Friends: The Unexpected Fountain of Youth
Not all friendships are created equal, but the best ones leave you feeling good about yourself— a side effect that can actually lead to a younger you. How? It's all connected to our telomeres and the levels of telomerase in our body. But what, exactly, are telomeres and telomerase? Telomeres are caps at the end of our chromosomes that protect our DNA from damage. Telomere shortening- which happens each time our DNA replicates- is linked to ageing, the length of our lifespan and the onset of deadly and chronic diseases. Our bodies produce telomerase, an enzyme that occurs naturally within us, to regulate telomere shortening. In high quantities, it can slow the process, but low levels can lead to increased shortening. Now, new science has discovered that the quality of our relationships affect our telomeres and telomerase levels, and as a result, our overall health. Friendships can also combat one of the main external influencers of telomere length- stress. The key is staying positive and being in an environment where you feel comfortable and at ease, eliminating the effects of stress by eliminating the emotion altogether. Other than interactions, establishing healthy habits together can also reduce telomere shortening. Motivate each other to eat healthier, maintain a balanced diet, and eat more fruits and vegetables. Try going grocery shopping together, establish meal plans, create your own smoothies, and cook your own meals. Sleep early and regularly, exercising consistently, meditate and start yoga.
Let us know what you and your friends do to manage stress!