Aging

4 Ways to Safeguard Your DNA to Help You Look Younger for Longer

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If you could easily reverse aging and look younger for longer, wouldn’t you? Keeping your DNA from shrinking by strengthening the protective caps called telomeres at the end of each strand can help keep your cells (and you!) young and healthy. Sounds like a science-fiction intervention? It’s not! To safeguard your DNA, try these simple tips.

1. Breathe deeply for a few minutes. 

A recent study reveals that a stressful, hectic lifestyle increases the odds of having short telomeres 15 times in women who are past menopause. No need to worry, though: Spending 11 minutes each day sitting still and breathing deeply is enough to stop that trouble in its tracks. 

“Deep breathing has a protective effect on telomeres, minimizing the effects of stress on our genetic material,” said naturopath Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, author of Be Your Own Herbalist. Make it extra easy by using a free app (such Calm or Headspace for iPhone and Android) to guide your breathing exercise. 

2. Bike or jump-rope. 

Just 14 minutes of vigorous physical activity is proven to lengthen telomeres by reducing stress and boosting the activity of an enzyme that lengthens telomeres and prevents them from eroding, cutting-edge research reveals. And any activity you enjoy will do the trick, whether it’s taking your bike for a spin, skipping rope, swimming, or even a walking briskly with a friend.

3. Drink sage tea. 

“Research shows that the herb sage helps protect DNA from damage, and even stimulates DNA repair in already damaged genetic material, which is incredible,” Schoffro Cook said. Her Rx: three cups daily of the fragrant and relaxing brew (such as Alvita Organic Sage Tea, $6.92 for 24 teabags). Or take a sage supplement each morning (such as Swanson’s Sage, $14.95 for 200 capsules), following the package label for dosage. 

4. Sip dark coffee.

“Dark coffee contains lots of antioxidants called polyphenols, which strengthen DNA and, at the same time, disarm the harmful free radicals that can damage it,” Schoffro Cook said. No wonder a recent German study found that people who drank black coffee every day for just four weeks reduced damage to their DNA by 27 percent.  

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