other foods such as lean meats, whole grains, and wheat germ can also stimulate GSH production.
Vitamins C and E encourage the production and absorption of glutathione as well as recycles GSH. They also boost the immune system and minimize cell damage.
Selenium, an important trace mineral, not only promotes production of GSH but also improves the efficacy of Vitamin E, and vise versa.
By improving our lifestyle and environment, as well as adding in foods, vitamins, and minerals that help us optimize and preserve our glutathione levels, we advance the fight against free radical damage and move one step closer to lifelong health and wellness.