Fatigue is common but that doesn’t make it normal. Many of my clients tell me how they rely on a combination of caffeine, sugar and energy drinks just to get through the day. Does that sound familiar to you too?
The root causes of long term fatigue are numerous and varied and when you feel tired, your fatigue ‘happens’ to every cell in your body. That could also mean that you find yourself ‘catching everything going around’, your digestion isn’t what it should be, or you feel less capable than usual of handling stress.
Stress, toxins, poor diet and deficiencies all effect the amount of energy our mitochondria can produce, and it is here that we start our mitochondrial make-over.
Our mitochondria are tiny sub-units in each cell that convert energy from the foods we eat into adenosine triphosphate or ATP. We use ATP to power all the chemistry of our cells so that we can move, grow, think and rejuvenate. In other words, energy is essential to life itself.
When our mitochondria are labouring, their inability to produce ATP for a robust and healthy body and mind is evident. It may manifest as the 3pm slump, foggy head or low concentration, or perhaps you don’t recover after exercise the way you used to.
Stress, toxins, poor diet and deficiencies all effect the amount of energy our mitochondria can produce, and it could be a sign that it’s time for a mitochondrial make-over.
Food is the most powerful intervention when it comes to restoring your energy and vitality. What you choose to eat can either work as medicine or as poison to your cells. So we start by reviewing the quality of your diet. What, when and how we eat is the cornerstone to having vigorous mitochondria.
We also look at processed foods and chemicals in your diet and your environment that could be compromising mitochondrial function. We remove or avoid, as best we can, and make way for nourishing alternatives.
We then create an eating plan to help build robust mitochondria. This may also include support with supplements particularly B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc. Mitochondria also require plenty of antioxidants, to protect them from the free radicals naturally generated during the production of ATP.
3 quick tips to start your mitochondrial make-over
1. Avoid all sugar and any foods made with white flour
These empty calories contribute to mitochondrial malnourishment by crowding out nutrient-dense foods. They also cause inflammation and add to the production of free-radicals, adding further burden to our antioxidant supply.
2. Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods
Abundant energy begins with eating plenty of greens and deeply coloured vegetables and berries. It also needs quality proteins such as grass-raised organic animal meat and organ meats and adding good quality fats from foods like avocado, olives, nuts and seeds. Eating this way gives you more of the vitamins, minerals and essential fats that your mitochondria need to thrive.
3. Lower pesticide intake
Pesticide poisons interfere with the functioning of your mitochondria. Check out the Environment Working Group’s consumer guide to Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. These lists can help you decide which foods you are better off buying organic and when conventional farming is ok.
These three steps can have a dramatic impact on your mitochondria and are a great way of restoring energy.
If you want to learn more about how to improve your energy, come along to Eating for Energy lunchtime talks 22nd - 26th May 2017 or make an appointment via my website www.AlexisSmithNutrition.com. Skype consults are also available.