Which choice are you most likely to make: you have had a stressful day, the drive home was challenging to say the least, and you aren't craving steamed broccoli – more like an entire bag of potato chips. When you finally get home do you grab a glass of grape derived "medicine" and plop down in front of the news or take a seat on your meditation cushion and center yourself? Opting for meditation over marinating in stress hormones may help you to live longer and stronger.
The "fountain of youth" can flow when you are under the influence of meditation and healthy eating, you can positively affect the length of your telomeres. Telomeres are sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes and are considered an index of cell age, acting like a clock in the lifespan of a cell. Typically, telomeres get shorter and shorter as we age. The shorter these DNA "buffers" become, the life expectancy of our cells is reduced along with our longevity. In other words, the shorter our telomeres, the shorter our lives. New evidence suggests that shorter telomeres also increase the risk for the common cold and increased frequency of getting a cold. So, how can our lifestyle choices and habits have a positive effect on our telomeres? For starters, rather than throwing in the towel and bellying up to a TV dinner in front of the evening news, take heart, take a breath and take a seat to turn the fate of your DNA and life in the direction of long and strong!
The first step to telomere recovery is to open your mind and decrease your BUT (eg. BUT I am too busy, BUT I am too overwhelmed, BUT I am too…whatever). Look for limiting beliefs you may have about your ability to be more proactive in managing your level of stress through a daily commitment to meditation. Research scientists from UC Davis saw that study participants who performed daily meditation had higher telomerase activity compared to non meditators. Telomerase is an enzyme that repairs, strengthens and lengthens telomeres. The simple and powerful practice of meditation helps to bring greater resilience, purpose and meaning into life. Scientists believe this practice of meditation helps to buffer telomeres from the detrimental effects of stress to our DNA.
Vitamin D status may also give an indication of how our telomeres are doing. New evidence links higher blood levels of vitamin D with longer telomeres and greater longevity. We know of course that the best source of vitamin D comes to us direct from the sun. It is also found in fatty fish and fortified milk and juice products. Vitamin D3 can also be taken in supplement form.
As we mentioned stress can shorten telomere length – but we didn't specifically say way. It is likely due to inflammation – and one of the best ways to stifle inflammation is to make sure to include a wide range of antioxidants in the diet. Vegetables, omega-3 rich fatty fish, and herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Green tea and dark chocolate (cacao) both contain powerful antioxidants that contribute to longevity and are a great addition to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Need more inspiration, motivation…greater leverage? Less disease, more happiness, longer life, beautiful skin, awesome heart health, greater passion, energy, clarity and creativity, fulfillment and epic sleep just to name a few positive side effects of these lifestyle practices.
Take a breath and remember who you really are. Let go of the drama and embrace your DNA. Choose to step up to healthy eating, and sit down and allow the current of peace that is always present to surround you. Your telomeres will respond gratefully