Think way back to high school biology. You may remember learning about a little something called “mitochondria.” What may have been a seemingly inconsequential organelle is actually a very important part of your body, and a major contributor to your overall health.
What exactly are mitochondria?
Mitochondria exist in nearly every cell of the body (with the exception of those without a nucleus, in case you’re wondering) and function by helping to convert our food and oxygen intake into energy our body can use. Mitochondria play a heavy hand in energy support. When mitochondria are running at a less than optimal output, it can make you feel fatigued. The mighty mitochondria are important to the overall aging process, including preserving memory, as well.
What impacts mitochondria?
Turns out that mitochondria are sensitive and it’s actually relatively easy to stress them out, jumpstarting a reaction that leaves you feeling less like yourself. Mitochondria can be affected by sugar, smoking, too much sun exposure and poor diet, among other environmental factors and lifestyle choices known to damage cells and tissues. In turn, this may harm cells’ mitochondria.
How can you care for your mitochondria?
- Make healthy dietary choices. Since mitochondria use your food intake to convert to energy, you can imagine the recourse of only providing them with processed food and empty calories. The mitochondria want to work for you, so eat the colors of the rainbow and give them the balanced meals they need to function at their best.
- Exercise regularly. In particular, a combination of interval and strength training has shown to be the most effective exercise for mitochondrial health.
- Incorporate omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats help restore mitochondria and their membranes. You can get omega-3 fats from supplements and some foods, such as fish, chia seeds, walnuts and egg yolks.
The body is here to support us in our daily our lives. It’s time to focus on what we can do to keep it performing at its best and feeling more energized, youthful, ready to take on new projects and places.