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Are Telomeres the Key to Aging Well? The Real Reason Why We Age

By Kristine Bahr January 19, 2023 Health and Fitness

Telomeres are the structures made from DNA sequences that serve to protect the end of a chromosome. They are essential for cell division and get shorter over time until they are no longer able to divide, eventually leading to cell death and speeding up the aging process.

telomeres DNA

Since every organ and tissue in the body is made up of cells, telomeres are crucial to maintaining health and youthfulness. Think you are unable to lengthen your telomeres? Think again. You have more control over it than you think. Here’s how to do it.

Ways to Increase Telomere Length


Studies show that those who have longer telomere lengths spend more time exercising than those who don’t. Obesity, in particular, has been linked to reduced telomere length and is also a cause of other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. In order to maximize your telomere length, you can do the following:

  • Exercise in moderation (3-5 sessions a week).
  • Avoid going overboard or exercising excessively.
  • Make sure to hydrate while exercising. 

Eat a Mediterranean Diet

A healthy diet is essential to have good health and nutrition. Not only does it have the ability to affect your telomere length, but it can also prevent and protect you from a variety of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Mediterranean diet, in particular, has been proven to promote health and longevity. 


  • Healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado, both of which help lower “bad” cholesterol.
  • Fresh, unprocessed fruits without pesticides since they are packed with antioxidants.
  • Green vegetables (raw, steamed, or sauteed) as they are rich in potassium.
  • Fish such as salmon, which is a valuable source of omega-3.


  • Sodium intake. 
  • Intake of processed/packaged foods.
  • Refined grains such as white bread, pasta, and chips.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important functions of the body. It allows us to function optimally and helps to better the immune system. Those diagnosed with insomnia have been shown to have significantly shorter telomeres than those who achieved adequate amounts of sleep.

Sleep also allows your body to repair cells and eliminate toxins stored in the brain. In order to sleep better, you can try the following:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Limit daytime naps.
  • Stop using electronics one hour before bedtime.
  • If you can’t fall asleep, chamomile tea and lavender may be beneficial.

Reduce Stress 

Stress is the number one killer for a reason. It increases the level of cortisol, the main stress hormone, as well as insulin and cellular oxidation. It is also known to cause significant health issues and shorten telomere length. The best way to reduce stress levels is to do the following:

  • Meditate for 20 minutes each day.
  • Take supplements that relax the body and mind (such as magnesium, GABA, or other supplements recommended by your nutritionist).
  • Take deep breaths when you feel your body is overloaded.

Let’s Have a Conversation 

What types of things are you doing to lengthen your telomeres? Is there anything on the list you are willing to try? Let us know in the comments below!

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Another theory is miscues in the epigenetic instructions.


While the article is supportive of a healthy lifestyle, there are no references to any scientific evidence supporting the claim that such a lifestyle increases telomere length and or the role telomere has on length of life.


Whether or not it lengthens télémètres the advice is sound and it is a healthy way to live and age.


I have been eating a Mediterranean diet for years. I have no idea if it has lengthened my telomeres. I am 81 years old. My parents who did not have a great diet lived into their 90’s, so I hope I can do so and beyond, too.

Anna Marie

Yes. Great article. Do most of the suggestions, but additional awareness is very helpful.

Alainnah Robertson

Great article! This advice can never be given too often.

The Author

Kristine Bahr, MS, LDN is a licensed clinical nutritionist, counselor, certified health educator and sports nutritionist. She has over 25 years of experience in nutritional counseling, emphasizing systemic and holistic root-cause treatment, pro-aging, hormonal issues, asperger’s/autism, and health/beauty preservation.

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