Who wouldn’t like to live young forever? 😁 Well, this kind of sounds out of the world live in.
what about live longer while slowing aging? This one sounds more realistic. Well, the good news is that this one is doable!
Before I dig in how this magic can happen, let me explain a little the process of aging.
Why do we age?🤔
Aging is a natural phenomenon that even start its process in the womb. Sounds crazy right! So we start getting old even before birth. The culprit of all of this is a tiny cap called Telomere, which is located at the extremities of the chromosome. This cap keeps your DNA from unraveling and fraying. Think of it as the plastic tips on the end of your shoelaces.
Most cells in our body divide and replace themselves during our lifetime with exception of some cells in organs like our heart or the brain. (for example, when a brain cells dies, well it is not going to get replaced like say your skin cells which dies and replace themselves many times).
Each time your cells divide, however, a bit of the telomere (that cap) is lost. and who the telomere is completely gone, your cells can die. Let’s take the skin again for example. As we start reaching our senior age; our skin begins to wrinkle. That’s because many of the skin cells have died and they won’t get replaced as we were in 20’s.
To summarize with telomeres, note that they shouldn’t be vilified though. They actually save our life from keeping our cells to go out of control like cancer cells. Cancer cells keeps replicating and are immortal because no telomere get lost in their process of multiplying.
You could prematurely burn away your telomere cap by living an unhealthy lifestyle like smoking for instance, which is associated with triple the rate of telomere loss.
On the other hands, adopting a healthy lifestyle, especially through what you eat could slow the rate of telomere loss in your cells!
So what should I eat to slow my telomere?🤔
Micheal Greger, M.D., FACLM wrote a best-seller nutrition book called “How Not To Die” (It’s a great book, get it if you can!). In his book, he took for example a Bristlecone pine tree growing in White Mountains of California, which at the time he wrote it, the tree was nearing its 4,800 birthday.
This tree is the oldest recorded living being and its secret lies in his roots, which contain an enzyme called telomerase that appear to peak a few thousand of years in its lifespan. Researchers found that telomerase is also present in human cells, but their activity is somehow turn off or little. Greger wrote that certain foods can turn on this enzyme and protect our cells for a longer period, slowing aging.
Eat a whole-food plant-based diet!
Micheal Greger, M.D. said in the study funded by the U.S Department of Defense, they found that three months of whole-food plant-based nutrition and other healthy changes could significantly boost telomerase activity, the only intervention ever shown to do so.
He said this study has been proven by a five year follow up study, in which a control group with participants did not change they lifestyle, their telomere predictably shrank with age. But for the healthy-living group, not only their telomeres were even longer on average than when they started, suggesting a healthy lifestyle can boost telomerase enzyme activity and reverse cellular aging.
He also mentioned that the same diet and lifestyle changes has been proven to halt and apparently reverse the progression of cancer in certain circumstances.
So the magic is actually eating more whole-food plant-based nutrition!