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Can you reverse aging?

Reverse agingWould you believe it if someone told you healthy lifestyle changes could reverse the aging process? According to a recent study, it might be true!

Researchers at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, found that adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent the cell damage brought on by aging—it can even increase the life span of cells.

During the five-year long study, participants made the following lifestyle changes:

  • Followed a primarily vegan diet rich in plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and legumes
  • Practiced an hour of stress management techniques daily, such as meditation, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation
  • Walked or engaged in some other form of exercise for 30 minutes, six days a week
  • Participated in hour-long support group sessions weekly

Adopting this healthy regimen for five years, participants saw a 10 percent lengthening of their cells’ telomeres. Longer telomeres mean a longer lifespan for the cells.

Telomeres are the protective ends of chromosomes that block DNA damage. The aging process causes them to shorten, increasing the risk for heart disease, colon cancer, stroke, dementia and premature death.

The study is the first to show that healthy practices have the potential to lengthen telomeres.

Dr. David Katz, a prevention medicine specialist at Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, said, “We don’t have the medical capacity to tweak genes and make chronic diseases go away, but we can refashion our fate at the level of our DNA by the behavior choices we make.”

Now that’s some good news—and a reason to adopt healthy habits if I ever heard one.

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