Increase your chances of staying youthful by following some simple nutritional guidelines
We all know how vital good quality food is — to maintain health and longevity and keep disease at bay. But health is more than just keeping track of your daily calories. Attention should be placed on improving diet quality rather than scrutinising individual foods or nutrients. We have these little things called ‘telomeres’, DNA protein structures found on the end of chromosomes. Telomeres promote stability and protect DNA. Age is the number one factor that governs the length of Telomeres, and they slowly shorten during each cell cycle. Together, psychological and behavioural factors, including the external environment — play a part in shortening telomeres. When they diminish in length, you are more prone to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers. Cindy Leung, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, along with her colleagues, examined the diets of 5,000 healthy adults, uncovering how well they scored on the top four evidence-based diets, which include;
- The Mediterranean diet
- Dash Diet
- Two other standard diets developed by the Dep of Agriculture
The women with higher scores had longer telomeres. Leung uncovered that all findings were consistent regardless of the diet. The diets for this study contained lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and more plant-based protein than red or processed meats. Sugar and sodium were also limited. These findings indicate that the Telomoers lengthen after reducing the major chronic diseases mentioned above. All diets used in this study encouraged healthy eating patterns, emphasising an anti-inflammatory environment by eating plenty of antioxidants. This is a favourable setting to lengthen telomeres.
Not all foods may affect Telomere, but we all need to eat more protective foods to negate any effects when we eat the wrong things. More research is required to uncover a few more in-depth points here, but this is a great place to begin your youthful journey. If you already eat a high antioxidant diet, you would be eating quite well and keeping those Telomeres long without even knowing. But, here are the foods that can assist you at a higher level.
Best foods for increasing Telomeres as indicated in Pub Med
- Dairy products
- 100% fruit juice (not the supermarket variety)
The foods to avoided
- Red meat
- Processed meat
- Soda, sports & energy drinks
Again, this study indicates how beneficial the Mediterranean diet is for healthy eating and lengthening telomeres. Restricting calories positively affects Telomere length, delaying the onset of ageing and age-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and various neurological disorders, cancer and obesity, possibly due to reducing oxidative stress. Although these studies on animal models have less promising results on humans, there is no doubt that people who fast regularly experience similar results. I include myself in this too. This study shows that caloric restriction is challenging, but I beg to differ. It’s not challenging- it’s a matter of sticking to it over the long term, resulting in a beneficial habit for your health and longevity. So, imagine focusing on the Mediterranean diet, fasting and exercising. Could that be the perfect way to achieve good health and anti-aging? I’ll be looking for the research piece shortly — but I like to cast myself as proof of its validity!
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