Glycine is an amino acid, and is one of the building blocks the body uses to make proteins in the body. As well as building and maintaining healthy tissues (like skin, joints, muscles, hair, nails and organs) glycine is also vital for healthy hormone function and good gut health. It may not be the most well-known and talked about nutrient, but glycine holds a huge amount of benefits, such as:
- Maintaining and improving skin, hair, nails, joints, muscles, and connective tissue
- Strengthening joints and aiding in recovery from injury. Glycine can also help prevent degenerative arthritis.
- Improving gut health
- Reducing stress and anxiety by calming the central nervous system. Studies also show its benefit in treatment for epilepsy and schizophrenia.
- Improving sleep
- Enhancing mood by stimulating the production of serotonin – a ‘feelgood’ neurotransmitter
- Supports liver and heart health
- Can improve fertility by supporting egg development
- Supportive during pregnancy by helping foetal development and uterine growth
- Reducing inflammation
- Modulating inflammatory markers linked to PCOS
- Supporting detoxification
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to include more glycine in your diet. One of the other key reasons is that our ancestors would have consumed glycine on a regular basis, thus supporting their immune health, strength, reproduction and overall vitality.
Which foods contain glycine?Our ancestors would have consumed glycine regularly by eating traditional foods like meat-based stews, stocks and soups, and by eating meat from the bone often. Today however, foods like this aren’t necessarily a common part of a modern diet, so understanding how to bring them back is important in order to gain all the benefits of glycine listed above! These are some the foods highest in glycine:
- Red meat
- Bone broth
- Wild salmon
When I started paying more attention to glycine and consuming it on a regular basis in the form of bone broth, gelatine gummies and slow-cooked meats, I noticed a big difference in feeling less anxious, more relaxed, stronger, with more balanced hormones. To start adding more glycine to your own diet, try my simple Glycine-Rich Beef Stew Recipe using a slow cooker below. Slow-cooked meats tend to retain more of the goodness from the amino acids. You’ll also find plenty of gut-nourishing, calming glycine in my Gelatine Gummies recipe HERE.
Glycine-Rich Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, ghee, lard or olive oil
- 1 to 2 packs diced beef (enough to feed 4 people)
- 1 pack mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 carrots
- 1.5 litres stock or broth (if you don’t have home-made bone broth, I’d recommend using one from Borough Broth. I use these when I don’t have homemade broth on hand and they’re delicious, as well as being organic and grass fed!)
- 1 BIG handful seasonal greens (kale or cavolo nero go well with this)
- Sprinkling of Worchester sauce (optional) or salt to taste
- Pop your slow cooker to medium or high
- In a large pan, heat the oil, and finely chop all the veg
- Fry the garlic and carrots for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms and Worchester sauce if using and stir well.
- After roughly 8 minutes, tip the cooked veg into the slow cooker, then return the pan to the heat
- Brown all the beef, then tip into the slow cooker too
- Add the stock or broth, and leave to cook for roughly 6 hours.*
- *If you’re able to, add the seasonal greens 2 hours before serving. If you’re busy, simply add these at the same time as everything else.
- When you’re ready to eat, simply ladle portions into bowls – serve as it is, with potatoes, sourdough bread and butter, or rice.