Can telomere health be the next step forward in finding everlasting life and preventing disease, or is telomere length testing “molecular palm reading?" Read on to find out what researchers are saying about these tiny molecular structures that protect our DNA.
What is a Telomere?
Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, think about the plastic tip at the end of a shoelace. Without these caps our DNA can become damaged and then our cells can’t do their job.
Why Does it Matter to me?
Research shows that the length of these telomeres shorten with age because each time the cell divides, it loses length. In human beings, telomere shortening is a potential predictor for disease risk and progression. One study found that telomere length was associated with likelihood of developing and dying from cancer. However, an enzyme called telomerase can help prevent the shortening of the telomeres. Telomerase acts as an “anti-aging” enzyme. Measuring the length of telomeres in a blood sample can potentially predict one’s propensity for longevity and health. However, the research also shows chronic stress and high cortisol levels begin to decrease your supply of telomeres.
Lifestyle Changes to Maintain the Length of Your Telomeres
You may be wondering, how can I lengthen my telomeres to live forever? The answer to that question is unfortunately not so black and white. Although longevity and a lower incidence of disease was seen in individuals with longer telomeres, too much telomerase can be just as bad as too little. There is no secret pill or telomerase shot that can be given to lengthen your telomeres, but you can maintain their length. Below are some recommendations to help you potentially find that perfect amount of telomerase and live a long healthy life.
Eat a well balanced diet: rich in whole foods, plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, legumes, low in fat and refined carbohydrates, and high in antioxidants
Implement a time restricted feeding window. This can be done daily through a 12-14 hour fast or a 24-48 hour fast, once every couple of months (please note: this is not advised in elite level athletes).
Include physical activity: research found that the more physically active individuals were, the less likely they were to have short telomeres
For example, walking 30 minutes per day for 6 times a week
Or moderate exercise, 45 minutes per day for 3 times a week
Have a strong social support system: being active in the community/ church, stronger connection with friends and family
Manage your stress: gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation, imagery, and progressive relaxation for 60 minutes daily
Research shows that individuals who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon, avocados, and walnuts had longer telomeres.
Want to Learn More? This video is a great overview on nutrigenomics and telomere health!
Blackened Salmon Tacos
For the rice:
3/4 cup uncooked forbidden rice (black rice)
For the salmon:
1 pound fresh salmon
1 tablespoon blackening seasoning
For the mango guacamole:
1 medium ripe avocado
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 ripe mango, diced
Zest and juice of 1 small lime
Salt and pepper to taste
For the tacos:
8 corn tortillas
To garnish: extra cilantro & diced red onion
What Will You Do To Maintain Your Telomere Length?
Follow Us on Social Media and Let Us Know!
Facebook: Functional Fueling
Fuel More Functionally, Jacquelyn