There is a secret to aging well, and I’ve talked about them before-Telomeres. Keep telomeres happy, and there’s a good chance you’ll ascend more gracefully into the golden years. Telomeres are the endings on the tips of your DNA-filled chromosomes, and are often compared to the plastic endings on the ends of shoelaces that keep the shoelace from unraveling. Telomeres keep the DNA within a chromosome from unraveling or becoming damaged-or from accidentally connecting to another chromosome, which causes mutations and eventually, cancer.

Telomere health is most enhanced by a healthy diet (lots of vegetables and fruits), exercise, and stress management.

Speaking of exercise, regular exercise has been linked to the prevention of some 25 health problems, according to a large review published in the December 2010 International Journal of Clinical Practice. Among the benefits were a lower risk of erectile dysfunction and a reduced risk of some cancers. Aim for 30 minutes of vigorous activity at least 5X/week.

I recently discovered that capers and nopalitas (paddle cactus) are super cancer fighters. Capers are a member of the mustard family, and are highly protective against the big C. Nopalitas have wonderful antioxidant compounds that fight diseases on several fronts. You may be able to find them in your local market in jars.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.