WELLNESS--Telomeres are the caps on our chromosome strands, which hold all of our DNA information. These caps are similar to the plastic ends on shoelaces, which prevent the lace from fraying. Similarly, telomeres keep our DNA strands strong and healthy and they also prevent them from fusing together. With each cell renewal however, our telomeres begin to shorten. As we age, these caps become shorter and shorter and eventually disappear. This process causes the cells to die. Research is suggesting that shorter telomeres equal a shorter life.
The exciting news is that science is beginning to find ways to lengthen our telomeres and slow the process of our cells decline. And in turn, this research may help us to live longer and healthier lives.
Here is a short list of some health and lifestyle practices that have been shown to slow the shortening of our telomeres and potentially lengthen them too:
Supplement Multivitamins - Find a high-quality multivitamin with minerals that is formulated using whole foods whenever possible. Taking a multivitamin is like an insurance policy for your health and can fill in the blanks when it comes to the nutrients you may not be getting from your foods.
Eat Plenty of Antioxidant Rich Produce - Antioxidants have been shown to not only boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease, but Vitamins A, B12, C, D3, and E may also lengthen telomeres. Ensure that your multivitamin has high levels of these vitamins and eat a diet rich in antioxidants.
Selenium & Glutathione - Receiving higher levels of selenium and glutathione daily with a supplement and in your foods such as Brazil nuts, oysters, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, spinach, and beets has also shown positive results in the study of longevity.
Supplement TA-65 - This patented product is derived from the plant astragalus and has been touted to increase telomerase, the active protein enzyme that strengthens our telomeres. Further studies are still required but so far the research is promising.
Sleep - Make sure to get 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night and take a nap if necessary. Plenty of rest may slow the shortening of our telomeres.
Meditation - Stress can speed up the process of this telomere shortening. By de-stressing and finding spiritual practices that lower the stress hormone cortisol we also slow the aging process.
Yoga - Yoga has been proven to reduce overall stress in the body and in turn, decelerate the process of our telomeres shortening.
HIIT and Regular Exercise - Doing High Intensity Interval Training, which is cardiovascular exercise that involves shorter, 30-second sprints with rest periods in between, we can work to lengthen telomeres by sending highly oxygenated blood into our cells. Any exercise is better than none at all and will benefit your health regardless.
Much research is still being done into activating telomerase and lengthening telomeres but the future looks very bright when it comes to extending lives and decreasing possible illness. In the meantime, choosing to increase your antioxidant levels, decrease stress, and exercise more are definitely beneficial in the long-term.
These simple and consistent lifestyle steps can only prove to strengthen your system and potentially help you to live longer. By choosing even a few of the tips above, you are improving your odds of having a long, healthy, and happy life.
By the way, if your family or friends try to guilt you for taking naps each day, simply tell them “I’m not napping, I am lengthening my telomeres!”
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the best-selling author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)