The press reported research, published in The Lancet Oncology, on the effect of life style on telomeres. Telomeres are protective caps found on DNA strands. These are stretches of DNA which protect our genetic code. They are often compared to the tips on shoelaces as they stop chromosomes from fraying and unravelling and keep the code stable. After each cell division they shorten. In this way the cell is programmed to self destruct after a certain number of divisions after which the telomeres become too short.
Researchers at the University of California followed a group of 10 men with prostate cancer and asked them to eat a plant-based diet, do exercise, and manage their stress with techniques such as meditation and yoga. They also had group support sessions and lectures on diet and health from medical staff.
The telomeres were measured at the beginning of the study and 5 years later and compared with controls who had not made any lifestyle changes. Whereas the telomeres of the control group had shortened by an average of 3%, those of the healthy lifestyle group had lengthened by an average of 10%. So live like a Shaolin monk if you want a long life! [For more on telomerers read my book p45-46]