Progressive damage to our DNA is one of the primary reasons we age. Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of DNA damage. A great way to explain oxidative stress is to compare it to “rusting from the inside out”. Oxidation is a chemical reaction within the body that produces free radicals (unstable organic molecules responsible for tissue damage, aging and disease states). The good news is there are things we can do to help slow down the aging process.
Antioxidants protect cells by inhibiting the action of free radicals and can help support heart health, prevent cancer, keep the body free of disease and counteract the effects of aging. It is therefore important to consume high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols because they protect our bodies from creating free radicals in the first place.
A diet rich in dark fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols which can decrease oxidative damage to your DNA and may also decrease your risk for certain cancers. One reason a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables has been found to be so protective is its high content of polyphenols. These compounds contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tips to Keep DNA Healthy:
- Eliminate sugars and packaged, processed foods
- Take a high-quality fish oil supplement – typical dosage is 2-3 capsules or 2 teaspoons daily
- Take 1-2 capsules of a high potency resveratrol (a powerful polyphenol) supplement daily
- Practice some form of stress management each day (diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, visualization, meditation, etc.)
- Minimize alcohol intake
- Get adequate amounts of sleep
- Get a daily dose of sunshine or take Vitamin D3 supplement (typical dose is 2,000-5,000 iu’s of D3 every day)
- Exercise regularly to stay biologically younger – move for at least 30 minutes daily
- Minimize exposure to harmful toxins such as secondhand smoke and BPA-laced plastic water bottles, sippy cups, and other kitchen plastics such as measuring cups, drinkware and storage containers
As you can see, diet and lifestyle play a huge role in determining our rate of aging and susceptibility to disease, and hence, our quality of life.