The Benefits of Meditation
One of the cheapest and easiest things one can do to improve their health is daily meditation, as it can provide the meditator with a myriad of health benefits. It has been shown to lessen the effects of psychological stress on inflammation. Furthermore, it can lessen the symptoms of an anxiety disorder or depression, both of which may be linked to inflammation.
If you need one more reason take a break and bask in the present moment, meditation may slow the shortening of your telomeres.
What Are Telomeres?
Telomeres are the tips at the ends of your chromosomes that contain “junk” DNA, or DNA that isn’t used to code any of your important genetic information, sheathed in special proteins. As your cells replicate, the system that copies has trouble copying the entire strand, meaning some DNA doesn’t get copied. The Telomeres take that hit so copies can be made without the loss of any important coding DNA being lost or damaged. Once a cell’s telomeres are too short, the cell becomes senescent and can no longer divide.
Why are Telomeres important?
When cells become senescent they promote inflammation, damaging nearby cells. Though the mechanisms are not entirely understood, and the relationship may not be causal, telomere length is inversely correlated with a number of age-related diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Can I lengthen my Telomeres?
To some extent, yes. Telomerase is an enzyme that can rebuild telomeres and prevent senescence and cell death in the presence of short telomeres. Meditation is associated with longer telomeres as well as an increase in telomerase. In addition to meditation, a quality diet may help sustain your telomeres as well as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and effectively manging stress.