How to Tap into Your “Good” Genes for Better Health

Epigenetics is the study of lifestyle factors that can switch certain health-related genes on and off. These genetic changes can affect both the length and quality of your life. How you feel, what you eat and your daily habits can affect the expression of your genes and the length of your telomeres, which cap the ends of your chromosomes. When the ends get too short, the cell can’t divide or rejuvenate itself anymore. What can you do to lengthen your telomeres, live longer and increase your quality of life?

Manage Your Stress

Chronic stress actually shortens your telomeres. Shorter telomeres mean a shorter life span. Chronic stress causes continually elevated levels of cortisol, which influences your sleep/wake cycle, insulin, and blood sugar levels, weight management capabilities, immune response, nervous system, and how well you metabolize the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that you consume. This means that a body undergoing a lot of stress will age quicker, according to Health Day. So, how can you manage the stressors that could age you and wear your body down?

Habits as simple as getting enough sleep, exercising and meditating are upgrades you can make to manage stress. Getting adequate sleep, which is generally seven to nine hours a night, has positive effects on stress, metabolism, inflammation, and immune system response. Exercise does more than keeping your body looking young. It helps relieve stress, elevates your mood and increases your cognitive abilities.

Eat Lots of Antioxidants

According to ASEA, a diet rich in redox molecules and antioxidants is shown to signal the activation of genetic pathways that improve immune system function, maintain cardiovascular health, improve gut health and modulate hormone balance. Look for foods high in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E to fight off free radicals. Just a few foods to make a regular part of your diet are broccoli, asparagus, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, berries, and some more tropical fruits.

Meditate for Longer Telomeres

Meditators experience less hypertension, heart disease, anxiety and other stress-related illnesses that negatively impact the way people age. Meditating has been shown to dramatically increase levels of telomerase, which is the enzyme responsible for repairing and replenishing your telomeres. You only need to meditate for a few minutes a day to experience the benefits of this practice. According to Do You Yoga, meditation will also provide a lot of practice for patience, which will then help with handling stressful issues.

Living longer and better is the premiere life goal for everyone. There are concrete steps that you can take, and none of them have to be complicated. Meditation, managing your stress and eating better can keep you younger for longer and adds more quality to your days.

If you’re ready to make a change in the lifestyle you lead, be sure to check out our fitness and nutrition sections.