I always feel lethargic and mentally fatigued. How do I tackle it?

It starts in the powerhouse of your body cells – mitochondria. It is like the engine of a car or a processor of a laptop which determines the efficiency of the cells and, thus, efficiency of the body. Mitochondria releases energy in the form of ATP and dictates how you feel all the time. With optimum functioning of mitochondria, the cells of the body can work to their full capacity and we feel vibrant and zestful.

As we age, the mitochondria’s functioning is compromised just like a laptop that lags due to an old processor. The mitochondria become weaker and fewer in number with ageing. Due to this mitochondrial insufficiency, lethargy and mental fatigue sets in.

Here are some of the ways we can beat the mitochondrial insufficiency and live a spirited life:

• Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant foods suppress inflammation. Avoid sugar, dairy, gluten, refined vegetable oils and have more of omega 3 fats, nuts, meat, fresh vegetables and fruits, gluten-free carbs. Oxidative stress is the origin of ageing and mitochondrial damage, which should be curbed with anti-oxidants in food.

• Good sleep enables the mitochondria to clear waste from our body cells through a process called glymphatic system. This is why good sleep is important to rejuvenate our mind and body.

• Moderate or high-intensity interval training has proven to increase mitochondrial mass. This process is called mitochondrial biogenesis. Workout improves mitochondrial function and helps our brain function better.

• Minimise exposure to pesticides, genetically modified foods such as corn, soy, grain-fed meat. Opt for organic foods, grass-fed meat and free-range eggs, among other healthy foods.

• Stop popping pills for minor health issues without your physician’s advice. Studies have shown that many of the commonly used drugs like asprin, antibiotics, statins, paracetamol, NSAIDs, Indomethacin (pain killer) damage the mitochondria. Some of these impair the energy production and increase the oxidative stress in the body.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.