Long Life and Health
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Health

Healthy Genes to Live Longer and Prevent Aging

Studies of what causes faster aging in some people and why others live longer are still a rather new science.

Many new things have been learned in the process, including the fact that damaged genes start the downward trend toward death. Living longer, scientists believe, may be connected with ensuring your genes stay in good shape for as long as possible. 

All living creatures depend on the ability of cells to duplicate themselves exactly. When this process fails and mutations occur, trouble begins. It can result in cancer, malformation of cells and eventually organs, and failure of cells to operate as they should. 

Although your body does have measures to eradicate and correct faulty DNA, this system becomes less efficient as you get older or when certain factors are present. The result is an accumulation of cells with faulty DNA – and cancer begins. 

Telomeres is the name given to a casing that is at the end of DNA strands. The length of these strands determines how long you will live. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres become a little shorter. There is some replacement of the length by an enzyme called telomerase, but sooner or later, it becomes too short, and the cell dies.

Aging of the cell may also promote inflammation. 

Several things will affect the ability of your cells to lengthen your telomeres. As the ability to lengthen the telomeres is decreased by various influences, your telomeres become shorter at a faster rate. Those factors include:

  • Ultraviolet light – can lead to skin cancer
  • Chemicals (carcinogens) – certain chemicals bind easily with DNA and damage it, which can promote many types of cancer
  • Lack of healthy foods
  • Stress

Stress is now strongly connected to a shortening of your telomere length. The stress can occur at any age and it needs to be chronic. Although the causes of this type of stress may change from childhood through adulthood, the result is that it causes your telomeres to shorten faster than they can be lengthened. The result is a shorter lifespan. 

Stress is also known to cause people to eat more.

The extra junk food, often with less than healthy chemicals in them, a lack of nutrients, and lots of sugar, can lead to greater damage to your DNA. The excess weight often gained by consuming more comfort foods because of increased calories, may also help to make you more susceptible to diseases and poor health. 

If the individual reacts to stress by consuming more drugs (legal or illegal) or alcohol, even more damage to your DNA can occur. These things will also impact your health negatively, and you are likely to shorten your life by several years. 

Some people are born with genetic defects that will likely lead to a shorter life. The presence of these genes, however, does not mean that efforts to boost longevity will not have any effect. Many people with genes that indicate a shorter life do live a normal lifespan. The presence of these genes does not guarantee a shorter life.

There are several steps you can take to help offset damage to your telomeres and prevent rapid shortening of their length. The biggest thing you can do to offset the effects of chronic stress is to exercise. 

Combine regular exercise with eating healthy foods, such as more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. At the same time, be sure to eliminate much of the junk food and sugar from your diet to boost longevity. 

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