Telomeres –Your Time Keeper
Alice Parks describes telomeres as the timekeepers of your cell’s life: each time a cell divides, it copies its chromosomes’’ DNA, and like a knot tied at the end of a thread, telomeres signal the end of the copying process. With each cell division, these little squiggles, which are the final segments of DNA at the ends of chromosomes, shorten—eventually disappearing altogether. If you are healthy you have a dance going on between telomeres shortening and telomerase, an enzyme, which lengthen them just a bit, restoring some of the DNA that is lost. Long telomeres are a sign of vibrancy, while short or stunted telomeres are a marker of old age and a risk factor for many diseases. Among thousands of middle aged and older adults, those who adhere to the Mediterranean diet had the healthiest telomeres, a study primarily based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found. The key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet: lots of fruit, vegetables, and nuts.