At the tip of each chromosome, there is a very small cap, which is known as a telomere - think of it as the plastic tip on the end of your shoelace. This tiny cap ensures that your DNA does not fray and unravel. However, each time your cells divide, a little of that cap is lost.
So what can be done to prevent telomere loss? Smoking cigarettes has been associated with three times the rate of telomere loss – so stopping smoking is vital if you want to prevent the telomere loss.
Also, the food you consume can have an effect on the rate at which you lose your telomeres. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and foods packed with antioxidants has been linked to longer telomeres, and consuming refined grains, meat, fizzy drinks, and dairy has been associated with shorter telomeres.
It is important to eat a balanced diet – vegetables, fruit, good quality protein, and “healthy” fats such as olive oil and avocados.
Also, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, are other nutritional interventions that can help alleviate anxiety.
Eating complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains is paramount as they are metabolised slower, and consequently, help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which results in feeling calmer.
The gut-brain axis is also significant, since about 95% of serotonin receptors are in the lining of the gut. A recent study in the journal, Psychiatry Research, identified an association between probiotic foods and a reduction in social anxiety. They discovered that eating probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut and kefir resulted in fewer symptoms.
Additionally, anxiety is thought to be associated with a decreased antioxidant status. Including foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the...
A gene is a segment of the DNA (short for deoxy ribo nucleic acid) molecule that contains the instructions for how, when and where your body makes each of the many thousands of proteins required for life.
Each gene is made up of multiple combinations of 4 letters that make up your genetic code: A, T, C and G.
Each gene combines these “letters” in various ways, spelling out the words that specific which amino acid is needed at every step in the process of making the proteins required for your body to develop and function.
All of us have small differences in our DNA and it is these differences that make each of us unique. Gene polymorphisms are slight changes in the genetic code that are present in at least 1% of the population, e.g. one genetic “letter” (A, T, C or G) may be replaced by another. These polymorphisms can lead to different processes in the body, just as altering one letter in a word can completely change...
Last year, we published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association to demonstrate that in some individuals, caffeinated coffee intake lowered the risk of heart attacks.
But in other individuals the same dose of caffeinated coffee increased the risk of heart attacks.
Berardi: Let me guess. It had to do with the genes.
Dr. El-Sohemy: That’s right. Individuals who had what we call a ‘slow’ version of the gene CYP1A2 (a gene that breaks down caffeine in the liver) have an increased risk of a heart attack when increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee.
However, those who have the ‘fast’ version of CYP1A2, have a lower risk of heart attacks with moderate intakes of caffeinated coffee (1-3 cups per day).
Berardi: How do people make sense of this dichotomy?
Dr. El-Sohemy: These findings suggest that caffeinated coffee only increases heart disease in those who have a limited capacity to break down caffeine.
The reason why those with the...
A balanced diet includes eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrain cereals (if you don’t have a gluten intolerance) dairy (if you don’t have a lactose intolerance) and meat or vegetarian protein sources.
Consuming these foods on a daily basis will ensure that you are meeting all of your nutritional requirements required for a healthy immune system.
However certain nutrients are vital for an optimal immune system, and these include:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. It is a significant nutrient for boosting immunity and may help to slightly reduce the severity and duration of a common cold.
Food sources include:
Zinc is a very important mineral needed for a healthy immune system. However, it is paramount that you keep to the...
In short, methylation is a vital process for healthy DNA and epigenetic modification.
Having too little or too much methylation can cause issues and cut put you at risk of numerous conditions such as decreased cognitive function, reduced energy levels, fatigue, poor detoxification, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
B vitamins provide building blocks for growing cells, which are constantly being renewed and play a very important role in many bodily processes.
They provide some of the chemicals necessary for protecting our genes, so that our DNA does not accumulate damage from the wear and tear in the daily lives of our cells!
These vitamins including folate, vitamins B6 and B12 help to make new DNA for cells that are constantly growing and renewing themselves. Folate is also involved in turning many genes on and off, and also helps repair DNA.
Although B vitamins are only needed in small quantities,...
Intermittent Fasting is not only scientifically proven for effective weight loss and fat burning, it also has some amazing health benefits.
Worth a try, don’t you think?
The way to know if IF is right for you is for you to listen to your body. If you think that IF is too challenging, or you have other reasons why you don’t want to attempt it, I advise that you ask yourself why you don’t want to give it a go.
Frequently, it can be down to an emotional reason. Possibly there is a habit, such as feeling you have to eat at a certain time of day. Or maybe it’s because of a dependency behaviour, such as sugar-addiction and the feeling you need a sugar-laden breakfast on waking to get you started for the day. But, once you recognise and accept what the source of conflict is, you will find that IF is actually very simple and effortless.
A great intro into IF is to try to go without food for 16 hours, which is known as Time-restricted feeding (Phase 1 of The What IF Plan). So to give you an idea if you have your last meal at 7PM, then you would not eat anything until 11AM the next morning. During that 16-hour window, your body will switch...
Fasting is nothing new. In fact, it goes back thousands of years with both Plato and Hippocrates said to sing the praises of the health benefits. It’s also a common technique used by people of various religions because it is well known for helping clear the body and mind.
Recently, Intermittent Fasting (known as IF) has become very popular for health, longevity and weight loss benefits, and there is substantial scientific evidence to confirm its positive effects.
In the Western world we tend to eat three meals daily and many of us believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s become accepted by many that you have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, even if it doesn’t always work with our bodies, lifestyles or schedules. Significantly, the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” myth was born from very persuasive marketing by the cereal industry.
Also, there exists limited evidence that suggests that eating three meals...
Our understanding of genes, has increased greatly since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. This project resulted in a mass of valuable data and information about one’s unique and personalised nutrition requirements. It is incredible that this can be discovered from a little bit of cotton on the bottom of a plastic stick!
Now, apart from sperm and egg cells and also red blood cells, almost every cell in the body holds a full copy of your complete genetic code. Whilst the base code stays the same, the many assorted cells handle that genetic code in their own unique manner!
This means that looking at the sample, which is taken from the inside of your cheeks, we are able to determine and analyse the code for genes, which impact your diet, nutrition and eating behaviour. Once our lab receive your swab, your DNA is purified and amplified through a process known as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This converts the minuscule quantity of DNA from your sample into...