We're starting to see new information constantly about why it's important to eat your fruits and vegetables. Topics like age defiance, diabetes, heart disease prevention and cancer progression are all part of the fascinating scientific arena of telomeres and telomerase.
Put more simply, a telomere is part of a strand of DNA (cellular genetic material) and is responsible for packing pieces of information about the cell it is a part of. Every time the cell replicates, a part of the telomere gets lost. The more the cell replicates, the less genetic material is left and the shorter the life-span of the cell.
There is an enzyme in this process called telomerase. Telomerase causes cells to divide and the more telomerase activity that takes place, the less genetic material appears to be lost and the less aging occurs to the cells it is affecting.
Why do we care about this?
Cancer cells seem to have lots of telomerase and are able to replicate a lot with very few telomeres and very little loss of information, while healthy reproductive cells appear to have many telomeres and little telomerase, thus replicating a little and losing a lot when they do replicate.
What if we can play with this using nutrition (specifically, a few nutrients that we may simply be deficient in) to turn off the cancer cells?
So far, despite this being a very young set of studies, there are many with large numbers of subjects. And the results are finding that nutrition - and, more specifically, micronutrients - are key to the treatment and potential cure for ailments like certain cancers.
Antioxidants like Vitamins E and C appear to stimulate telomerase activity. Omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, selenium, magnesium and zinc are also being studied extensively for their actions on telomerase and telomeres in a variety of healthy and cancerous human cells.
Given the promising information from these studies, it appears we are right on track as we set goals to try to get the maximum amount of vegetables and fruits into our daily diets.
Remember, for most individuals, the daily goal of raw or cooked vegetables is at least 4 servings, with 5 to 8 servings of vegetables being optimal.
Having 2 to 3 fruits a day will provide for your basic fruit needs.
With regard to omega 3 fatty acids, add some freshly ground flax seeds to your NutriBlasts! Or add good quality fish oil capsules to your daily regimen.
Happy Blasting in the New Year!