Telomeres are a repetition of DNA that are located at the end of chromosomes. They are responsible for protecting the chromosomes from sticking to others, organizing the cell nucleus and aiding in cell division. When telomeres are shortened, they are not able to protect the DNA as well and are more susceptible to becoming cancerous and fostering the growth of tumors and diseased cells. Try these tips to lengthen your telomeres and protect yourself from cancer:
A study at the University of California San Francisco found that exercising may help to lengthen telomeres. Researchers recommended participating in moderate aerobic exercise or walking for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Exercise is also good for your heart, lungs, bones and joints – your whole body will benefit.
Learn to manage stress
The UCSF study also found participating in yoga and meditation decreases stress levels, which can protect your telomeres. People who are under a lot of stress tend to experience faster shortening of telomeres as they age. Combat the effects of a busy, chaotic life with deep breathing and mindfulness for 60 minutes a day.
Eat whole grains
Women who eat more fiber have longer telomeres, according to Prevention. Folic acid is often used to fortify enriched grains and that may be linked to longer telomeres in both women and men. Whole grains also have antioxidant and anti-inflamatory properties that boost the immune system. Eat 5 to 8 ounces of whole grains a day for your recommended daily serving.
Combine healthy habits
Don't just attempt one of the items above. Give two or three a try at once for a rounded approach at cancer-fighting abilities. While you won't be able to feel your telomeres lengthening and protecting you from breast cancer, you can reap the benefits of a healthier immune system, better heart health, increased muscle mass and even improved brain functioning.