What do Telomeres Have To Do With Your Health

I have had a lot of people ask me about telomeres.  In the past few years it has been discussed a lot because of it’s importance on aging.  There was a very good article from The Wall Street Journal that summed up information about telomeres. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the end of our chromosomes that protect them from damage, like little protective caps.  In time, the telomeres wear away each time the cells would divide.  This becomes a problem when the telomeres become too short and the chromosomes can then fuse together and malfunction, causing the cells to die, which contribute to disease.

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What is unclear: are short telomeres a sign of cellular age or do short telomeres cause advanced aging? Telomere shortening is determined by a few things; heredity, environment and lifestyle. The article suggests that exercising, maintaining a healthy diet and weight and not smoking, controlling inflammation ( heart disease, arthritis, gut problems, diabetes, obesity and more) can slow the rate of telomere shortening.  There is an enzyme that can add more length to telomeres called  telomerase, but it is mostly found in sperm, egg and stem cells and cancerous tumors.  There is also no evidence that telomerase supplements help.

It is difficult to measure telomere length to tell you how long you may live. Some experts say that the telomeres have to be extremely short before they contribute to disease. I do work with a company that offers a Telomere length test.  I generally do not recommend this  since there isn’t much to compare it with, unless you repeat it at various intervals, were your telomeres long or short to begin with?   yet, all information and education about your make up is of importance. The bottom line is the same for staying healthy and avoiding age related diseases- exercise, eat healthy real food, control inflammation by eating well and staying hydrated, and living a balanced life with socialization, recreation and relaxation.

Be Well,

Mary

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Mindfulness: Happy Thanksgiving

Maybe start your Thanksgiving day with this verse, and everyday thereafter.  Blessings to you and yours for a day filled with gratitude and peace.

Waking up this morning, I smile.

Twenty-four brand new hours are

Before me. I vow to live fully in each

Moment and to look at all beings

With the eyes of compassion.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Be Well,

  Mary

Elpis the Spirit of Hope

thumb_dandilionI was doing my early morning reading and came across this passage.  I found that sometimes things come to you at meaningful and needed times. This may offer a little ……hope.

In Greek mythology Hope was a spirit known as Elpis.  She and other gods and spirits were kept in a jar by Zeus and entrusted into the care of the first woman, Pandora.  Overcome by curiosity, Pandora opened the vessel.  She lifted the lid, and out rushed the gods and spirits.  The gods soared into the sky, abandoned the mortals and went back to Mount Olympus.  But the evil spirits remained on earth.  Envy , toil, hate, disease and or all their cranky and cruel cohort flew to the four corners of the world.  Realizing what was happening, Pandora hastened to close the container.  Too late! All had escaped , except for one.  Hiding in the vessel was Elpis….hope.  It is said that Elpis remained in the jar to help human beings now that evil had been unleashed.  Whenever the world seemed too much to bear, we humans could open the lid and call on Elpis for faith and optimism.

( from the book, Marrow  by Elizabeth Lesser)

It seems to me, with all that is going on in our community, nation and world, it is time to open the lid and call on Elpis for some heartfelt faith and optimism.  Share it with others and remain hopeful.

Be Well, Stay focused,

 Mary

Nutrition: Snacking Your Way Through the Day

Snacks are not only okay, they are an opportunity to obtain more nutrients into your diet throughout the day. They can be a wiStock_000015487653XSmallise move when you make conscious and planned decisions.  Snacks give you energy when you need it and help to keep your blood sugars level.  In doing this you avoid slumps and fatigue associated with low blood sugar.  Snacks keep you satisfied, mentally and physically, as long as you pick foods that will serve you well. Snacks can help with emotional cravings.  Try to notice if you snack because you are stressed, tired, angry or bored.  If you can identify your emotion you may tend to choose a healthier snack rather than snacks with empty calories.

When snacking try to eat as many ‘real’ foods as possible.  Having an apple with some almonds may not sound as exciting as a doughnut, but you will be rewarded with more energy and satiety (thanks to chewing and fiber).  Some other good suggestions for snacks:

  • yogurt with fresh fruit, granola or chopped nuts
  • raw veggies and hummus, try a red pepper or lemon variety for a little change
  • whole grain crackers and cottage cheese
  • flavored pumpkin or sunflower seeds and raisins
  • whole grain crackers and a ‘mini’ cheese
  • crunchy chick peas or edamame
  • there are many great snack bars- look for 8-12 grams of protein, low sugar and high fiber, under 200 calories

These are just some of the options you can try to get more vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber into your diet. Have a treat once in a while- but a snack is meant to be helpful, not hurtful. Treat a treat as a treat- like on a friday afternoon after a long workweek, you will enjoy it more since you really deserve it. Keep in mind, you could lose, or gain up to 20 pounds in a year just by avoiding, or using,  the vending machine!

If you could use  some guidance in optimizing your eating plan, contact me for a complimentary talk.

Be Well,

       Mary

wellbychoice@comcast.net


 

Weight Loss and Mindfulness: Why Did You Buy and Eat That?

When discussing goals with my clients clients, none of them want to be overweight or face chronic diseases because of their food or lifestyle choices.  It is very difficult for most people to avoid eating too much given the bombardment of advertisement and marketing strategies placed before them in supermarkets and at restaurants. It goes beyond willpower. Education,planning  and being vigilant about being aware can help more than you think.

Most peopFrazzledle are overwhelmed with all that has to be done on a day to day basis and are not mindful of the choices they are making, especially when shopping.  It is difficult to be on top of your game when you are tired, stressed and have ti
me demands.  Most supermarkets take advantage of our ‘decision fatigue’ through strategic placements of various ‘food’ choices.  Ever wonder why candies,chips and non-foods are at the cash register? Or the healthier choices are on the higher or lower shelves? The stores rely on your impulse buying of items that are at eye level or  posting  blasting signs about ‘limited quantity’ or  ‘special today’.  You end up buying more, resulting in consuming more items you probably didn’t need (or want) in the first place.  Studies have also found that changing the shapes and variety of foods increases our desire to buy them.  Think about pasta shapes, mini- chocolate chip cookies, different shaped crackers, chips or novelty ice creams.  The variety offered often tempt you to try them.  In actuality it is the same food, but the different variety makes us think it is something new and attracts us to it, therefore eating more. We need variety to keep our food interesting and help us get proper nutritional needs. Different vegetables and fruits are suggested to help us avoid monotony as well nourishing out body.  However, five different shapes, brands or seasonings of potato chips – are still potato chips. Focus on variety of your real foods, fruits, vegetable and grains.

When entering a grocery store, it is a known fact that you never go in hungry.  Make a list on paper, your smartphone or send yourself a message ahead of time. If you saw a recipe you wanted to try, take a picture of it so you have the ingredients you may need to get.  Don’t get sucked in to the ‘comfort foods’ we know sabotage our efforts to take better care of ourselves.  Skip the fast foods unless it is the salad bar, some roasted turkey or chicken, pre-grilled wild salmon or the fresh roasted veggies. Try roasted parsnips or carrots, instead of potatoes.  Farro is a delicious whole grain with a nutty taste that works well in most recipes, substitute it for rice or pasta. Grill peaches or plums and serve them with chicken for a taste treat. These are fast and easy.Go for frozen fresh fruit bars, or low fat frozen yogurt instead of the chocolate chip, caramel swirl full fat ice-cream. I just found some almond milk ice-cream, I was thrilled to see an alternative for those who are sensitive to milk.  However,it was loaded with chocolate peanut butter chunks and salted caramel- so much for the health benefits.

If you are looking to ‘do your body good’, spend the money on foods that will serve and nourish your body well. Treat ‘treats as treat’, eat real food.  There is no mystery. Don’t be lured in to buying foods that are gimmicks or pull at your weaknesses.  Try and be smart, leave with more unpackaged foods than packaged and I can almost guarantee you will have mo9re money left in your wallet too! If it isn’t in your food pantry- you aren’t going to be tempted to eat it. When do you stop eating something? …..when it is all gone.

In Great Health!,

  Mary

 


 

For further support or guidance around sound nutritional habits and choices, call me for a complimentary