Specific nutrients naturally provide anti-aging effect through altering DNA!
“You are what you eat” or so they say. There are many factors that contribute to the human lifespan although genetics are important; our lifestyle and food habits can have a huge effect on lifespan. The 21st century has brought a new era of nutritional science, indorsing the astonishing power of nutrition. Epigenetics particularly, includes the fascinating study of how lifestyle habits and nutrition can improve health and lead to a lengthier life span. We can now understand which nutrients and food groups the body specifically needs to extend ones natural lifespan – anti aging at its best!
Epigenetics has shed a huge light in scientific research through the discovery and understanding of telomeres. Telomeres are the miniscule strands of DNA that shorten over time due to aging, poor diet and even stress! You can think of telomeres like your natural biological aging clock; putting it very simply, telomere shortening leads to age-related diseases.
But what if I told you that it is actually possible to halt and even in some cases lengthen your body’s telomeres, effectively turning back the clock? This is the remarkable age that we live in where such discoveries are at the fringe of science. By reducing oxidative stress and by improving DNA pathways (methylation specifically), we can extend telomere length! In English: by de-stressing and eating the correct nutrients we can prevent age related diseases. There are a number of specific nutrients and vitamins that support the health of DNA and extend ones natural lifespan.
– Every crumb of food that we consume results in an alteration in gene expression for better or for worse!
So what are these magical anti-aging nutrients?
Folate – B Vitamins
The DNA methylation pathway is crucial in maintaining DNA health and in preventing your precious telomeres from shortening. One study in The Journal of Nutrition found that men whose folate levels were high had by far the longest telomeres in comparison with those whose folate levels were lowest. In fact the entire Vitamin B family is connected to longer telomeres!
Foods with high Vitamin B: Eggs, certain fish (e.g. Mackerel), soy products, certain cereals (such as all bran), red meat, dairy, crustaceans and shell fish.
Zinc & Magnesium
Various studies have concluded that both zinc and magnesium are essential to accurately complete DNA sequencing when cells are replicating. A lack of these minerals can result in the DNA strands breaking, early cell destruction and hence fourth the hastening of the aging process.
Foods high in Zinc: Seafood, red meat, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts (e.g cashews), chocolate (we like this one), poultry/pork, beans and mushrooms.
Foods high in Magnesium: Leafy greens, nuts, fish, beans and lentils, avocados, whole grains, dried fruit, bananas, dark chocolate
Studies involving vitamin C have proven its significant role in slowing the loss of telomeres in the human vascular endothelial cells – these play a vital role in preventing cardiovascular disease. In fact heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world, killing 1 in 4 people! Orange anyone?
Foods high in Vitamin C: Peppers, guava, leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, oranges, tomatoes, peas and papaya.
Vitamin E tocotrienols have been shown to physically restore the length of telomeres whilst also reducing DNA damage, making it an effective life extension vitamin. This makes it possible for a nutrient to reverse telomere shortening and hence reverse one of the main underlying causes of aging. One down side is that Vitamin E tocotrienols are slightly hard to consume and are found in small amounts in few foods. Meaning an unreasonably large amount of these foods would need to be consumed (no one wants to drink a cup of palm oil a day!).
Foods high in Vitamin E tocotrienols: Palm oil, annatto seeds, barley
– alternatively take supplements (much easier!).
All in all, with all of this new knowledge, we can effectively take control of our aging process and help our bodies to at least delay the onset of age related diseases. And who knows, the future could hold the key, we may soon be able to totally halt age-related diseases and live healthier and far far longer!