Explained: What is mitochondria and diet to strengthen it

Explained: What is mitochondria and diet to strengthen it

An important aspect of cellular health is mitochondrial health. Every cell within us has tiny energy factories called — Mitochondria

Luke CoutinhoUpdated: Saturday, September 03, 2022, 07:12 PM IST
article-image

An important aspect of cellular health is mitochondrial health. Every cell within us has tiny energy factories called — Mitochondria. They produce energy (from oxygen and food) in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is what fuels every action of ours — walking, thinking, talking, digesting, cleansing, healing, repairing, and so on. A tired and lethargic person will have less ATP being produced by the body than an energetic person. Tiredness, lethargy, and fatigue are all indicators of your bad mitochondrial health. 

Not many understand that their health problems could just be stemming from mitochondrial dysfunction.

If your mitochondria is not functioning the right way, you will not only feel lethargic all day, but also put on weight, lose hair, and be prone to early ageing. This is the power of mitochondria and its health. 

What destroys mitochondrial health?

Nutritional deficiencies and depriving your body of key nutrients like vitamins and minerals by following fad diets

Environmental toxins like pollution, heavy metals, BPAs, parabens,

phthalates plastics, and toxins in cosmetics)

Viruses and infections — studies have revealed Covid is known to cause some dysfunction in the mitochondria

Oxidative stress and inflammation lead to a leakage of oxygen from

the cells

Smoking, living in a polluted environment

Excessive alcohol consumption — alcohol depletes NADH (a key nutrient and mitochondrial health)

Strong medical procedures like chemo, radiation, and antibiotics

Overuse of recreational drugs 

Statins, that too in the absence of CoQ10 and Selenium 

Chronic sleep deprivation 

Lifestyle changes to build mitochondrial health

Decrease toxins exposure. A lot of it may not be in your control, but do what you can in terms of switching to cleaner products, eating chemical-free, and fasting to cleanse your body

Keep the health of your eliminatory organs in tip-top shape. A compromised function of even one of our eliminatory organs (skin, liver, kidneys, colon, lungs) can lead to toxin overload

Limit junk foods. Opt for clean, wholesome, and real foods

Ask your doctor to prescribe CoQ10 and Selenium, if on statins

Switch from refined to cold pressed oils — refined oils are

pro-inflammatory and create an imbalance of the omega 3 and omega 6 ratio

Build lean muscle. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. Mitochondria are densely populated in lean muscle. More muscle means more mitochondria and stronger mitochondrial health

Move, but do not over-exercise if recovering from an infection, surgery, or illness; go slow

Adequate hydration — even a one per cent drop in hydration can affect cellular health remarkably, including your mitochondria

Learn to manage chronic stress — more stress equals more inflammation

Foods and supplements that help

Besides adopting the above lifestyle changes, here are some important mitochondrial nutrients and its natural sources. Please make an informed decision. The supplemental form of these is to be prescribed under expert guidance only

CoQ10 — for ATP production: Organ meat, chicken, red meat, fish, crucifers, spinach, oranges, strawberries, legumes, nuts, and seeds (pistachios)

Alpha Lipoic Acid — for energy transportation: Spinach, meats, crucifers, cooked tomatoes

Carnitine — for energy transportation: Red meat, fish, crucifers, chicken, avocados, beans, ethically sourced dairy  

Resveratrol — antioxidant effect: Good quality red wine (give drinking a break if recovering), grapes, 70% & above dark chocolate, peanuts, cacao, cranberries, pistachios 

N-Acetyl Cysteine — promotes glutathione production: Crucifers, meats, onions, legumes 

Vitamin E — antioxidant effect: almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach peanuts, beets, bell peppers

NADH — needed for ATP production: exercise (light intensity works), yoga, walking, listening to your body, crucifers, B-vitamins, whole grains, mushrooms, fish, leafy greens

Magnesium — for mitochondrial health: dark chocolate, avocado, cacao, lady greens

(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle — Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care - All about YOU by Luke Coutinho)

RECENT STORIES

International Sushi Day 2024: The Ultimate Guide For Making Mexican Sushi Rolls; Detailed Recipe...

International Sushi Day 2024: The Ultimate Guide For Making Mexican Sushi Rolls; Detailed Recipe...

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2: Penelope's Nude Mirror Scene Shines Big On Body Positivity

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2: Penelope's Nude Mirror Scene Shines Big On Body Positivity

Radhika Merchant Stuns In ₹5.43 Lakh Red Balmain Gown As She Poses With Anant Ambani

Radhika Merchant Stuns In ₹5.43 Lakh Red Balmain Gown As She Poses With Anant Ambani

PHOTOS: 7 Exquisite Sites To Explore In Assam

PHOTOS: 7 Exquisite Sites To Explore In Assam

International Yoga Day 2024: Steps To Perform Bhadrasana And Its Benefits

International Yoga Day 2024: Steps To Perform Bhadrasana And Its Benefits