Slow Down Aging with This Dinner Choice

Slow Down Aging with This Dinner Choice

The fragile tips on the ends of your DNA? They reveal exactly how young or old you are. And here's the dinner choice that can keep them in tip-top shape: fish.

In a new study, the good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids found in fish appeared to help those fragile DNA tips -- called telomeres -- stay younger longer.

Friendly Fats
Telomeres guard DNA the way plastic shoelace tips stop your sneaker laces from fraying. But telomeres grow shorter as part of the natural aging process. And stress, body inflammation, a lack of exercise, and extra pounds can shorten those tips even faster, essentially opening wider the window to all sorts of body-aging cell damage. We're talking extra wrinkles, gray hair, brittle bones, and even heart disease and cancer.

Cell Police
Enter the fish entree. Scientists suspect that the omega-3s in fish dinners (or lunches, or supplements) activate the body's antioxidant defenses against telomere-munching free radicals. These healthy omega-3 fats may also boost activity of a telomere-pampering enzyme called telomerase. Which probably helps explain why the volunteers in a recent study -- who all had heart disease and were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s -- showed such dramatically different telomere length. During the 5-year study, telomeres appeared to shorten three times faster in the people with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s, compared with people with the highest levels. (Learn more about how to keep your telomeres long and strong.)

Ready to go fish? Check out our fish-inspired recipes and choose one tonight.

Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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