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The Telomere Effect
Why do some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds and some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-year-olds? While many factors contribute to aging and illness, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn discovered a biological indicator called telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes telomeres, which protect our genetic heritage. Drs. Blackburn and Epel's research shows that the length and health of one's telomeres are a biological underpinning of the mind-body connection. They and other scientists have found that changes we can make to our daily habits can protect our telomeres and increase our health spans (the number of years we remain healthy, active, and disease-free).
The Telomere Effect reveals how Blackburn and Epel’s findings, together with research from colleagues around the world, cumulatively show that sleep quality, exercise, aspects of diet, and even certain chemicals profoundly affect our telomeres, and that chronic stress, negative thoughts, strained relationships, and even the wrong neighborhoods can eat away at them.
Drawing from this scientific body of knowledge, they share lists of foods and suggest amounts and types of exercise that are healthy for our telomeres, mind tricks you can use to protect yourself from stress, and information about how to protect your children against developing shorter telomeres, from pregnancy through adolescence. And they describe how we can improve our health spans at the community level, with neighborhoods characterized by trust, green spaces, and safe streets.
"A revolutionary set of findings that can transform the way we live our lives, shaping the very health of our cells by how we use our minds."—Daniel Siegel, author of Mind
"Gives us… with exactly the practical level of detail we need, the long and the short of a new science revealing that how we live our lives, both inwardly and outwardly, individually and collectively, impinges significantly on our health, our well-being, and even our longevity. Mindfulness is a key ingredient, and importantly, issues of poverty and social justice are shown to clearly come into play as well. This book is an invaluable, rigorously authentic, and at its core, exceedingly compassionate and wise contribution to our understanding of health and well-being.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living