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The key to healthy longer life: Telomere

by Floro Mercene

Each time a cell divides and replicates, the DNA at the end of telomeres shorten. Since cell division happens throughout life, telomeres get shorter and shorter as we age. When the telomeres run out, the cell becomes inactive or dies, which leads to disease.

Healthy lifestyle changes like diet, sleep, and exercise have been associated with improved telomere length in studies conducted. Not-so-obvious factor influencing how your body ages is your thought patterns according to a study. People who easily become angry and get irritated by others fall in the “cynical hostility” group. It is not good for the health of their hearts or blood pressure. And it’s not good for their telomeres, too. Theirs are shorter and more likely to age faster. Pessimistic people are more likely to have shorter telomeres. Illnesses such as cancer and heart disease progress faster in the bodies of people are pessimistic. Not only did the pessimists have poorer immune system functioning, but they also had shorter telomeres than the optimists. Those who can’t let go of the past (called rumination, rehearsing what went wrong over and over again) have shorter telomeres, and it’s another destructive thought patterns for your health.

Numerous studies have found a link between stress and having shorter telomeres. By learning to reduce stress in your body, you can help to extend your lifespan. Exercise can also help to keep your telomeres from shortening. High antioxidant foods such as peppers, spinach, sweet potato, almonds, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple and kale have been shown to help protect your cells and telomeres from oxidative damage. Studies have shown that mindful meditation and practicing yoga can help keep your telomeres from shortening, even when under times of stress.