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5 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Food

The most common complaint I hear from people is that they are exhausted or have low energy. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can give your energy a significant boost. Here are some of my favorites:

Give Your Mitochondria a Boost: Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies and in some foods that is necessary to provide energy to our cells. Inside our cells there is a micro-sized energy manufacturing facility known as the mitochondria. Mitochondria depend on CoQ10, as it is also called, to boost energy for every cellular function, including brain functions. Unfortunately, this nutrient can become depleted as we age or experience health issues. Coenzyme Q10 is primarily found in legumes, nuts, fish and poultry.

Eat Every 2 to 3 Hours: When we’re busy, rushed or on-the-go, it’s easy to skip meals or go long periods of time between meals—the worst thing you can do for your energy levels. To keep energy high you need to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops since the resulting cascade of hormones causes an energy roller coaster ride. You may feel fine one minute and then exhausted the next. The best and easiest way to maintain balanced blood sugar levels is to eat every two or three hours. It doesn’t need to be a lot of food; just a snack will do. But, you must be consistent.

Eat zinc-rich foods: The mineral zinc is involved in dozens of chemical reactions linked to energy creation in the body, so ensuring your diet has enough zinc is critical to experience an energy boost. Zinc is also necessary for healthy blood, bones, brain, heart, liver and muscles, so if you’re lacking this vital nutrient, you can experience a wide range of deficiency symptoms. Some signs of a zinc deficiency include: acne, brittle nails, infertility, frequent colds or flu, low sperm count or slow hair or nail growth. Zinc is also essential to prostate health. For more information check out my blog “9 Simple Ways to Drastically Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk.” Eat zinc-rich foods like sprouts, pumpkin seeds, onions, sunflower seeds, nuts, leafy greens, beets, carrots or peas frequently throughout the day.

pumpkin seeds

To B or Not to B: There are many vitamins found within the B-Complex, including B1, B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, folic acid, B12, B13, B15, B17, choline, inositol, biotin and PABA. It’s not necessary to remember all of their names, but it is important to ensure adequate B vitamin intake to experience more energy. B vitamins are essential for energy production. And, the more stressful your life is, the more your body depletes these vital nutrients. Additionally, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, that’s an additional stressor to your body. Because B vitamins are not manufactured or stored by the body, it’s imperative to get B vitamin-rich foods every day. Some of the best food sources of these nutrients include: brown rice, root vegetables, pumpkin seeds, citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe, kale, green vegetables and legumes. For an added boost, take a B complex supplement (50 or 100 mg) once or twice a day.  Keeping your gut healthy is also essential to proper nutrient absorption.

Ensure that every meal or snack has some protein in it: While many diet programs would have you believe that protein equals meat, the reality is that meat takes a lot of energy to digest and tends to sit in the digestive tract for many hours. There are many other excellent sources of protein, including: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, legumes like chickpeas or lentils, avocado, nuts like raw walnuts or almonds and coconut milk. The protein causes a consistent release of energy over time and helps to avoid the blood sugar energy crashes most people experience. Did you notice that pumpkin seeds and legumes keep showing up in the foods that help boost energy? When you need a quick energy boost, these foods will help supply numerous vital nutrients.  Check out “Top Vegan Sources of Protein” for more information.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook       April 1, 2016      Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!

To learn more about keeping your gut healthy, check out my blog “5 Reasons Why Your Gut is the Key to Great Health.”


Migraines Linked To Lack Of Specific Vitamins

Many young adults, teens and children with migraines are deficient in these three nutrients, study finds.

Mild deficiency of coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and vitamin D has been found in a high percentage of patients with migraines.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that supplementation of coenzyme Q10, riboflavin and vitamin D may benefit migraine patients.

The patients’ blood levels of vitamin D, coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin were checked.

Deficient patients were given vitamin supplementation.

Young women and girls were more likely to be deficient  in coenzyme Q10 compared to young men and boys.

However, young men and boys were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.


Patients who suffered from chronic migraines compared to episodic migraines had higher coenzyme Q10 and riboflavin deficiency.

Coenzyme Q10 — a vitamin-like substance — is a key to energy production in the human body.

Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney naturally contain high levels of coenzyme Q10.

It has also been found in beef, mackerel, sardines, nuts, shellfish, broccoli, dark leafy greens, pork and chicken.

Riboflavin is known as vitamin B2 and, like the other B vitamins, plays a role in energy production and is involved in many other functions such as eye, skin and digestive health.

Foods rich in riboflavin include organ meats, lean meats, eggs, milk, cheese, leafy vegetables, almonds, mushrooms, legumes and fortified grains and cereals.

Vitamin D can be obtained from sun exposure, oily fish such as salmon, and supplements.

In addition to being essential for bone and mental health, vitamin D is involved in the reduction of inflammation, neuromuscular and immune function and modulation of cell growth.

Dr Suzanne Hagler, the lead author of this study, said:

“Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation.”

The study was presented on June 10, 2016 at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego.

23RD JUNE 2016     MINA DEAN


Why CoQ10 Is A Super Powerful Antioxidant: A Cardiologist Explains


Let’s go back to 1981, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I am sitting in a large auditorium in the medical school basement trying to stay awake. The room is warm and there is no ventilation. The lecturer is reviewing the pathways by which the body, and parts of cells, called mitochondria, make energy. I hear Krebs Cycle and electron chain transport and almost doze. ATP, ADP, phosphorylation and then CoQ10 (short for CoenzymeQ 10). A few weeks, there was an exam and I moved on to clinical rotations.

All that biochemistry faded into distant memory for about 25 years.

Fast forward to 2006, and I am browsing the Internet, reading about ways to treat a patient’s advanced congestive heart failure and…..deja vu. A cardiologist was writing about boosting ATP production by using targeted vitamins that made mitochondria run more efficiently.

I read several papers, then a book, and then began recommending CoQ10 routinely for my patients. The response was overwhelmingly positive with better energy, better breathing, and fewer visits to the hospital.

What CoQ10 do?

COQ10 is made by the human body and may be the most abundant antioxidant in cells producing energy like the heart and brain. In fact, CoQ10 is concentrated right in the mitochondria to counter the free oxygen radicals (rust) produced during energy production.

CoQ10 is also used in the production of energy (ATP) itself and all cells would stop working if we had none. When we reach about age 40 the production of CoQ10 throughout the body begins to fall. In disease states like congestive heart failure, it may fall even further.

How can you boost levels of CoQ10?

Levels can be boosted by eating foods rich in CoQ10, such as whole grains, fish, and organ meats (liver, heart, kidney). CoQ10 is also widely available as a supplement and taking extra CoQ10 boosts blood and tissue levels.


Can you use CoQ10 to manage medical issues?

The Mayo Clinic listed 35 illness where studies have been done with some support for CoQ10. Let’s look at a few.

1. Congestive Heart Failure.

This serious weakening of the heart effects the quality and quantity of life for many people. Since 2006, I have seen many of my patients show improved heart function by adding CoQ10. Recently a major scientific presentation reported on 420 patients with congestive heart failure who got CoQ10 or placebo. After two years, 25% of the patients on placebo had an event but only 14% in those on CoQ10. Even more impressive, 17% of patients died in the placebo group versus 9% in the CoQ10 arm. Not bad for a vitamin you can buy at your grocery store!

2. Heart disease prevention.

Researchers in Sweden reported last year on over 400 healthy persons over age 70 who were given CoQ10 and another nutrient selenium or matching placebo pills. The vitamin group had half the cardiac death rate in five years of follow up and better heart function compared to the “sugar pills.”

3. Hypertension.

Elevated blood pressure affects tens of millions of persons and may have genetic and lifestyle abnormalities at its root cause. A group called the Cochrane Database Review looked at studies of CoQ10 for hypertension and found an average 11 mmHg BP drop, similar to many prescription medications.

4. Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

This common progressive neurologic disorder is associated with increased production of oxygen radicals (rust). A recent study found that a deficiency in the antioxidant CoQ10 was 4 times as likely among people with Parkinson’s Disease compared to the general population. A review examined studies of using CoQ10 supplements in this disorder and found that improvements in quality of life were seen in patients with PD.

5. Gum disease.

Inflammation of the gums is called periodontal disease and may trigger inflammation that effects the whole body, including blood vessels and the heart. CoQ10 may be deficient in gum disease but boosting levels in the gums by taking supplements or applying CoQ10 topically can be an effective approach and research studies show faster healing.

Practitioners of yoga know that prana, or a life force, enters the body through breath and is sent to every cell by the circulatory system. Thirty years later, I now see that a connection between that hot lecture hall in Ann Arbor and the hot yoga room where I practice today exists.

Energy in your life is crucial and CoQ10 maybe serve as a part of a program to boost your vitality.