De-Stress for Youth

October 21, 2010

People in all walks of life experience high stress levels whether through normal day to day involvements or out of the ordinary life events.  At the same time, we're becoming increasingly aware of the long-term health issues caused by chronic anxiety, including cardiovascular disease and poor immune function.  Recent research indicates that stress drives early aging by heightening wear on our bodies by affecting our DNA structure! Understanding the basic mechanics of aging can help us maintain a healthy lifestyle long into our mature years. As we age our chromosomes erode. Conversely, if our chromosomes erode, we age. A chromosome has built-in protection called telomeres - regions of repetitive DNA at its ends which protect it from deterioration. These telomeres become shorter as we mature, offering less protection to the chromosomes. Research has long shown that stress also contributes to the breakdown of telomeres and can speed up the aging process.  Accompanying the telomeres is an enzyme, telomerase, that adds DNA sequence repeats to the telemere, preserving length and enabling continued protection of the chromosome. What is the good news here?  Lifestyle changes can increase the production of telomerase, prolonging the healthy status of chromosomes. Even better news is that the prescribed regimen changes are familiar to anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle. What are the top lifestyle changes to maintain youth?
  1. Manage your stress. Studies show an increase in telomerase procutivity for individuals who practice stress management.
  2. Adopt a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet, centered on vegetables, fruits, unrefined grains, and legumes, with minimal intake of refined carbohydrates.
  3. Exercise for 30 minutes a day.  Numerous studies indicate a positive correlation between aerobic activity and telomerase activity.
If you want to stay looking young -- add chilling out to your daily regimen!

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