The key to remaining biologically young is to keep your telomeres as long as possible.
As a regular reader, you know telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of each chromosome strand. The longer your telomeres, the younger your cells behave.
But the shorter they are, the more vulnerable you are to “old age.”
Of course, it’s no secret that eating processed foods can lead to diseases associated with old age like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
But, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered eating processed foods – including so-called “health foods” such as granola bars, low-fat yogurt, and whole-wheat bread – causes a dramatic increase in aging on a cellular level.
In fact, the researchers found just 2.5 servings of processed foods a day doubled your risk of shortened telomeres.
My advice is to start by cutting back – or better yet, avoid it all together – convenience foods, takeout foods, and ready meals.
Focus all of your meals around healthy fats and high-quality protein. I always recommend eating whole foods, pastured beef, lamb, chicken and other properly raised, organic foods. Fruits and vegetables, not grains or treats, should make up the bulk of your carbohydrates.
This will have a dramatic effect on your health – and the length of your telomeres.
But it will also have a dramatic anti-aging effect on your skin… You see, short telomeres are a big part of skin aging.
Skin cells are the fastest-dividing cells in the human body. Every time they divide telomeres get shorter. That means your skin is extremely sensitive to telomere loss.
Short telomeres lead to lines, wrinkles, dull and dry skin, under-eye bags, and all the other annoying signs of aging. One study of twins showed shorter telomeres can make you look as much as 10 years older.1
New research reveals that curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, stops your telomeres from shortening. And it may even help them grow longer.
You see, when you were young, you had a natural enzyme called telomerase that preserved your telomeres. It even helped rebuild them. Unfortunately, we don’t produce it when we’re adults.
But curcumin activates telomerase.2 It helps preserve and lengthen telomeres so your aging process slows down. Your skin stays biologically younger.
Longer telomeres translate to the smooth, dewy skin you had in your 20s.
In Asia, turmeric is considered an essential part of anti-aging skin treatments. Traditional healers may not have known about telomere science, but they saw real results after using this healing plant.
When applied to the skin, turmeric can help stop inflammation. It has been used to treat acne, eczema, and rosacea. It can also help soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Stop Skin Aging With A Telomere Mask
That’s why I often recommend a once-a-week turmeric mask to my patients. It’s easy to make:
- 2 tbsp dried turmeric
- 1 tbsp organic raw honey
- 2 to 3 tsp full-fat yogurt
- Combine ingredients a bowl until it forms a paste. Add more yogurt if it’s too thick.
- Apply to clean skin and leave on for 20 minutes.
- Wash off with warm water.
Be careful when you work with turmeric. The intense color will stain your clothes if it drips. You may even notice a slight orange tinge to your skin. But that will fade quickly.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Kaare Christensen, et al. “Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: cohort study,” BMJ 2009;339:b5262.
2. Xiao Z, Zhang A, Lin J, et al. “Telomerase: a target for therapeutic effects of curcumin and a curcumin derivative in a1-42 insult in vitro.” PLoS One. 2014;9(7):e101251.