Intent on making your Best Year Ever? We can help with that, thanks to our Coach of the Month series. Here, health psychologist Elissa Epel— along with Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, co-authors of the just-released book The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer —lays out the ideal diet for optimal telomere health. Between advocates of gluten-free and dairy-free and high fat and low carb, there’s already too much conflicting nutrition advice on what we should be eating. So let me make this simple for you. To start with, Michael Pollan ‘s synthesis of decades of nutrition research holds well: “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. Gravitate toward the produce section, stay away from those Golden Arches. And telomere science supports it—a whole food diet is related to longer telomeres, and the American diet high in meat and processed foods is related to shorter telomeres.
Get Started Or call We used to believe that our DNA was our destiny. The exciting news is that our lifestyle choices can impact our DNA. In , Elizabeth Blackburn and her colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for unlocking the mysteries of telomeres, the end caps that protect our chromosomes. Telomeres have been likened to the plastic tips of a shoelace. When they get damaged, the shoelaces our chromosomes become frayed and can no longer do their job well. Telomeres are shortened every time our cells replicate and naturally shorten as we age. They can also be shortened by an unhealthy lifestyle : poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep, smoking, obesity and stress. Longer telomeres have been associated with longer lives. The September issue of The Lancet featured one of the first studies to determine the effects of lifestyle on telomere length. Researchers Dean Ornish, MD, Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, and colleagues reported that a comprehensive lifestyle shift resulted in elongated telomeres in men with low-risk prostate cancer. The lifestyle changes included a low-fat, plant-based diet, moderate daily exercise, stress management and social support.
Telomere length and long-term endurance exercise: Does exercise training affect biological age? Indeed, most countries are seeing their demographic structure getting older. Now, while telomeres naturally shorten as we age, research has found that there may be ways to slow down the telomere shortening process. Aerobic exercise lengthens telomeres and reduces stress in family caregivers: A randomized controlled trial—Curt Richter Award Paper Carotenoids are the organic pigments responsible for the bright colors of many fruits and vegetables. Shortened telomeres in individuals with abuse in alcohol consumption.