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Benefits of Eating Raisins Everyday

raisins

Raisins make great snack. they are also a compact powerhouse of nutrients and minerals which help maintain and improve several body functions. Let’s take a look at this super food.

Nutritional Facts

Traditionally sun-dried, now also water-dipped and artificially dehydrated, raisins remains the most nutritious snack. From the way it’s derived,  their nutrients are uniformly concentrated. a small handful of raisins are dense source of potassium, iron, VB6, Vk, magnesium and calcium.

Apartment from vitamin and minerals, raisins are packed with potent antioxidants, one of which is called resveratrol, a polyphenol compound, it is proven to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer property, and shows strength to lower blood cholesterol.

Raisins contain fair amount of dietary fiber. Fiber helps us lose weight, manage cholesterol in the blood, and lower the risk of colon and breast cancer . last but not the least, it helps relieve constipation.

Healthy Benefits

Bone Health

Rich calcium in raisins can promote bone health. As a good source of calcium, eating raisins everyday  can contribute to building and maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. Raisins also have been known to prevent calcium loss and bone demineralization in post-menopausal women.

Relieve Constipation

Ample dietary fiber in raisins  effectively promote bowel health. Eating fiber-packed raisins on a regular basis can help you produce soft and regular stool by adding bulk to the digested food, so as to move smoothly through the intestines.

Lower blood pressure

Iron and potassium in raisins can help maintain red blood cell count and relax the blood vessels. The B vitamins can also reduce oxidative stress caused by free radical damage in the body and reduce systolic blood pressure.

Boost Immunity 

Antioxidants compounds in raisins have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, they can shield body from infection, inflammation, and lower the risk of diseases. antioxidants have the amazing ability to kill cells that cause cancer and prevent them from multiplying.

Prevent Anemia

Raisins are a rich source of iron and VB,   minerals that are responsible for the production of hemoglobin in the body. People suffering from deficiency i.e. anemia can benefit from raisin’s high iron content.  with the formation of new blood cells, you can keep anemia at bay.

Dental care

Oleanolic Acid, one of the phytochemicals residing in raisins, are vital to protect your teeth against tooth decay, cavities, and teeth brittleness. It effectively prevents the growth the bacterial causing cavities and other dental problems. In addition, calcium in raisins are good for promoting dental health, as it prevents breaking or peeling away of teeth and enamel.

With their wonderful health benefits, it is only advisable to include a small handful into your everyday diet, either as a separate snack or put in your salad, oatmeal and plain yogurt.

 

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8 Shocking Benefits of Walking

walking

Compare to other exercises, walking can hardly be called an exercises. It  requires no equipment and consumes the least energy . But surprisingly, walking can be the most effective way to promote health and prevent disease. But consistency is of the essence. If you take 30 minutes walk everyday, it will help yield unbelievable health benefits.   I have a busy schedule, but always manage to squeeze 30-40 minutes for walking and jogging,  in turn , I benefits a lot from the good habit.  Read on to find out its shocking benefits below.

Reduce the risk of  Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes are induced by insulin resistance,  a recent British study found that people with a family history of the disease who walked briskly, or performed some other type of moderate to vigorous activity on a routine basis, improved insulin sensitivity. 30 minutes of  walk everyday will lay a solid foundation to reduce the Type 2 diabetes risk.

Tone up your body

Good regular walk can tone up your leg and bottom muscle.  Walking with proper postures will enhance the muscle at your abs and waist too.

Improve sleep quality

Walking , especially brisk walking burns calories and your muscles get fatigue.  We call it” healthy fatigue” that guarantees a good uninterrupted sleep at night, combined with a warm shower, you will sleep like a baby.

Help lose weight

While you burn calories, it goes without saying you will therefore lose weight. You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to  a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time!

Strengthen  cardiovascular  health

Every step bears on heart health.  Brisk walking can reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level, those are factors associated with heart disease and strokes.  If you want to improve heart health,  go our and about, it is the most effective, and the least expensive way to engage.

Keep you literally sane

Our daily life can be hectic and stressful.  You bury all the negative emotions deeply inside only to create more emotional issues down the road.  Walking can help you lay off those emotional burdens.  It releases endorphin,  the chemical makes you feel happier and more relaxed.  I always notice that after even during the  walk,  my mood gets more cheerful and calm.

Boost immunity system

“Walk” up your body’s ability to fight germs and diseases. According to medical research, regular walking can decrease your chance of getting flu or cold, or if you do get them, it takes shorter time to recover, it also lower the risk of other diseases.

Prevent dementia

Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain damage and preserve better memory as the years go on. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we presume that’s a pretty great idea to “walk away dementia”.

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Best Breakfast Ever -Whole Wheat French Toast

 french toastFrench toast has become a inseparable part of my family. every Sunday morning, I serve warm, sweet, golden brown french toast. it also offers precious family time. my 5 year old daughter will volunteer to help, crack the egg, pour the milk, dip the bread…..

Never never use white bread for this recipe.it  is full of refined/ empty calories. my recommend is to go whole wheat. it provides you great nutrition and satiety , plus take way longer to digest, meaning you feel full longer. no more blood sugar spikes and crashes.

It’s best to visit your local baker for freshly baked whole wheat bread. if not, at local grocery, you can always find multi-grain or whole grain bread. it should be the 2nd best option moms can trust.  there are so many different whole grains to choose from! oats with quinoa, whole wheat, buckwheat….. with different grains, comes with different trace minerals.

Then the eggs. I buy eggs from my neighbor, she raise 10 chickens, and lay eggs everyday. My, those are the best organic eggs I ever had!  fresh organic eggs usually have hard shell, when crack open, you notice the egg white and yolk are bound close together, while white are clear,  yolk has bright orange color.

What to put in the dipping mixture? I put in pure vanilla extract (it costs more than artificial one but hey, it is real vanilla ), cinnamon powder, sometimes a bit orange zest if available.

To sum up:

Ingredients: 4 slices of whole grain bread, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk (I normally not measure, just follow experience), 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, butter (for cooking), pure maple syrup (for serving), fresh strawberries or blueberries (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. whisk eggs, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon powder together in a big flat bowl
  2. One by one dip the bread in the mixture two side, make sure both sides are evenly coated with dipping mixture. Then transfer it to a plate
  3. heat frying pan with butter, when butter starts bubbles, throw in the bread, cook it over medium heat.
  4. Only turn it over when one side is golden brown, do the same to the other side.
  5. Serve it warm with pure maple syrup and freshly cut fruits. Enjoy!

On this plate, we have all the nutrients required for breakfast: good carbs, fiber, vitamin, minerals and protein. Make it weekly routine, your family will fall in love with it!

 

 

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6 Amazing Things Happen When You Go Sugar Free

sugar-free

Sugar is toxic and addictive, a fact that has been brought up to attention for years by medical authorities . You can find more info about what sugar does to our health from my previous blog .

Today, I will share with you the benefits of quitting sugar in your diet. It is hard to quit something that has been part of your life almost since forever, yet, it is worthwhile to try sugar free for 30 days and see the amazing results!

In order to go sugar free , you have to limit all foods with added sugar and foods with hidden sugar. But you don’t have to cut back on natural sugar foods like fruits, even thou you don’t want to overeat them either.

To replace sugar, you should take in more good lean meat, fiber and healthy fats. Those foods make you feel full longer and are good for your overall health.

To keep it short, let’s take a look at what amazing results you can get by going sugar free.

Weight loss

This is No.1 thing you will notice when you quit sugar. sugary drink and snacks pack on pounds on your body, when you quit them,  you drop pounds. make sense?

Lower risk of  Type 2 Diabetes

The link between sugar consumption and diabetes is both direct and indirect – with sugars-sweetened beverages being directly linked to the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and equally sugar consumption leading to obesity, one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes. When you go sugar free, the risk factor of type 2 diabetes drops too.

Better sleep

A good sleep depends on so many things. sugar plays an sinister role. too much sugar in your food or drink will send your moods ups and downs,  unstable moods intervene your hormone that regulates glucose level, which will stimulating brains. by curbing sugar intake, you will have a much better sleep.

sugar free

Better skin

Sugar is the culprit of skin condition. it activates inflammation and binds to the collagen to make the skin stiff. overtime, excessive sugar can cause long-term damage because of constant inflammation. dermatologist has made it very clear that watch out for your sugar intake, cause it will either make or break your skin health.

Better mood

Better mood means stable moods. By getting rid of sugar in your diet, you wont experience the mood swaying. You feel calmer, better in control and therefore, happier.

Better protection for your mental health

A high-sugar diet can also have a negative impact on your mental health.  too much sugar contributes to a number of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, it can also affect your learning ability and memory. To Better protect your mental ability, go sugar free is the only way to follow.

To replace sugar, you should take in more good lean meat, fiber, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Those foods make you feel full longer and good for your overall health.  As long as you stay full and brimming with energy, you should never fight with sugar-craving moments, cause you would never have one.

 

 

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How To De-Stress Your Day In Most Effective Way

De-stress
happy young romantic couple have fun relax smile at modern home indoor and outdoor

De-stress is essential to help us manage daily life gracefully. Does this sound familiar to you? screaming kids, demanding boss, deadlines, crazy schedules, it seems we can never get a break or catch a breath. Let life break us? never, the following 10 tips can wind you down and take stress out of you immediately.

A good laugh

If you have no time for a comedy movie, read something funny, watch some funny short videos,  get a good laugh out of it. you will then find everything opens up! you will find laugh is such a good relaxation technique.

Meditate

De-stress

Find a quite place to sit down, keep mind blank, let everything stream in and out of your brain, “Look at ” your worries, anxieties, just look , no emotional involvement. Set up a “quite”corner in the house with art piece, green plant, anything that means to bring your joy and serenity.

Go for a 10-minute walk

De-stress yourself mindfully. go for 10 minutes walk, it can be a walk around the green corner, or a brisk walk in the park will clear your mind and boost your endorphin (in turn, will reduce stress level).

Visualize 

De-stress

Picture something that brought/or brings you comfort and happiness, your dream log house,  lake in your hometown, a precious time with someone special, accomplishment of a big goal . all these positive visuals can instantly lift your mood up and make life worth-worthy again.

Eat a snack

A snack that truly satisfies you taste buds  will do the trick. it can be a chocolate bar, a cup of nuts, a piece of exquisite cake…. stress is a brain thing,  while our gut is the main mediator of stress.  does food take away stress? scientifically, it does.

Play with your pet

Pet can be so therapeutic regarding psychological health. 5 minutes play with your pet will ease your stress. communicating with your pet can even lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate.

Hear your favorite music to de-stress

Any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine. The soothing music makes you happy, content and relaxed. without music at hand? humming your favorite one also helps. within music, you get more beautiful visualization.

Brew some tea

De-stress

Store good tea in the pantry. rose tea, green tea,  pear blossom, honey apple, orange glow….. tea with exotic name and flavor will relax you and quite your mind down. Green tea contains L-Theanine, a chemical compound that soothes tension.

Talk

When you feel you cant take it no more,  talking is a good way to de-stresses youself . you can  talk to your friend or talk to yourself in third person.When people used their own name in self-talk, the researchers found, the areas of the brain linked to emotions showed much less activity than when they used the first person, cause it creates a separation from reality, that as a fact will soothe your stress.

Crafts

Knitting, cross-stitch, sewing , the repeated monotonous hand movement can actually soothe anxiety. In extension, praying, repetition of words, sounds will perform the same effect on your mind.

 

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The Best Daily Healthy Schedule From Doctors

 

schedule day

We should eat a good breakfast, small nap after lunch, sun bath on the weekends….. everyone knows a little thing about what a healthy life should be.  But does that cover all?

What is  a healthy day like?  According to doctors ,  below is the optimized timetable for your health, each step synchronizing with your metabolic rate.

5—-6 am

Get back for some more sleep if you wake up at this hour.  ample sleep charge up your brain and promise you an energetic day. if you cant sleep, close your eyes and let your thoughts rest.

6:30 am

Get up , take 20-30 minutes exercise, stretching, Taiji, walking… these light exercises will prepare you for the busy day and speed up metabolism.

7—8 am

Treat yourself with a good breakfast that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and whole grains. a glass of milk, whole grain toast with peanut butter, an apple will provide most of the energy for the morning.

10 am

A small handful of nuts between the busy moments, it will enhance your brain  power, feed on your dropping blood sugar and  keep blood pressure steady.

11—12:30 am

lunch time. try put in as many color as you can in your plate. more colors means more nutrients. combine meat with vegetable, or beans with vegetable. vitamins and trace minerals will do much more good than refined carbs alone. Always fuel up your body with good nutrition for the other half day.

13:00 pm

If possible, take a 20 minutes nap. afternoon nap is found to reduce blood pressure, protect heart, boost immunity and help improve memory.

14:00pm

A cup of coffee or green tea will bring you right back to alertness and better performance. choose black coffee without cream or sugar. green tea also gives the best fresh-up, thanks to polyphenols in it, green tea can also cut cancer risk.

15:00 pm

Get yourself a break from work, stretch up, go out and get some sunshine.

16:00pm

You might feel tired or restless due to dropping 5-serotonie level, snack on yogurt and  whole grain cookies.

18:00 Pm

Dinner time. Enjoy dinner with families. dinner should not be too heavy, choose light dishes, make sure it makes up with nutrition you went without thru the day.  As the best time of the day, spend it with your family.

21:00 Pm

Brushing teeth now sends a signal to your neuro system ‘no more food’. let your body wind down, get ready for a relaxing sleep.

22:00Pm

Go to bed around 22:00, no later than 23:00. adjust the room temperature down to 18.9 Celsius Degree.

 

 

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5 Positive Ways To Reduce Risk of Lung Cancer

lung cancer

 

Lung cancer is one of the most deadly cancer in the world.   There is no way to prevent it, yet, there are things you can do to change the risk  factors, hence to reduce the risk of getting lung cancer.

Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoking.

Smoking and second handing smoking are the main cause of lung cancer. Stop smoking if you do,  your lung will start repairing itself after you quit. Also don’t expose yourself to second hand smoke.  By distance yourself from smoking, you can great lower the risk. our body has powerful self-repair mechanism, give your body the chance to start it! Remember, never too late to quit smoking.

Good ventilation at home

lung cancer

Radon is an odorless gas that results from the decay of natural uranium in the soil beneath our homes. It is also the main factor to cause lung cancer. Test your home for radon.   You can reduce your exposure by ventilating your house and office everyday. also clean AC pipes regularly and install kitchen ventilator, making  sure the toxic particles don’t get into your lungs.

Eating  a healthy diet

Diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will strengthen your immunity system, and deliver strong antioxidants  effect to your body.  with better health, you are in a better position to fight the forming of cancer.  Whereas, inorganic phosphates found in processed meats and cheeses are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.

Better protection at work

Almost 30% of the lung cancer are work-related.  If you work in an environment with cancer-causing substance, be sure to use mask or other protection gear to keep you safe. Breathing in toxic substance, in the long term, will double even triple your risk.

Enjoy green tea

lung cancer

Polyphenols, the Potent antioxidants in green tea can neutralize the bad effect of smoking, second hand smoking,  air pollution on our lung etc. it is proved to deter the development, growth of carcinogen-induced tumors.  it may even plays its role in the treatment of lung cancer.

 

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8 False Health myths debunked

health

Carrots are good for night vision; spinach contains more calcium than milk;  eating fatty food will make you fat……Do these sound familiar to you?  When we get misconception  and false health statement, it can do more harm than good to health. today, I will debunk 8 false health myths that passed down thru years.

Eating breakfast fires up your metabolism

Yes and no, it totally depends on what you eat for breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal porridge with an     boiled egg,  slice of apple will for sure fuel up your body and give metabolism a much-needed boost. But if you opt for refined cereal , sweet donuts or slice white bread with chocolate spread, you probably get derailed for whole day.  Go whole grain and good protein.

Organic  food is pesticide –free and have more nutrition

Organic  food is not free of pesticides, farmers growing organic foods  are allowed to use chemicals derived naturally. Those chemicals sometimes pose bigger risk to health than synthetic ones.  And organic food doesn’t necessarily contain more nutrition than otherwise.

health

You need to drink 8 glasses of water every day

Not necessarily. We can’t survive without water. The amount of water you need depends on your type of daily activities. People with active life mode  need  to drink more  than those with sedentary lifestyle. Also, other fluids need to be taken into account, including juice, milk, even fruits and vegetables you eat.

Night time snack make you fat

If you  have chips and cookies for night time snack, definitely you will pack on a few extra pounds.  But a healthy whole-grain bar won’t lead to weight gain.  As you as you watch the total calorie you take in, night time snack is not a weight packing monster.

health

Eating fatty food make you fat

It seems obvious that if you eat fat, you get fat. But the obvious turned out to be misleading. Moderate fat in food is the part of healthy and balanced diet. In addition, healthy fats in nuts, oils are essential nutrients that our brain and heart need. Eat fat, but in moderation.

Sugar causes diabetes

There is no solid scientific evidences that sugar is the direct cause of diabetes. However, excessive  sugary food and drinks will lead to weight gain, which might trigger diabetes further  down on the way.

The best way to lose weight is exercise

In terms of weight management, what you put in your plate matters most. Improving eating habits will do more for you to control weight, while exercise plays a key role to keep weight off.

health

Being exposed in cold weather give you a cold

You get cold from virus, not from weather.  The reason we get cold in cold season has to do with our indoor environment, it makes virus spread quicker and wider.  To minimize the chance of getting a cold, try to avoid public places too often in the winter.

 

 

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Top 10 Foods To Eat Away Inflammation

 

inflammation

Inflammation is the sign of your body putting up defense, against wounds or invading bacteria. it activates body’s immunity system,  the inflamed body tissue may appear swollen and warm, sometimes you feel painful.  Ongoing inflammation can be serious cause it leads to long-term damage and increase your chance of developing chronic disease.

when inflammation occurs, the best way to quell it is to  include as much anti-inflammation foods into your diet as you can. Right foods reduce inflammation, so as to strengthen your body’s ability to stave off future diseases and slow aging.

inflammation

Top 10  anti-inflammatory foods

Cherries

Cherry is sweet and of lower C-reactive protein, one of the key blood indicators used to test for inflammation. rich in antioxidants, cherry can reduce pain and inflammation from osteoporosis.

Salmon

Packed with healthy fats (Omega-3 fats) and EPA, salmon plays key role in keeping inflammation at bay. this excellent anti-inflammation food should be eaten twice a week.

Broccoli

This cruciferous veggie contains phytochemicals to curb inflammatory compounds. By fighting inflammation, it can prevent cancer development. actually all cruciferous veggies work same way, including broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale etc.

Shitake mushrooms

inflammation

Medical research shitake mushrooms  can lower inflammatory markers and improve immunity system. Cooking shitake mushroom at low temperature to ensure its maximum anti-inflammatory power.

Extra-virgin olive oil

Delivering  good inflammation-controlling compounds, extra-virgin olive oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Avocado

inflammation

The creamy fruit works twofold thanks to monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Avocado may even counteract the effects of some inflammatory foods.  eat it everyday , top your toast, hamburger with it, blend it with fruits for yummy smoothie. you can never go wrong!

Turmeric

Curcumin is the powerful compound in turmeric to ease the inflammation. Curry powder is the idea food you can get good dosage of turmeric.

Tomatos

Lycopene, the compound in tomatos supress inflammation, that is why consumption of tomatos help lower cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Spinach

Spinach offers rich antioxidants , which help boost our immunity system. toss it in the salad, eat a few times every week, inflammatory symptoms will get well under control.

Strawberries

inflammation

Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants  called ellagitannins, which clean out free radicals that cause inflammation. As a matter of fact, blueberries, raspberries, black berries are also excellent source of anti-inflammation fruits.

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How To Fuel Your Mitochondria To Slow Down Aging

mitochondria

Similar to telomere, mitochondria, this tiny inclusions in our cell,  plays a huge role in producing energy and fight aging. the Link below is an article from Dr. Mercola’s blog, we can get to know everything about mitochondria , what we can do to promote healthy mitochondria function and how to do in daily life.  Indeed, anti-aging is not a topic that limited to medical professionals, as laypeople, when we are equipped with proper knowledge and information, there is so much we can do to stay healthy and young.  Enjoy reading !

mitochondria

Mitochondria: you might not know what they are, but they are vital to your health.  Rhonda Patrick, PhD is a biomedical scientist who has studied the interaction between mitochondrial metabolism, aberrant metabolism, and cancer.

She’s also done research on aging at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California.

“I’ve had a variety of experiences doing research on aging, cancer, and metabolism,” she explains. “Now, currently, I’m in Oakland, California, where I’m doing my post-doctoral research, working with Dr. Bruce Ames…

The primary focus of the research is the role of nutrition in preventing age-related diseases like cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and different inflammatory-related diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes.

I’ve been doing a lot of research currently on nutrition, specifically what roles micronutrients play in biological processes; how inadequacies and certain micronutrients can lead to insidious types of damage that can accumulate over decades, [and how they] lead to things like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Part of her work involves the identification of early biomarkers of disease. For example, DNA damage is an early biomarker for cancer. She then tries to determine which micronutrients might help repair that DNA damage.

She’s also investigated mitochondrial function and metabolism, which is one of my own most recent passions. Dr. Lee Know’s book, “Life – The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria”, is a really good primer if you want to learn more about this topic after listening to this interview.

Your mitochondria have enormous potential to influence your health, specifically cancer, and I’m starting to believe that optimizing mitochondrial metabolism may in fact be at the core of effective cancer treatment.

The Importance of Optimizing Mitochondrial Metabolism

Mitochondria are tiny organelles, originally thought to be derived from bacteria. Red blood cells and skin cells have very little to none, while germ cells have 100,000, but most cells have one to 2,000 of them. They’re the primary source of energy for your body.

In order for your organs to function properly, they require energy, and that energy is produced by the mitochondria.

Since mitochondrial function is at the very heart of everything that occurs in your body, optimizing mitochondrial function – and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need – is extremely important for health and disease prevention.

For example, one of the universal characteristics of cancer cells is they have serious mitochondrial dysfunction with radically decreased numbers of functional mitochondria.

“The mitochondria can still function in cancer cells. But one of the things that occur [in cancer cells] is that they immediately become dependent on glucose and they’re not using their mitochondria even though they have mitochondria there. They make this metabolic switch,” Patrick says.

Dr. Otto Warburg was a physician with a Ph.D. in chemistry and was close friends with Albert Einstein. Most experts recognize Warburg as the greatest biochemist of the 20th century.

He received a Nobel Prize in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells use glucose as a source of energy production. This is called the “Warburg Effect” and, sadly, to this day it is essentially ignored by nearly every expert.

I am beyond convinced that using a ketogenic diet, which radically improves mitochondrial health, could help most cancers, especially if used in conjunction with glucose fermentation poisons like 3-bromopyruvate.

How Mitochondria Produce Energy

To produce energy, your mitochondria require oxygen from the air you breathe and fat and glucose from the food you eat.

These two processes — breathing and eating — are coupled together in a process called oxidative phosphorylation. That’s what the mitochondria use to generate energy in the form of ATP.

Your mitochondria have a series of electron transport chains in which they pass electrons from the reduced form of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe and ultimately to form water.

This process drives protons across the mitochondrial membrane, which recharges ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate). ATP is the carrier of energy throughout your body.

However, that process also produces byproducts such as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are damaging to your cells, and your mitochondrial DNA, which are then transferred to your nuclear DNA.

So there’s a trade-off. In producing energy, your body also ages from the damaging aspects from the ROS that are generated. How quickly your body ages largely depends on how well your mitochondria work, and how much damage can be minimized by diet optimization.

Mitochondria’s Role in Cancer

When cancer cells are present, the reactive oxygen species produced as a byproduct of ATP production normally send a signal that sets in motion a process of cellular suicide, also known as apoptosis.

Since you generate cancer cells every day, this is a good thing. By killing off damaged cells, your body can eliminate and replace them with healthy cells.

Cancer cells, however, are resistant to this suicide protocol, and have a built-in defense against it as articulately explained by Dr. Warburg and subsequently by Thomas Seyfried, who has done extensive research on cancer as a metabolic disease

As explained by Patrick:

“One of the mechanisms by which chemotherapeutic drugs work is they create reactive oxygen species. They create damage, and that’s enough to push that cancer cell to die.

I think the reason for that is because, a cancer cell — which is not using its mitochondria, meaning it’s not producing those reactive oxygen species any longer — all of a sudden you force it to use its mitochondria and you get a burst of reactive oxygen species because that’s what mitochondria do, and boom, death, because that cancer cell is already primed for that death. It’s ready to die.”

The Benefits of Avoiding Late-Night Eating

I’ve been a fan of intermittent fasting for quite some time for a variety of reasons, certainly longevity and health issues, but also because it appears to provide powerful cancer prevention and treatment benefit. And the mechanism for that is related to the effect fasting has on your mitochondria.

As mentioned, a major side effect of the transfer of electrons that the mitochondria are involved in is that some leak from the electron transport chain to react with oxygen to form the free radical superoxide.

Superoxide anion, the product of a one electron reduction of oxygen, is the precursor of most reactive oxygen species and a mediator in oxidative chain reactions. These oxygen free radicals attack the lipids in your cell membranes, protein receptors, enzymes, and DNA that can prematurely kill your mitochondria.

Some free radicals are actually good and your body requires them to regulate cellular function, but problems develop when you have excessive free radical production. Sadly that is the case for the majority of the population and why most diseases, especially cancers, are acquired. There are two possible solutions to this problem:

  1. Increase your antioxidants
  2. Reduce mitochondrial free radical production

I believe one of the best strategies for reducing mitochondrial free radical production is to limit the amount of fuel you feed your body. This is a noncontroversial position as calorie restriction has consistently shown many therapeutic benefits. This is one of the reasons why intermittent fasting works, as it limits the window that you are eating and automatically reduces your calories.

It is particularly effective if you avoid eating several hours before going to sleep as that is your most metabolically lowered state. A review paper1 that provides much of the experimental work for the above explanation was published in 2011, titled “Mitochondrial DNA Damage and Animal Longevity: Insights from Comparative Studies.”

It may be too complex for many laypeople, but the take-home message is that since your body uses the least amount of calories when sleeping, you’ll want to avoid eating close to bedtime because adding excess fuel at this time will generate excessive free radicals that will damage your tissues, accelerate aging, and contribute to chronic disease.

Other Ways Fasting Promotes Healthy Mitochondrial Function

Patrick also notes that part of the mechanism by which fasting works is that your body has to rely on lipids and stored fats for energy, which means your cells are forced to use their mitochondria. Your mitochondria are the only mechanisms by which your body can make energy from fat. So, fasting helps activate your mitochondria.

She also believes this plays a huge part in the mechanism by which intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet may kill cancer cells, and why certain drugs that activate mitochondria can kill cancer cells. Again, it’s because it creates a burst of reactive oxygen species, the damage from which tips the scale and causes the cancer cells to die.

“Of course, there are a lot of very other interesting mechanisms that occur when you’re fasting,” she says. “Your body also clears away damaged cells through a process called autophagy, which basically means when a cell that’s damaged, it can die. But if it doesn’t die, sometimes it becomes what’s called senescent and this happens a lot with aging. What that means is that the cell is not dead but it’s not really alive either. It’s not doing its function.

It’s just kind of sitting around in your body secreting pro-inflammatory molecules, things that are damaging other nearby cells thereby accelerating the aging process because inflammation drives aging in so many different ways. Autophagy clears away those cells that are just sitting there creating damage and not doing much else, which is nice because that’s also a very important biological mechanism for staying healthy.”

Feeding Your Mitochondria

In terms of nutrition, Patrick emphasizes the importance of the following nutrients; important co-factors needed for your mitochondrial enzymes to function properly:

  • CoQ10 or ubiquinol (the reduced form)
  • L-Carnitine, which shuttles fatty acids to the mitochondria
  • D-ribose, which is raw material for ATP molecule
  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • All B vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamine, and B6
  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)

As noted by Patrick:

“I prefer to get as many micronutrients as I can from whole foods for a variety of reasons. One, they are complexed with fiber help with absorption. The nutrients are also in the right ratios. You’re not getting too much. The balance is right. And there are other components that are probably yet to be identified in there.

You have to be very vigilant in making sure you’re eating a very broad spectrum [of foods] and getting the right micronutrients. I think that taking a B complex supplement is good for that reason.

It’s the reason I take one, and also for the reason that as we age, we also do not get B vitamins into ourselves as readily, largely due to our cell membranes getting stiffer. This changes the way B vitamins are transported into the cell. B vitamins are water soluble so they’re not stored in fat. There’s not really an upper toxicity associated with them. If anything, you’re going to pee a little bit more out. But I really think they’re beneficial.”

Exercise Helps Keep Your Mitochondria Young

Exercise also promotes mitochondrial health, as it forces your mitochondria to work harder. As mentioned earlier, one of the side effects of mitochondria working harder is that they’re making reactive oxygen species, which act as signaling molecules. One of the functions they signal is to make more mitochondria. So, when you exercise, your body will respond by creating more mitochondria to keep up with the heightened energy requirement.

Aging is inevitable. But your biological age can be quite different from your chronological age, and your mitochondria have a lot to do with your biological aging. Patrick cites a recent study showing how people can age biologically at very different rates. The researchers measured over a dozen different biomarkers, such as telomere length, DNA damage, cholesterol LDL, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity, at three points in people’s lives: ages 22, 32 and 38.

“What was found was that, if you look at someone who was 38, they biologically could look 10 years younger based on their biological markers, or 10 years older. Even though they were the same age, they aged biologically at very different rates.

In fact, if you took a photograph of these individuals and showed it to another bystander and ask them to guess their chronological age, what was interesting, and this is part of the publication, is that people would guess their biological age rather than their chronological age.”  

So regardless of your actual age, how old you look corresponds with your biological biomarkers, which are largely driven by the health of your mitochondria. So the point is that while aging is inevitable, you have enormous control over the way you age, which is really empowering. And one of the key factors is keeping your mitochondria in good working order.

As noted by Patrick, “youthfulness” is not so much about your chronological age, but rather how old you feel, and how well your body works:

“I want to learn how to optimize my own cognitive performance and my athletic performance. I want to also increase the youthful part of my life. I want to be 90. I want to be out there, surfing in San Diego just like I was when I was 20. I would like to not degenerate as rapidly as some people do. I like to stave off that degeneration and extend the youthful part of my life as long as I possibly can so I can enjoy life.”

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