A decrease in the length of the chromosomal telomeres has been linked to increased cellular aging, chronic disease risk, premature death and a metric for biological aging.
Telomeres are small bits of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes; picture the cap on a shoelace.
In this study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers measured the length of the telomeres in 1,942 men and women. A questionnaire was used to determine their dietary intake of fats, fruits and vegetables for all participants.
Higher total fat intake, along with increased saturated fats were associated with shorter telomeres in men but not in women. Consuming more butter was associated with shorter telomeres in men but not in women. Good fats such as those from olive oil and nuts were not associated with decreased telomere length in either gender.
Interestingly, a higher consumption of vegetables was associated with longer telomeres in women and an increased consumption of fruits was associated with longer telomeres in men.
Higher fat diets are associated with increased free radical damage and it is well known that a diet rich in fruits and veggies will support antioxidant activity, which may be responsible for the preservation and possible lengthening of the telomeres.
Again, more proof that a diet rich in whole foods including fruits and veggies may be the key to a healthier and longer life.
- Eur Clin J Nutr. 2012. Dec. Source: Dye D. Longer Telemeres linked to eating less fat, more vegetables and fruit. Life Extension Mag. Mar/Apr 2013