By Theresa Albert, Toronto Nutritionist, www.myfriendinfood.com
The health science community is abuzz with a thing called telomeres (tea-low-mere-z) that are in every cell in your body and are an indication of the aging process. The discovery of telomeres won the Nobel Prize in 2009 and now they can be tested. Do you want to know if you your cells tell an older or younger story than your years? Do you want to protect them to slow the aging process and/or forestall any age related illness as long as possible? Um, yes.
Telomeres are the tips of your chromosomes that hold together information. Think of them like the plastic ends of shoelaces, when they get old and brittle and fray, you can’t thread them into your shoes. The same goes for cells. If they become frayed, they can’t replicate themselves and keep new, healthy cells growing to keep you young and vital. Or worse, replicate in a mutant way and become cancer cells.
There are foods and activities that factor into telomere protection, this is why people like me are always harping you to eat more high nutrient foods. Not because we like to harp, more because we like you.
Each of the following foods have been studied for their positive impact on health. It is unknown how or why they do what they do but as science moves forward, I bet we will see the connection to telomere protection.
The truth, though, is…who cares? They are delicious and easily worked into your meals. Each one here has a corresponding recipe for your dining pleasure.
Consume High nutrient, low calorie foods like:
Whole Grains like quinoa and millet
Beans and Pulses
Nuts and seeds
Avoid processed sugar and flour
Of course, you want to avoid processed sugar and flour, limit alcohol and get as much sleep as possible but one of the more fascinating things under discovery is the impact of stress on telomeres.
The two things that have been shown to shorten telomeres are stress and early childhood trauma. Now obviously, you can’t avoid either but you can figure them out, and put to rest the rumination that can occur after such events. Most of the problem is in your mind and doing whatever it takes to let that go will have a positive impact on your health. It is now proven, no longer the hoo hoo of hippies. Chill and live better for it.