What You Need to Know About Your Body’s Natural Energy Booster

What You Need to Know About Your Body’s Natural Energy Booster

Think of mitochondria as the power plants in your cells. Without them, your cells aren’t able to do their job.

Mitochondria is the power source in every cell in your body. These dynamic organelles convert oxygen and nutrients into a chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that fuel a cell’s metabolic activity.

If these mighty mitos can’t deliver the energy your body needs, various organ systems suffer—your heart most of all. That’s because it’s a huge consumer of energy. It beats around three billion times by the time you hit age 80.

So what prevents mitochondria from doing their job? Often, obesity and diabetes. A study in Circulation Research found that mitochondria becomes misshapen and causes heart cells to overuse fat as fuel in people with diabetes. This lipid overload increases your risk of heart failure two- to five-fold.

If you want to age well and prevent disease, protect your mighty mitos by embracing a diabetes-preventing or diabetes-reversing lifestyle. That means eating seven to nine servings of vegetables and fruits daily and walking 10,000 steps or the equivalent every day. You can track your steps with Sharecare, an app for iOS and Android. Be sure to also avoid all trans fats and most saturated fats, added sugar and highly processed foods.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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