Talk to any anti-aging scientist right now and they’ll mention telomeres. The longer yours are the better – and slower – you will age. Rick Hay suggests foods to lengthen yours
Telomeres are like protective bookends on the end of our chromosomes. Long healthy ones appear to be the key to protecting against age related illnesses and some would say they could be the key to slowing the ageing process itself.
You might have heard of the antioxidant resveratrol, rich in dark green and purple foods such as blueberries, grapes (and red wine). Resveratrol has been shown to both protect and lengthen telomeres.
I’m an advocate of a good glass of red every night with dinner but to get sufficient therapeutic amounts of resveratrol you’d have to drink hundreds of bottles which kind of negates the health benefits of of the red wine! You can purchase resveratrol as a supplement but antioxidants are best taken from foods rather than in pills so if you’re opting for a supplement, check it’s food derived not synthetically produced. Try Advanced Resveratrol & Cherry (£25.40).
There are other foods and nutrients that may assist in protecting telomeres and in the activation of telomerase. Telomerase is an enzyme that keeps your telomeres in good shape and by having healthy lengthy telomeres you will hopefully be protected from many age-related illnesses.
These foods not only protect telomeres but ongoing research is indicating that these nutrients that help lengthen telomeres also give you more energy and to boost your immune system in general.
Here are my 5 top tasty telomere-boosting nutrients that I advise you try and incorporate into your diet on a daily basis:
Studies have shown that longer telomeres are associated with high antioxidant and Polyphenol intake so think berries, wheatgrass, barleygrass, chlorella, turmeric, hemp protein, astaxanthin, co-enzyme Q10, green tea or organic cacao. If you want an all in one powder or supplement to put in your daily smoothie try Sunwarrior Organic Ormus Supergreens 454 g or The Best Superfood Berry Blend from Fushi The Best Superfood Berry Blend 150g (£20.45). Pulsin Hemp Isolate Protein Powder 1Kg (£18.60) and Synergy Natural Organic Super Greens Powder – 200g (£14.86) contain plenty of high-potency antioxidants.
2. VITAMIN D RICH FOODS
Foods that are high in vitamin D are also telomere protectors – these include fish, tofu, eggs, oysters, mushrooms and caviar if you’re feeling extravagant.
Lentils and spinach are perfect as they are high in folate which promotes telomere health. Spinach makes a great addition to any juice or smoothie and lentils are a great source of protein and fibre to add to any soup.
This mineral is believed to influence telomere length by helping with the integrity and repair of DNA so keep up your intake of dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocados, bananas and figs.
5. LESS STRESS
Okay, so it’s not exactly a food but it’s important. Keeping stress at bay will also help with telomere length and plays a key part in slowing down ageing. Life’s too short not to indulge from time to time – no telomere pun intended. So whilst you’re enjoying that glass of red wine with dinner why not have a piece of dark organic chocolate for dessert as that delicious, dark organic chocolate is also rich in magnesium.
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Rick Hay is an Anti Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista. Picture: Lydia Jones