In a recent article, Fox News talks about how maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially during stressful times in ones life can help reduce aging effects on the body. In a new study, 239 women between the ages of 50 to 65 were examined by researchers to see how their healthy diet and lifestyle affected their stress levels and aging to their body at the cellular level. The participants of the study were asked to report their health and behaviors in addition to major stressful situations in their lives such as losing a job, a divorce that occurred during this year long study.
In order for the researchers to measure the patient’s stress levels on a cellular level, the researchers measured the length of cell structures called telomeres. Telomeres are used as protective cap at the end of the chromosomes. It is believed that a cell’s length is related to and thought to be an index of cell’s aging. The researchers took blood samples for each of the patients at the beginning and end of the study. This was in to measure the changes in the white blood cell telomeres.
The results of the study showed that major stressful events in the subject’s life directly linked with a shortening in the telomeres. On the other hand, the women who participated in healthy behaviors had a decrease in decline of telomere length. However, for the women that didn’t eat right, exercise or slept less, they experienced more telomere shortening. One can conclude from this particular study that staying active, having a well balanced diet and sleeping well during high periods of stress are key to stop the advanced aging of our immune cells.
Healthy living is especially important to promote and keep up in order to prevent our bodies from premature aging and under times of pressures and stress such as death and caregiving. Even though the results of this study fall in line with many other studies that were similar, the researchers still noted that a body’s aging has many contributing factors such as genetics, behaviors and stressors over the course of one’s life.