We already know that the telomere length is a key biomarker of our tissue renewal capacity and therefore an important indicator of our aging process. Given this fact, this brings us to the questions of “How can we take care of our telomeres?” and “What measures can we take to preserve and maintain our telomeres as healthy as possible?” Below you can find various nutritional recommendations that can help you keep your telomere in the best condition possible.
A recent study published by a research group CIBERON (Center for Biomedical Research Network of Obesity and Nutrition), consisting of bibliography revision of scientific literature studies (59 observational studies and 11 clinical trials) that assess the relationship between the consumption of different foods, nutrients or diets with telomeric length, has concluded that a diet based on foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds is associated with a longer telomere length.
On one hand, foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes that contains a high amount of these compounds are associated with longer telomeres. On the other hand, a diet that consists of saturated fats, alcohol, sugary drinks and that includes high consumption of processed meat will very likely lead to greater telomere shortening.
The below shown compounds are known to be have a positive effect on our telomeres helping their maintenance:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, induced by these fatty-acids, can reduce telomere shortening as they decrease the oxidative damage of the DNA. Examples of foods rich in Omega-3 include fish and seafood, some nuts such as walnuts and soybean oils.
Found in foods such as green tea, olive oil, red wine or whole grains are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and have a positive impact on telomeres. This was also demonstrated in a study where mice were given polyphenols grape seed enriched diet.
- Vitamin A – Contained in carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes or pumpkins as provitamin A, has an important role in the immune response.
- Vitamin B9 / Folic acid – Related to the immune system and the integrity of DNA and its methylation, which has an impact on telomeres. This vitamin can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and arugula, broccoli and legumes including beans and chickpeas.
- Vitamin C – can be found in foods such as oranges, kiwis, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranates, parsley or red pepper and has the ability to eliminate reactive oxygen species.
- Vitamin D – A scientific article published in 2017 in the “Journal of Nutrition” concluded that those individuals with low Vitamin D had shorter telomeres than those whose levels were adequate. It can be found in foods such as blue and fatty fish (salmon, tuna or sardine) mushrooms, dairy products and avocados however, the main source of this vitamin is exposure to sunlight.
- Zinc and magnesium
These two micronutrients are associated with longer telomeres since they are known to be key compounds for maintenance of DNA stability. In order for your body not to lack these, you can include cocoa, nuts or seeds of different vegetables in your diet.