Healthy Beginnings

Exercise, sleep and supplements: the top ‘secrets’ to anti-aging

A diet high in antioxidant foods, like artichokes, can slow down aging and help prevent or reduce cell damage.

Every day, every minute, every second we are aging, and most of us are looking for an instant cure to stop this process.

Science has been working on this for years, and some progress has been made. Researchers at the University of Utah have found some interesting facts concerning “Telomeres.”

Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.

Telomeres can be a predictor of longer life with more vitality. With each cell division, these get shorter, so as we age, they wear away like a candle wick burning down. Now there is evidence that telomeres can regrow if people switch to, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle.

The researchers in Utah studied centenarians around the world and found they had no one food in common, but all did eat a wide range of antioxidants and fermented foods. A diet high in antioxidant foods, like berries and artichokes, can slow down aging and help prevent or reduce cell damage.

Also, taking a multivitamin supplement to bridge the gap between the foods you’re eating and what your body needs might lengthen telomeres as well. One study found that women who took a daily supplement had telomeres that were about 5 percent longer than nonusers.

Another nutrient that has been found to help with telomeres is “Curcumin,” a great anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is not only hard on the body, but affects all of the body, not just muscles, but the brain and all of your cells.

Some nutrients that are believed to protect cells and their telomeres from oxidative damage are Vitamin E, Fish Oil, D-3, Folic Acid, Zinc, Magnesium, Resveratrol, Green Tea Extract, Beta Carotene, Selenium, Ashwaganda, Ginseng, Ginger, Rhodiola, Spiralina, N-Acetyl Cysteine and Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Another very important part of the equation is exercise. Regular exercise helps to keep the body working at its optimum.

Researchers also found that doing squats were one of the most important exercises to do daily. Building the thigh muscles equated to longer life, as they are among the longest muscles in the body and work with the core muscles to help with strength and balance.

This helps as we age to prevent falls, which we all know can be deadly or at the least debilitating for some times even years.

And of course, there is sleep. As the great bard Shakespeare said, “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

He wasn’t too far off. Without a good night of sleep, our cells, our bodies and our mind cannot use that time to repair themselves. Studies have shown that 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal for our repair and regeneration of the body and mind. Most of us, however, get far less. We won’t go into that here — that is a huge topic that many have covered before, so suffice it to say, work on it, please.

And of course, I couldn’t get away without mentioning my favorite skin anti-aging essential oil, Frankincense. I love Frankincense. Cleopatra used it with other oils on her skin, and we know she was quite a looker in her time.

I like to combine it with a small amount of Coconut oil and gently pat it on my face and neck. We’ll see how this goes, just started a few weeks ago, but think I am seeing a change, at least feeling one. Yeah! Also, it’s great for sore muscles, so use it there too!

I hope this gives you hope for making a change for the better in your life. Grow those telomeres, do those squats and get more sleep and make a difference in your life.

As with all supplements, please advise your health practitioner when using or adding any medications or other supplements.

Elaine Brooks is owner of The Herb Lady, located in Sparks. Visit or call 775-356-1499 to learn more.