Most of us dread the idea of getting older - but it happens nonetheless. When it comes to aging, there are a lot of factors at play. The important thing for you to remember, regardless of your age right now, you can control so much more than you probably realize. My guess is you know a healthy lifestyle contributes to a healthier body, but what you eat (and don't eat) plays an incredibly powerful role in how you age. These are five foods that make you age slower and feel younger.
The Foods That Make You Age Slower
You wouldn't be here if you weren't interested in your health...and probably some tips on eating the best foods for your body that make you look like the youthful, energetic person you ought to be. I'll give you some great information about eating foods that make you age slower in just a moment.
In this article, I will explain:
- What your telomeres!
- How the foods you eat affect your telomeres
- The foods that make you age slower
- The foods that make you age faster
All About Telomeres and Aging
I realized you didn't come to read this article to get a lesson on your DNA, but if you understand the very basics of a component of your DNA, called your telomeres, this will all make a lot more sense. You'll never be able to see your telomeres and it's highly unlikely your doctor will ever test the quality of your telomeres, but this is good information to know nonetheless!
Think of your telomeres as the aglets at the end of your shoelaces. You know, the little plastic tips that are at each end of the lace. When you first buy your shoes, the tips of the laces are perfect; not a scratch or a scuff. Over time, and depending on how much wear and tear the shoes have experienced, the ends of the shoelaces start to fray. The plastic starts breaking off a little bit and eventually the aglets don't fit into the holes anymore.
Unlike shoelaces that can be replaced, your telomeres, the ends of each strand of your DNA, just wear down. The purpose of a telomere is to protect your DNA. The shorter the telomere, the older and more worn down you become. You're more likely to "break" by way of developing disease. You life is as long as the shelf life of your telomeres. Your DNA consists of 23 chromosomes. There are four end tips to your chromosomes. Each end tip includes a telomere.
You can and will age slower if you maintain better health of your telomeres!
There are multiple ways you can do this, including managing stress, exercising, getting high quality sleep and eating the right foods.
How Foods Can Make You Age Slower...or Faster
Health practitioner, Ann Wigmore, was famous for once saying, “the food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” In respect to how food affects your ability to maintain healthy DNA, she was absolutely spot on.
Everything you eat affects your body in many different ways. Some foods decrease inflammation and others increase inflammation. Some foods increase blood sugar levels and others do a great job stabilizing blood sugar levels. Some foods affect your genetic makeup, increasing the signs of aging - where others protect your genetic make up, helping you slow the process of aging - inside and out.
Your telomeres are essentially your body's biological clock. The longer these telomeres maintain their length, the slower you'll age, the healthier you'll be and the younger you'll feel. Food plays a big role in telomere health.
While the exact reasons for some foods appearing to have a positive impact on telomeres is still being researched, studies have been done by taking blood samples of people who've eaten specific foods. The results are compelling.
There are plenty of foods that you should be eating to make you age slower.
These Are The Foods That Make You Age Slower
One thing to keep in mind as you read through these amazing foods and how they affect your telomeres is that aging isn't just superficial. Eating foods that shorten your telomeres are associated with diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis and a myriad of other health-related conditions that typically become problematic at midlife.
You'll never skate through life 100% wrinkle-free. After all, these foods merely slow the aging process, but don't stop it from happening. That said, developing diabetes or heart disease isn't some rite of passage as we get older. You can prevent these diseases and many more by eating the right foods and adhering to balanced lifestyles practices.
Before I dive into the list, if you're wondering how you can create a meal plan with everything you need to eat healthier, get my Apple-Shape Meal Plan. It's made up of all the foods your body needs to look and feel young, and it will help you keep belly fat at bay!
Now, let's get to the foods.
Seeds & Nuts
Seeds are positive associated with protecting your telomeres. In addition to these foods making you age slower, they also contain a number of other nutrients that benefit your body, such as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. A few examples of seeds that might benefit you include:
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- sesame seeds
- ground flax seed (your body can't absorb whole flax seed)
Beans are another important food to add into your diet to help maintain healthy telomere length. Some beans are easier to digest than others. If you have a problem with black beans, for example, try another bean to see if it works better for your body. Another reason beans are so great is because they're a good source of protein, too! Examples of good-for-you beans include:
- black beans
- navy beans
- pinto beans
- black eyed peas
*You read that right. Coffee is highly nutritious. My suggestion for coffee consumption is to stop drinking it by 9am so you don't artificially inflate your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and buy organic to avoid coffee sprayed with pesticides. Organic regular or decaf have the same benefits.
This is interesting. In a 2021 Brigham Young study of nearly 5000 men and women who agreed to have repeated blood tests done to measure telomere length, fruit was positively correlated for women, but had no measurable effect on men. This isn't to say that fruit isn't beneficial in other ways, rather fresh fruit consumption in the amount of 3.5 ounces per day had a significant effect on women's overall biological aging!
Again, this study used fresh fruit - not fruit juice or dried fruit as both have higher concentrations of sugar.
My female friends, eat your fruit. Some ideas to hit your quota:
Again, this is interesting. In the same Brigham Young, consumption of 100 grams of vegetables was associated with a 1.9 year decrease in biological aging for both men and women. However, the more you ate, the younger you got! People who ate more vegetables had a decreased biological age of 4.4 years. The more the merrier. Eat your vegetables, keep them fresh and learn to love them.
Here are a few vegetables that I highly recommend consuming:
- brussels sprouts
- broccoli or cauliflower
- carrots and celery
- seaweed (<<this is a big one that works on telomeres)
- sweet potatoes
Not all fats are the same. Processed vegetable oils, while inexpensive and in nearly every ultra-processed food, has a negative impact on your body. But eating the right fats can have an incredibly beneficial impact on your body, including your telomeres. The best fats for your body that make you age slower include;
- virgin olive oil
- high quality fish oils or fatty fish such as salmon
- avocado oil
The Foods That Make You Age Faster
It's probably no surprised to you that if there are foods that make you age slower, then there will undoubtedly be foods that make you age faster. This is the short list of the types of foods you should stay away from as they have a negative impact on your delicate telomeres.
- High sodium foods: likely found in luncheon meats and packaged frozen or shelf-stable foods
- Processed vegetables oils: corn, canola and soybean oil
- Saturated fats: research shows red meat, in particular, has a negative impact on telomere length
- Processed sugars: candy, baked goods and sweetened beverages all impact telomere length