Mitochondria, the cellular power plants that generate virtually all the energy your body requires, play a vital role in keeping organs youthful and healthy, too.
So what can you do to keep those mitochondria powered up? Try reaching for the green — like green pepper, green kiwifruit, and green parsley. Green-pigmented foods like these are rich in pyrroloquinoline quinone — or PQQ for short — a powerful antioxidant that shields mitochondria from oxidative damage in such vital organs as the brain and heart.
More PQQs, Please
Over time, damage to the delicate DNA inside mitochondria can accelerate aging and lead directly to degenerative disease. Dietary PQQ may not only shield these precious mitochondria from damage but also promote the formation of new mitochondria. Studies also suggest that PQQ may protect against neurological damage caused by the common environmental toxin methylmercury, which has been linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Where to Get More
Our digestive tracts don’t seem to be able to synthesize PQQ, so it’s best to get this vitamin-like nutrient from foods. In addition to certain greens, a number of items in the native Japanese diet contain PQQ as well, including miso, tofu, and natto (soybean paste). Coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna also contain appreciable amounts of PQQ. Just choose wild rather than farmed fish — and canned chunk-light tuna over albacore — to avoid high levels of methylmercury.
You’ve heard about the Mediterranean diet. Now try the Viking diet. Recent research suggests that it, too, could help you live a much longer life.
So what’s a Viking diet, exactly? It’s one that emphasizes the staples of Nordic cuisine, typically rich in cabbage, rye bread, root vegetables, and other healthful, hearty fare. In a study, diets that emphasized these Scandinavian staples reduced 12-year mortality risk by as much as one-third!
Rye bread contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check. Cabbage is rich in isothiocyanate, which helps rid the body of toxins and carcinogens. And carrots win first place among root veggies as a source of beta carotene. Taken together, all of these nutrients can translate into lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Are you accidentally making yourself older? Check out what these choices are doing to your body:
We don’t have a problem with choosing organic when it comes to fruit and vegetables. The trouble is when you think “organic” is synonymous with “healthy.” Sorry – organic potato chips are still potato chips and contain aging fat and extra calories.
Just dealing with it
If you tend to treat pain with a stiff upper lip rather than a pill or a doctor visit, it’s like playing catcher without a mitt: It feels lousy. About 75% of pain sufferers do not receive adequate treatment, and if you’re one of them, you’re at risk for depression, irritability, fatigue, and an overall diminished quality of life. Treating pain early – we like to start with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation of injuries) coupled with an NSAID in pill or patch form – is an important step in regaining your quality of life. Call your doctor right away if it doesn’t get better quickly.
Eating in front of your TV
If you’re doing TV dinners, chances are high that you’re having fast food or an equally unhealthy hawker equivalent - that’s the most common TV food. And that means you’re getting aging saturated fats in your bloodstream.
Surprising ways to get healthier, calmer, stronger & happier:
1. Follow the two-bites principle – Have two bites of anything you want that’s unhealthy and pass it on. Those first nibbles have the most flavour and give you the most pleasure – you’ll often find they’re enough to satisfy a craving.
2. Breathe right – Take five minutes to energise yourself with this simple aroma-therapeutic breathing technique. Hold your favourite tea bag (dry, not brewed) near your nose (try cinnamon, apple spice, ginger or peppermint), then inhale through your nose for a count of four, holding your breath for eight, and finally exhaling for a count of four. Repeat 10 times and you’ll feel instantly more revved.
3. Rearrange your desk – It will save you time and will establish a visual path for the workflow through your office. Create three areas: “In, In-process and Out”. The In area should be at the corner of your desk closest to the door and should contain only things that are brand-new. Once you’ve started work on something, it goes into the In Process area (the largest in the system) which should be within arm’s reach. The farthest end of your desk is the Out area, this includes letters and packages to mail or hand in. Taking just half an hour to create this simple system will help you stay calm and controlled.
4. Schedule a fitness wake up call – Make a pact with a friend to phone each other for your morning workouts. It may just be the extra push you need to get out of bed and into your workout clothes. Use the same tactic to lure your workaholic friend out of the office and into your favourite Spinning class.
5. Visualise success – Before, say giving a presentation, take three minutes to visualize things turning out wonderful. A calm feeling will come over you that prepares and sets your body in the right tone.
6. Declare an email-free zone for an hour – For many businesspeople, email has become a terrible addiction that interrupts their thinking and their ability to concentrate. If, instead you spend the first hour of your day doing your most critical task, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
7. Select a stretch of the day – Write the stretch on a Post-it note and place it on your keyboard, then do the stretch for 20-30 seconds (no bouncing) everytime you think of it (aim for two or three times a day). Stretch these five areas to get your through your first workweek: wrists, neck, shoulders, calves, back.
8. B energised – Supplement with a B-vitamin complex formula that includes B6, especially when you are on oral contraceptives which interfere with the absorption of B vitamins, which may make you feel sluggish, depressed or tired.
9. Follow the 10 per cent per week rule – Working out at too intense a pace for too long increases your chance of injury, and wreck havoc on your digestive system, causing constipation, diarrhoea or even vomiting. Aim to keep your workout time and resistance by no more than 10 per cent per week.
10. Stop a snack attack – Eliminate a taste trigger to a snack you can’t stop nibbling by eating something that is the exact opposite. For instance, if you are craving something sweet, sip something tart such as water with lemon in it. When chips or nuts are tempting, reach for an apple or a piece of cheddar to counter the salty, crunchy taste trigger.
One piece of advice experts love to give to anyone contemplating a major life change is: “Take baby steps”. By focusing instead on meeting one simple goal at a time, you might find that you have dropped a size, deepened your relationships, improved your 5km time – or that you simply smiled more often.