If you are interested in ageing, or rather, reversing the effects of ageing, this will really interest you.
Your body is made up of cells, right? In each of your cells, you have 46 strands of DNA which is coiled into strands of chromosomes. At each tip of these chromosomes is a cap called a telomere which prevents your DNA from unravelling. Every time your cells divide, a small portion of that telomere tip is lost, and when it's completely gone, your cell can die. They begin to shorten from the time you are born, and when they are gone, you are gone (quite literally).
What do you do if you want to slow down this process of your telomeres shortening?
First thing - stop smoking - this is the ultimate shortener of your telomeres. Really. Ask the scientists.
A lifestyle incorporating lots of fruits and veggie consumption has been associated with telomeres that are longer; conversely, eating refined grains, meat and dairy have been linked to shortened telomeres.
So what can we actively do to stop this shortening of our telomeres?
Well, it just so happens that a pine tree growing in California, USA, is the oldest recorded living being at over 4800 yrs. Scientists discovered an enzyme in this tree that rebuilds telomeres - luckily for us. They called this enzyme telomerase.
And here is where Elizabeth Blackburn, bless her, comes into the picture. She discovered that telomerase is present in human cells too. And she set about discovering what we can do to boost the activity of this enzyme.
So listen to this : just THREE MONTHS of WHOLE FOOD (non-processed) PLANT BASED nutrition significantly boosts telomerase activity.
That's right - 3 months on a plant-based whole food diet.
There were 2 control groups for the research of this study. In the group of people who did NOT change their lifestyles, their telomeres shrank with age. For those who converted to a plant-based way of life, not only did their telomeres shrink less, they GREW. And get this - five years later, their telomeres were even longer on average than when they started the change.
This proves cellular ageing can be reversed.
So send out thanks to this extra-ordinary woman Elizabeth Blackburn (who won a Nobel prize for this research, I may add) who paved the way to discovering a longer, healthier life, and DO SOMETHING about your own.