The Best Foods for Telomere Health

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by Nils Osmar. January 25, 2022

Telomeres – the end caps on our DNA – are an important marker of aging. They don’t drive aging as far as we know, but their length is intertwined with the aging process. As the years go by our telomeres shorten and our health declines. The enzyme telomerase is associated with longer telomeres.

  • The best foods for supporting your telomeres are: fish and seafood. In a recent study, researchers from the University of California found that patients with the highest levels of omega 3 fats had the slowest rate of telomere shortening.
  • The worst food for telomere health is processed meat (such as cold luncheon meats.
  • The most effective supplements are astragalus and ashwagandha.
  • One way to increase telomerase and improve the health of our telomeres is to take astragalus, an herb from Chinese medicine. Ashwagandha works in a similar way.
  • Exercise is also linked with the health our telomeres; the less we exercise, the shorter they tend to be.

Food Groups Associated with Longer Telomeres:

  1. Fish and other seafood
  2. Seaweed and algae
  3. Olive oil (and other sources of oleic acid)
  4. Milk and dairy.
  5. Cheese and cottage cheese
  6. Yogurt
  7. Coffee
  8. Nuts and legumes
  9. Oats
  10. Flax
  11. Spinach
  12. Mushrooms (also high in spermidine)
  13. Fruit (whole/unsweetened)
  14. Berries

Diets Associates With Longer Telomeres:

  1. Mediterranean Diets (mostly plant based, but including some fish, cheese, eggs, poultry and rabbit meat)
  2. DASH diet (high in fruit and vegetables; also contains whole grains, and some lean meats, chicken, and beans)

* According to the Mayo Clinic, the key elements of the Mediterranean diet are:

  • Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats
  • Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
  • Moderate portions of dairy products
  • Limited intake of red meat
  • “Fish are important in the Mediterranean diet. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and lake trout — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that may reduce inflammation in the body.”

Foods Associated with Shorter Telomeres:

  1. processed meat
  2. alcohol (all kinds)
  3. sugary beverages
  4. soda
  5. soft drinks
  6. sport drinks
  7. energy drinks
  8. diet soda
  9. fruit juice 

Sources – More Information:

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