You can strengthen your chro­mo­somes.

Men's Health (South Africa) - - HEALTH + WELLNESS -

Your body has 30 tril­lion cells, and one con­tains chro­mo­somes. At the end of ev­ery chro­mo­some is a telom­ere, a layer of ex­tra DNA that helps cells di­vide. But with ev­ery split, your telom­eres fray, which con­trib­utes to age­ing, heart dis­ease, can­cer and di­a­betes. El­iz­a­beth Black­burn and Elissa Epel, au­thors of The Telom­ere Ef­fect: A Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Ap­proach to Liv­ing Younger, Health­ier, Longer say there are sim­ple strate­gies to ben­e­fit your body more than 30 tril­lion ways:

NOUR­ISH YOUR DNA Anti-in­flam­ma­tory omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, like sal­mon and tuna, shield telom­eres from dam­age. On the other end of the spec­trum, “pro­cessed red meat and sugar have neg­a­tive ef­fects on telom­ere main­te­nance,” says Epel.

BE POS­I­TIVE Cyn­i­cism, hos­til­ity, and pes­simism are hard on telom­eres, says Epel. “What mat­ters is how we re­cover from it.” Try thought dis­tanc­ing: imag­ine the stress­ful sit­u­a­tion as a movie scene. You’re just in the au­di­ence watch­ing it go by.

RUN AWAY FROM AGE­ING “The very time when you don’t want to ex­er­cise is the best time to do it for your telom­eres,” Black­burn says. Mod­er­ate-in­ten­sity aer­o­bic ex­er­cise, done three days a week for 45 min­utes, may dou­ble the ac­tiv­ity of telom­erase, an en­zyme that helps re­pair frayed telom­eres. But don’t save your ex­er­cise for one mega-work­out: over­train­ing ac­tu­ally harms telom­eres.

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