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Heather's Health Habits, LLC

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How to eat healthy food to support your mitochondria

April 23, 2019

Food is medicine! Every time we eat we are either supporting our body's ability to fight disease and illness or promoting cellular fatigue which can lead to disease. It is not your fault that you did not know this. We are not taught how to eat and stay healthy. We are taught history, English, math and physical education. But we are not taught how to cook and eat healthy. 

 

We learn how to eat from our families. Did you family focus on eating vegetables more than eating meat? Probably not. I know mine didn't. When I was growing up, meat was the primary focus. The next staple was either potatoes, pasta or rice. Then, maybe a vegetable or a salad. Organic foods and grass-fed meat were a foreign concept. Anything that could be microwaved and prepared fast was how most of the meals I ate growing up. 

 

It wasn't until I was an adult, much later in life, that I started paying attention to food choices. I started reading more information about how meat consumption isn't healthy for our bodies. I started reading more about how increasing vegetable intake and reducing meat significantly helps our body stay healthy. Especially as we get older. So I started eating plant-based and cut meat out of my diet 3 days a week. I was shocked when about 9 months later my cholesterol dropped 20 points. It wasn't even high!

Now I was hooked. I had a measurable test result showing that I was doing the right thing for my body. Not only was I eating more vegetables, but the variety of what I was eating grew immensely. There are so many more vegetables to choose from for meals versus meat. I am definitely not bored! While I knew that I was helping my body get healthy by reducing meat, one thing I didn't know was how eating organic is an even better choice. 

 

I started studying holistic nutrition. In the curriculum, there is a focus on eating organic, plant-based foods, moving the body and taking supplements. These three pillars work well with my philosophy of being healthy. I worked in the vitamin industry for 8 years and I was used to learning new science about supplements and how they help support a healthy body. What I didn't know is the three pillars I was learning promote a healthy mitochondria. 

 

What is the mitochondria? The mitochondria is the part of our cells that produces energy from the nutrients we feed the body, both from food and supplements. News-Medical.net states that the mitochondria maintains cells to keep them functioning in the most optimal way. When the mitochondria malfunctions because we haven't been taking care of it, disease and illness sets in. While some of us may have taken biology in school, others have not. I had no idea about the mitochondria and the importance of keeping it healthy. 

 

How do you keep your mitochondria healthy? The focus of this article is eating organic, plant-based food. Future articles will focus on moving the body and supplements. Not all food we eat supports the health of our mitochondria. Food that is processed and full of pesticides creates confusion in the body. Our mitochondria wants to fight for our health. When we eat food that contains foreign substances, such as fillers used to extend shelf-life or pesticides, the body tries to fight the substances. It wants to get rid of the harmful substances. As our body fights for us to be healthy, it becomes fatigued. When the body becomes fatigued, it can't fight illness and disease. It is a vicious cycle. 

 

Now here is the fun part, how do you eat to keep the mitochondria healthy? If you are like me, you love to eat. Eating is not a problem, but eating healthy food to support the mitochondria is like learning how to eat for the first time. Mitochondria love antioxidants! Fruits like apples, blueberries and strawberries are high in antioxidants. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, eggplant and broccoli are high in antioxidants. Mitochondria also love high-quality protein. This means eating small amounts of grass-fed and wild-caught protein. But you can also get a lot of protein from eating vegetables and beans. 

It is so important to go organic for the mitochondria. One of the reasons that mitochondria cannot keep us healthy is due to the toxins we expose it too on a daily basis. The air we breath is polluted and we can't do anything about it. We all have plastic in our bodies because plastic is so prevalent in our society. Just touching plastic can leach chemicals into our body. Think of how many products we buy that are in plastic containers.

 

By going organic, you are helping your mitochondria to have less exposure to toxins on a daily basis. Not only is going organic going to help the mitochondria but you will lose weight eating organic. Organic food is nutrient dense. Much more than non-organic food. When we eat food that is nutrient dense, we eat less of it. Getting the mitochondria healthy does not mean going on a diet. It means eating differently to support our body's natural defenses so we can avoid disease. When you eat to support the mitochondria, you will lose weight and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight. 

 

Here are some exciting recipes that support a healthy mitochondria.

 

Broccoli Stir-Fry with Spicy Garlic Sauce from Healthy Slow Cooking

Baked Eggplant from Nutritious Life

Easy Tomato Spinach Pasta from Hurry the Food Up

Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Bars from Joyful Healthy Eats

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups from Live Well Bake Often

One Pot Mexican Spiced Vegetable Quinoa from Jessica Gavin

Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale and Farro Salad from Making Thyme for Health

Mediterranean Bean Salad from Skinny Taste

I hope you enjoyed learning about how to eat to support a healthy mitochondria. If you would like to recieve healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.

 

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