The Most Important Factor In Gaining Optimal Health

The Most Important Factor In Gaining Optimal Health

Most of us learned about the basic function of mitochondria back in biology in school. Let’s be honest, one of the only things I learned about mitochondria in high school is that it is an organelle found in cells that produce energy. They make usable energy for the cell from food and oxygen. (We simply wouldn’t be alive without these little guys!) They’re known as the energy powerhouses! But, they’re SO much more.

We are diving a little more in depth about mitochondria from what you’ve learned in high school and what it truly does for us. And ultimately why supporting the mitochondria is one of the best ways to live optimally and slow down the aging process. And of course, the link of nutrition with it all! I mean, that’s why I’m here right? 🙂

What Does Mitochondria Do For Us Outside Of Producing Energy?

Holds the power to apoptosis – In the membranes of the mitochondria, there are proteins that are released to promote apoptosis when the cell is damaged & don’t function properly. Cells that don’t die that are damaged can cause pro-inflammatory properties, which is the root to many chronic diseases.

Can help slow down biological aging. We all know that we will eventually get old and there is nothing we can do to stop it. BUT, instead of worrying about the number that we turn each year since we’ve been born, we can have hope that internally our bodies can be younger than what we are, which can also show externally. (Looking 40 when your 70? I’LL TAKE IT!)

Provides energy power for communication throughout our body. Communication is key in everything, but especially in our body. That’s why doctors are understanding the link of mitochondria and neurological disorders. The nervous system takes a huge amount of energy just to communicate in all the areas of your body. If mitochondria can’t function properly and produce energy, communication fails. When communication fails, all else fails. Are you seeing the downward spiral?

Helps regulate the glucose and insulin. Which is a big factor in staying healthy and avoiding the chronic diseases, like diabetes and obesity.

Did you know that mitochondria can increase in numbers? (Which is a good thing!) HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and strength training can increase the amount of mitochondria in the cells due to the need for extra energy. Hence, more energy houses are made. The more the mitochondria are worked and used, the more efficient they become. Studies have seen the difference of patients with type 2 diabetes and their sedentary lifestyle and metabolic issues with lower mitochondrial numbers and not functioning properly versus a normal healthy adult.

Now, since mitochondria does make the energy for the body – there is a downfall. Unfortunately, the mitochondria releases free radicals during the energy making process. Mitochondria DNA (yes, mitochondria has it’s own DNA) can mutate easily, since they are so close to the source of these free radicals in the making. As we age, this can affect us because our natural intracellular defenses of antioxidants decrease. Which is why, what we eat is so important, so we can help provide & supplement as much as we can. What we eat can avoid getting out of control amounts of free radicals.

Foods To Make Mitochondria Happy

So, you want to take care of these little guys right? I sure do.

Mitochondria loves and needs healthy fats in our diet to help upkeep all their membranes. The omegas play a huge component of healthy mitochondria. Some of the best pieces of food to eat are fish, like sardines, salmon, krill, anchovies, etc. These foods are loaded with natural omegas & healthy fats. More healthy fat sources are avocados, nuts, coconut, seeds, olive oil, etc.

Foods that are dense in antioxidants, which are most fruits and vegetables, can take care of the free radicals that are made during the ATP (energy) process. B vitamins are also very essential to our mitochondria health. B vitamins can come from great sources of organic, grass-fed meats, nuts, wild caught seafood, leafy greens, eggs, etc. Magnesium is also a nutrient that plays a role in ATP production and is stored in the mitochondria. Leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, nuts, bananas, dark chocolate are all yummy sources of magnesium. You can also use magnesium lotion, since putting magnesium topically is one of the best ways for absorption of it.

CoQ10 is one of the most important key features in mitochondria health. Without coQ10, mitochondria don’t function. Coq10 also gets rid of free radicals that is made from the ATP process. I like to think of coQ10 as the cell protector! As we get older, conversion of coQ10 can lessen and/or different medications can significantly lower the levels of coQ10 in our body. Good sources of coQ10 are organ meats, beef, chicken, sardines, salmon, sesame seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, and pistachios.

Another beneficial tool for supercharging your mitochondria is fasting! Simply put, fasting makes your body able to burn fat efficiently, which fat is a cleaner source versus the normal glucose from carbohydrates. (Not saying you shouldn’t have any carbs, just carbs from real whole foods and starchy vegetables). When I say cleaner, less free radicals are produced when burning fat. Because we allow our body time without food in this fasting, we shift what fuel we burn and I like to think that we let our mitochondria reset. Fasting can just be from stop eating a couple hours before bed through a couple hours after you wake up. Most of the time you are sleeping! Sweet! People that shouldn’t fast are people with adrenal fatigue, diabetes, other chronic issues, and women who are pregnant/breastfeeding.

Stay tuned in the next couple of days because I’m going to tell you a supplement that I’ve found on the market that holds tremendous power in supporting your mitochondria. It’s..

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Don’t miss out, so you can get your hands on it!

Until next time,

Lahana Vigliano

Lahana Vigliano

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Thrival Nutrition. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and currently pursing her Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@thrivalnutrition).