We’ve talked about telomeres before. They’re those little caps that sit on the end of your chromosomes.

Like the tip on a shoelace, they help protect your DNA strands.

But as we age, our telomeres get worn down. Each time your cells divide, the little caps become thinner and thinner.

And they offer less and less protection too. Which means your risk for all the diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, macular degeneration and heart disease rises.

Researchers are constantly searching for ways to protect our telomeres. Because if we can crack that code we can prevent them from being worn down so quickly.

And that means we can essentially slow down the hands of time.

But, these breakthroughs aren’t easy to find. So you can imagine the surprise when a group of scientists stumbled upon a “fountain of youth” in the produce aisle.

Could carotenoids be the REAL “fountain of youth”?

It turns out three specific antioxidant carotenoids found in certain fruits and vegetables don’t just put the brakes on aging. This triple nutrient tag-team works together to INCREASE the length of your telomeres by eight percent.

Now I know eight percent might not sound like much, at first. But it’s actually incredible. Because that means these nutrients are in effect REVERSING aging.

According to the study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, we should focus on fruits and vegetables that are rich in three specific age-defying carotenoids…

  1. beta carotene
  2. beta cryptoxanthin
  3. alpha carotene

The study found that a diet rich in beta carotene could beef up your telomeres by 2.22 percent. Beta cryptoxanthin increases the density of those protective caps by 2.02 percent. And eating lots of alpha carotene rich foods can reverse telomere thinning by 1.76 percent.

Fill your menu with all three of these antioxidants and they work together to give you an even bigger age-defying boost.

I’ll have more on how to do that in just a moment. But first let’s take a closer look at these remarkable “fountain of youth” carotenoids.

Antioxidant carotenoids help put the brakes on aging

Carotenoids are the pigments which give certain fruits and vegetables their vibrant red, orange and green colors.

These natural antioxidants fight the oxidative stress that cause our telomeres to shrink and us to age. Which is why eating a bunch of carotenoid-rich foods appears to slow the aging process down.

In the real world that could mean reducing your risk for some of the most devastating diseases of aging.

For example, when Harvard scientists took a deeper dive into the existing research on carotenoids they confirmed their cancer-fighting abilities.  Women with the highest carotenoid levels were 15 to 20 percent less likely to receive a breast cancer diagnosis than peers who had low levels.

And in another study, researchers found folks eating the most alpha and beta carotene rich foods slashed their risk for age-related macular degeneration by up to 35 percent.

So how can YOU start reaping those “fountain of youth” rewards yourself? Head to your nearest Farmer’s market or produce aisle and start stocking up.

Foods rich in beta carotene include sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, spinach, romaine lettuce, pumpkin, sweet red peppers, butternut squash, peas and broccoli.

To raise your beta cryptoxanthin levels eat more sweet red peppers, pumpkin, papayas, tangerines, paprika, persimmons, cilantro and chili powder.

And don’t forget the alpha carotene packed foods including pumpkin, carrots, parsley, butternut squash, tomato juice, spinach, kale, red bell peppers, avocados and cabbage.

To turn your own kitchen into a “fountain of youth” fill your plate with plenty of these delicious, carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables.

Article by : Alice Jacob, Healthier Talk.