Ageing, Health

How to keep your telomeres long

What are telomeres?

Recently, I wrote about how our telomeres shorten as we age – or conversely, we age as our telomeres become shorter.

Telomeres are the tiny ‘caps’ that book-end our chromosomes, preventing them from becoming damaged or tangled.  While our understanding of why and how they make a difference, in simple terms, longer telomeres are good.

one telomere admiring the other telomere's length
Telomere envy

How can I keep my telomeres healthy?

In reviewing ways to keep our telomeres healthy, a Mumbai news article (Livemint e paper), recently recommended that  exercise and a healthy diet can slow down the ageing process, offering the following advice for glowing, youthful skin:.

  • Drink milk (or water) with a pinch of fresh turmeric.
  • Shun refined sugar and replace with naturally occurring sources of sugar such as milk and fruit.
  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables for a fresh complexion and mental acuity.
  • Red tomatoes contribute antioxidants to your body, for glowing skin and strong muscles.
  • Keep things ‘moving’ with fibre from vegetables, legumes, grains and fruit.
  • Include some oils – olive oil, almonds and walnuts.
  • Include lots of oranges for the benefit that Vitamin C brings to your skin.

A 2016 series of studies which looked at the impact of diet, exercise and stress on the health of our telomeres concluded that while ‘inflammation, oxidation, damage and dysfunction are constantly hacking away at our telomeres… our antioxidant defenses, healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction are constantly rebuilding them.’ The pro-exercise, anti-stress and good dietary recommendations above are confirmed in an article by nutrition expert Dr Axe who encourages us to include antioxidant foods such as berries and artichokes in our diet. To further nurture our cells, he suggests we add oranges, peppers and kale for vitamin C , and almonds, spinach and sweet potatoes for vitamin E.

In summary, to keep our telomeres healthy, we should exercise regularly, steer away from avoidable stressors, include a variety of ‘good’ fruit and veg and limit our consumption of saturated fats found in salmon, meat, eggs, and dairy.

Your thoughts

I’m sure readers will have varying views about the value of diet, rest and exercise on our longevity. Please comment below and start the conversation. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]





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