Aging is a natural process our bodies go through and isn’t something you can stop from happening. For decades, scientists have searched for the fountain of youth to no avail. However, a team of Korean scientists might be on to something when it comes to delaying the aging process.
They found that you can easily add years to your life by making smarter food choices when you are younger. So, forget about expensive lotions and facial creams with harmful ingredients to turn back the hands of time. While the possibility of eternal life is still very slim, your best bet to live a long, disease-free life seems to be living a simple, organic and active life.
While it is no secret that the acceleration of the aging process is caused by excessive sugar, stress and toxicity, among other lifestyle factors, the Korean researchers found that consumption of some micronutrients, including vitamin C, folate and potassium can significantly delay the biological aging process.
What do telomeres have to do with aging?
According to the scientists, the leukocyte telomere length (LTL), or the parts that may reflect cumulative oxidative stress and indicate biological aging, might hold the key to naturally slowing down the aging process, and keep us looking and feeling younger. As reported by Dr. Axe, telomeres are segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes, which can be compared to the plastic tips of shoelaces that keep the laces together.
Telomeres prevent chromosomes from fraying or tangling which can lead to genetic information getting mixed up or destroyed. And their length matters. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter, which eventually leads to cell loss. Previous studies have associated the shortening of telomeres with aging, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, cardiovascular diseases, several types of cancer and a higher risk of death.
Luckily, there are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to lengthen your telomeres to slow down aging and possibly reduce the risk of some of these diseases.
The impact of a healthy diet on telomere length
For their study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, the scientists followed the aging process of nearly 2,000 men and women aged between 40 and 69 for 10 years. They discovered that the consumption of certain micronutrients was associated with the length of telomeres and delayed biological aging.
While many factors play a role in how long we will live, committing to a healthy and active lifestyle packed with nutrient-rich foods is your best bet to slow down the aging process and stave off age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.
The research team, led by J.-Y. Lee from Kookmin University in South Korea, found that foods rich in vitamin C, folate and potassium had a positive effect on the leukocyte telomere length. Furthermore, they reported that the effect was only apparent in middle-aged adults under the age of 50.
“Our findings suggest that the earlier consumption of vitamin C, folate and potassium, which are abundant in fruits and vegetables, can delay biological aging in middle-aged and older adults,” the research team concluded.
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