Stress is a part of everyday life. However, studies have found that long-term chronic stress may contribute to accelerated cellular aging and premature aging of our organs and appearance. Scary, huh?
Luckily, we can prepare ourselves for the stress to come and buffer against its damaging effects. A recent study from the University of California, San Francisco found that while one cannot stop or prevent stress, its negative effects could be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and sleeping well.1 This study followed 239 post-menopausal women for a year and examined the effect of their lifestyle habits on the telomere length of their immune cells.
The researchers found that women who were exposed to accumulated stress but engaged in healthy behaviors experienced less telomere shortening than women who ate poorly, participated in little physical activity, and did not get adequated sleep. This was the first study of its kind to demonstrate that stressful events could accelerate the aging of our immune cells. Additionally, it shows us that we have the ability to curtail this accelerated aging by making 3 simple lifestyle changes such as getting adequate sleep, exercise, and eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, low fat dairy and fish.