Telomere Protection No. 1: Exercise
Nobel laureate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn’s first book The Telomere Effect stated that telomeres can be extended with proper aerobic exercise! It is recommended to exercise three times a week for 45 minutes per session, and you can have the telomere almost as long as the marathon runners. If you are not a big fan of aerobic exercise, you may try the popular HIIT（high intensity interval training）in recent years. The strategy is to finish maximum intensity exercise in a short period of time with less intense recovery periods which makes HIIT workout a time-saving training method. However, if “overtraining syndrome” occurs, exercising won’t extend the telomere but to have it shorten quicker.
Telomere Protection No. 2: Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has the best effect for telomeres protection. The Mediterranean diet mentioned here does not refer to the dietary habits of countries around the Mediterranean, but the healthy diets in general. A 10-year study in South Korea showed that compared to those who eat red meat, processed meats, and drink carbonated beverages, the ones that eat beans, nuts, seaweed, fruits, and dairy products have longer telomere lengths. In addition, free radicals can also damage the length of telomeres, so antioxidant-related foods can help maintain the telomeres, for example: citrus, berries, apples, plums, carrots, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
Telomere Protection No. 3: Omega-3
Having the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids is good for the maintenance of telomeres, and is also the easiest way. You can eat omega-3 dietary supplements, fish oil, as well as other food that are rich in fat like fatty fish, stone fruits, flax seeds, linseed oil, leafy vegetables, etc. to ingest omega 3.
Telomere Protection No. 4: Stay Positive
People often say that those who are stressed out look older. Professor Blackburn and Professor of Psychology Elissa S. Epel are also curious to know whether the higher the pressure, the shorter the telomeres. The most stressful people in the world are probably the housewives who take care of their sick children! Therefore, they found a group of mothers who had been looking after sick children for many years, and compared their average telomere length, and discovered that their telomere length were really shorter! When you are under pressure, the reactions of anxious, fear, and insecure will come along, which are likely to affect the length of the telomeres; on the contrary, those who are more positive, confident and full of hope have longer telomeres. In one word, as long as we remain positive attitude when facing challenges, we will have a healthier and younger body.
After learning the four ways to protect telomeres, how do I know if they work?
If you want to know whether your cholesterol levels are back to normal or the uric acid concentration has decreased after changing your diet, you can check the blood test report to see if it works. If you want to know whether your change of living habits has kept your cells young, you may use the “telomere index test” to know your body’s aging condition. With scientific methods, we can have a healthier and more vibrant life.