Continuing on from the “back to the basics” from last week, we looked at our basic needs from a cell’s point of view in terms of resources, foods, water, and even thoughts.
When we look at what “powers” each individual cell to do it’s job, it’s the mitochondria in each cell that does that. Most diseases can be traced down at some point to poor mitochondrial function. There is mitochondrial disease, but there is also mitochondrial dysfunction, 2 very different things, but can both greatly impact our health and quality of life, due to the limitation of energy produced by the cell.
My suggestions below are to help those who may have low energy; and these suggestions are based on simple food and environmental changes that are safe and have been found to be useful by many people to help increase energy.
In terms of function, the cell’s mitochondria would be basically like our digestive system, taking in fuel (foods and oxygen) to create energy. The mitochondria keeps the cells full of energy, when they are working properly and have the right resources. Some cells have thousands of mitochondria, like muscles and heart, as they are critically in need of constant high energy. Mitochondria also help our cells to divide, move, and, at the right time, die. We need our cells to die and be removed in order to allow room for the new cells.
If mitochondria can’t do their jobs fully, then less than optimal energy is created, and the cell’s function is limited to the amount of energy created, to the extreme point where no energy = no life. There is so much amazing information about mitochondria, but for our purpose and space here, I just want to explain the importance and give some suggestions on how to help improve mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are susceptible to nutrient deficiencies as well as environmental toxins and oxidative damage (free radicals).
With that in mind, here 6 ways to support your mitochondria for energy production:
1.) Optimize nutrient status with whole foods. Key nutrients from whole foods in the way of B vitamins, especially riboflavin, niacin, as well as CoQ10, carnitine, iron, magnesium, and cysteine, just to name a few. Foods that have a number of those nutrients as well as nitric oxide include: beets, and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, etc), pasture raised chicken and eggs, grass fed meats, dairy, and wild fish.
2. ) Make sure you chew and digest the foods you eat so you can absorb fully broken down nutrients for your cells and specifically the mitochondria.
3.) Decrease toxins as toxins negatively affect us at the cell level and reduce the ability to produce energy. Look for natural and less processed foods, use vinegar or scrub peels to get pesticides off, as well as replacing home cleaning products, personal care products, etc, with natural ones. You can make your own natural products with simple items like vinegar and essential oils.
4.) Move and challenge your body. Building muscle will increase the need for ATP production and get mitochondria revving. Brisk walks that cause an increase in breathing (and breathing fresh air) is helpful. Also getting sun on our body helps increase energy - an added bonus when walking outside!
5.) Address long term stress - sit down, write out as many stressors as you can and help yourself find solutions or ways to address and limit those stressors going forward. Sometimes it is coming to terms and just accepting something that is causing stress that helps to lessen it’s effect.
6.) Create some healthy short term stress. Yes, that is correct - stress! These are things like quick cold bursts of water in the shower, walking a hill and causing extra effort in muscles and lungs. Those types of short term stressors can help improve the resiliency of our cells and mitochondria.
Again, please see your doctor if you have concerns over being more tired than seems right for you.
Have a great week! Hopefully you find some pep in your step! Lisa.