When your lifestyle has become “toxic,” what happens to your telomeres?
In the era of 4.0, we are living in a rapidly changing world. In the context of society, we have become more extroverted, keeping more to ourselves, while interacting less and competing more with other people.
Pushing ourselves hard, we neglect breakfast, while surviving on fast food. Besides, we tend to work hard until we neglect our health. Stressed, sleep-deprived and exhausted – it comes as no surprise that our body is not as healthy as before. But no matter how unhealthy it is…we still cannot resist the “work hard, play harder” temptation. But do you know the “toxic” lifestyle can negatively impact our “telomeres”?
What are telomeres?
Many people might have never heard of telomeres before, but telomeres are very important to our lives because they are one of the major determinants of aging. Telomeres, the DNA that protects the ends of the chromosomes, helps maintain the structure of the DNA strands so that when the cells divide, the genetic code will be replicated properly. . To make it easier to understand, telomeres are like the plastic ends of our shoelaces. However, the length of each person's telomeres is different due to genetics. But our telomeres shrink every time the cells divide themselves up as to repair the body. Besides, aging also affects the telomeres, or the older you are, the shorter are the telomeres. At one point, the cells will enter the 'degenerative' stage in which the cells stop dividing which affects the overall health of our body. But what is even more interesting, how fast or slow the telomeres shrink, it all depends on other various factors.
Here are some of the factors that accelerate the shortening of the telomeres causing the build-up of free radicals inside our body:
1. Inflammation in the body from food
This applies especially from fast food, spicy food and processed food that contain high saturated fat, such as pork, marbled beef, chicken with skin, French fries, white bread, white rice, pasta, sugar and trans-fat. Food and desserts like cookies, cakes, ice creams, and soft drinks, can easily wreak havoc on our glucose level and weight, which also causes free radicals to buildup in the body.
Several studies have revealed that waist size and body mass index (BMI) are significantly related to the increase in free radicals in the blood. In fact, telomeres of obese people are significantly shorter than thin people.
3. Chronic stress
Chronic stress can make you old, and those of you who are often feeling stressed out should beware! Because our mind is linked to the body, when you are regretting about the past actions or overly worrying about the future, it makes you stressed out and unhappy with the present. This not only increases the cortisol or stress hormones that fluctuate the insulin, but it also forces the body to store more fats in our belly. Besides, stress creates more free radicals in our bodies.
4. Working too hard
Besides leading to chronic stress, working too hard often leaves you too exhausted to even think about exercising. In addition to that, working too hard can lead to insomnia. Not getting enough quality sleep may cause DNA impairment which leads to a shortening of telomeres and increasing the risk of cancer.
5. Drinking alcohol
Many people know that alcohol is harmful to the body, but it is still too hard to refuse invitations to party or that extra glass of your favorite poison. Excessive drinking or continuous drinking can increase inflammation in the body, which has a negative impact on your telomeres.
Smoking does not only increase the risk of lung cancer, but it also affects your youthful skin. Because nicotine contained in cigarette causes the blood vessels that nourish your skin to shrink, this cause your skin to receive less oxygen and nutrients. Besides. It also causes the body to accumulate more carbon dioxide, which is the waste product in the body. This inhibits the cells from fully repairing themselves. According to research, smoking one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years can reduce your life expectancy by four years!
7. Toxic substances and air pollution
Toxic substances and pollution such as dust, smoke from industries and car exhaust, plus particulate matter (PM) can cause the buildup of free radicals in the body through inhalation that is difficult to avoid.
We can see that the deterioration or aging of the body can come sooner or later according to our “toxic” lifestyle. Both eating and sleeping patterns, as well as stress, can cause a chain reaction in the body, and by the time you realize it, the free radicals that have been accumulated in the body over the years have already attacked the healthy cells. This does not only weakens your telomeres, but it also weakens the body as well.
It's time to ask…how do you live your life today…and which habits are harming your telomeres. Because you have a choice to live in between your first and the last days, it is still not too late to change your lifestyle. This is the proper time to take care of your health today and combat the premature aging in your cells by taking care of your telomeres, the secret to your health and longevity.
Having strong telomeres helps to delay cell deterioration which reduces the risk of various chronic diseases including coronary arteries, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
Be as youthful and healthy as you want to be starting today.
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