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Dr. Elissa Epel is a renowned health psychologist and the director of University of California San Francisco’s Aging, Metabolism, and Emotion Center. She is also the co-author of a new book entitled The Telomere Effect. The Telomere Effect examines the role of telomeres in the aging process and provides information on how we can protect these telomeres and improve our quality of life.
Dr. Epel explains that all of our cells contain telomeres, which act as protectors to our genes. Over time, our telomeres are exposed to a sensitive chemical environment. This can cause telomeres to shorten, possibly leading to aging and disease. Rates of aging differ by the individual, as it based on our varying chemical makeup and lifestyles. We can slow the aging process by making positive lifestyle changes, which help to maintain or possibly extend telomere length.
One factor that can cause us to age faster is chronic stress. A threat stress response, which involves feeling that our physical self is at risk or in danger, is linked to a greater stress response with cortisol and inflammation. The key to altering this is through awareness of our stress and changing our response. Meditation helps people become observers of their thoughts. They are more equipped to be at peace and go with the flow.
Other factors within our body that can harm us include inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. We can help to remedy these threats by exercising and eating whole, unprocessed foods and a vegetable heavy diet. The key is to make small changes that will add up over the years, making an overall difference in your cellular health and aging.
The Telomere Effect contains vital information and an action guide based on data from scientific studies. To learn more or take the Stress Response Quiz, visit http://www.amecenter.ucsf.edu/telomere-effect-book-release/.