To Your Health: Find the Fountain of Youth in your plate

2 saladsThe beauty industry makes big bucks on helping us melt away the years, at least temporarily.

The real Fountain of Youth, though, won’t be found in any “age-defying” potion, but in wholesome foods.

It’s true: Research has shown a healthy diet can help you not only feel younger, but look younger. More importantly, it can help you protect against chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

A recent study found that a healthy diet (combined with moderate exercise and stress reduction activities) might even reverse some diseases.

The study, conducted by a team at the University of California, found that healthy lifestyle changes appear to positively affect the telomeres in your body. These are the little caps on the end of the chromosomes that carry your DNA. As people age, their telomeres shorten. Smoking also shortens telomeres, as does emotional stress.

The UC San Francisco study included two small groups, one of which was put on a diet high in whole foods and low in fat. The healthy group also exercised regularly. Study participants who adhered to the healthy program closely had longer telomeres after five years; those who stuck to their regular lifestyle experienced a shortening of telomeres.

The study’s authors say there’s still more work to be done to study telomeres, but that longer telomeres appear to equate to longer life and could reverse some diseases.

So what’s the take-away? To look and feel younger and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease, eat a healthy diet rich with a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

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