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Memory loss? Ageing skin? What stress is doing to us

On The Times today you can find a very interesting article on a new book by the writer Thea Singer, which has created controversy in America. Singer claims that stress is a leading cause of telomeres erosion and that women who take on too much stress are risking their health AND their looks.

Each time a cell divides, the telomere (parts of the DNA that act as protective sheaths foe chromosomes) gets a tiny bit shorter. Apparently stress speeds this process.

Stress-related telomere shrinkage seems particularly damaging for women. For example women with highly stressful jobs have a 40 per cent higher chance of cardiovascular disease. A study based on 17000 women at a Boston hospital found that job strain and insecurity increase the risk of heart attack ninefold.

Other effects of telomere shrinkage include premature ageing-wrinkling skin, greying hair and sagging muscles.

I know it all sounds a bit depressive for a Saturday morning…specially when you  have a mllion things to do including the housework, taking care of the kids and that thing you forgot to do at work on Friday, however the good news is that the damage caused seems to be reversable!

All you need to do is make some lifetyle changes. Here are the 10 golden rules:

(1) STAY POSITIVE – pessimism accelerates telomere shortening

(2) EXERCISE – ladies we know this! Exercise is the best anti-ageing of all!!! Forget about creams, lotions and potions to keep your cellulite under control and make your legs firmer. Keep your muscles toned for a younger body!

(3) AVOID CRASH DIETS – yo yo dieting has a damaging knock on effect on your body!

(4) EAT FRUIT AND VEG – once again nothing new!! We just have to persevere!


(6) DON’T DRINK – medics at the university of Milan have found that drinking causes stress and inflammation to telomeres.

(7) EAT FISH – this rule is definitely easier to follow, isn’t it?

(8) SOCIALISE and (9) FIND A PARTNER –  emotional support means that your brain is under lesser amounts of stress hormones.

(10) CHECK YOUR MOLES – those with more than 100 moles apparently tend to have longer telomeres compared with those who have fewer than 25. The difference in length of telomeres equated to 6 or 7 years of ageing (according to research at Kings College London).

With golden rules n.8 and n.9 to cheer us up, this new finding may be yet one more reason to finally start leading a healthier life. It is good for your heart, eyesight and hearing, memory, reproductive system…but also skin and hair!

To read the full article go to http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/health/article2814273.ece

We want to hear your thoughts. Do you lead a healthy lifestyle? Is it hard? What is stopping us…now that we all know that drinking, smoking are bad…fruit and veg are good, exercise a must…have you changed your habits in the past years?

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