Whether you’re looking for quick information or want something to impress your friends at dinner, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
Many of us know mitochondria as the “powerhouse of the cell” from middle school biology. But what you may not know is that our diet directly impacts the function of our mitochondria, which affects our long-term health. Here are five nutrients you can add to your diet to improve your mitochondrial function!
CoQ10 is the primary antioxidant in human cells. We need oxygen because it’s critical in energy production. We need antioxidants because they help protect mitochondria from excess strain or other damage.
We should aim to consume between 90-200 milligrams of CoQ10 every day. Some foods that contain high amounts of CoQ10 are chicken thighs, peanuts, spinach, and avocado.
2. Lipoic Acid
Lipoic acid is also an antioxidant that’s found in every cell. Not only does it turn glucose into energy, but it also is crucial in recharging vital antioxidants that improve mitochondrial health, like CoQ10.
Lipoic acid can be taken as a supplement, but it’s also found in some whole foods like red meat, carrots, spinach, and broccoli.
3. Acetyl L-Carnitine
Acetyl L-Carnitine is another antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radicals and promotes liver detoxification. It also helps us keep our immune systems strong by boosting T-cell activation. It can also be taken as a supplement or can be found in foods like beef, chicken, milk, and cheese.
Learn how Acetyl L-Carnitine and Lipoic Acid work together in the body here.
Resveratrol has both pro-oxidant effects and antioxidant effects on mitochondria. It also helps improve respiratory activity in the mitochondria, reprogramming efficiency in the cells, and cell growth. It’s suggested to consume between 5mg and 100mg every day.
Many of the foods that contain resveratrol are part of the Mediterranean diet. These foods include red wine, blueberries, dark chocolate, and peanuts.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E has three primary functions in mitochondrial health. These include preventing thyroid hormone-induced changes, reducing free radical production, and causing beneficial reactions in cells. It’s the first line of defense to protect the mitochondrial membrane.
We should try to consume 15mg of Vitamin E every day. Foods high in Vitamin E include sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and olive oil.
The Bottom Line
Having healthy and high-functioning mitochondria is key to living a long and healthy life. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet, and be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise.