Superfoods for a Long, Healthy Life

By Dr Ernst
April 28, 2017

Do you want to be a centurion? Do you want to hit those double digits?

Surprisingly, most people say no when asked that question. Their fear is their final years will be uncomfortable, sick, lonely. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

If you could live to more than 100 and be healthy, would you do it? Of course! And here’s how to do just that.

Aging in the DNA

If you want to get into anti-aging, you’ve first got to understand what causes aging in the first place! On a genetic level, we have our chromosomes – 46 to be exact – and they look like little “X”s. They are actually extremely tightly-wound bundles of DNA and they code everything in our bodies. If you’re thinking of it like an “X”, imagine how there are four points at the end of each leg of it. These end points are called telomeres. (see image)

The thing is, every time our chromosomes regenerate themselves, these telomeres tend to get a little shorter. Thus the chromosomes themselves get shorter. The shorter they get, the “older” you become. Things start to happen like wrinkles on your skin, less efficient organ systems, less efficient brain activity, less efficient detox, less efficient hair growth and regeneration, etc.

At some point, the become too short to where they can’t direct cell division throughout the body at all anymore. That’s when people die of “old age.” Types of cells that reproduce more often than others are more affected by telomere shortening than others. This includes skin, hair and the immune system.

So why do the telomeres shorten?

A big part of it—the part we can control—is oxidative stress. Basically, the exposure to free radicals in the body inhibits the regeneration of DNA, and thus chromosomes, and thus makes the telomeres ultimately shorter. This happens for unknown reasons without the presence of free radicals, but when free radicals are present, telomere shortening happens between 2.5 and 5 times more quickly.

Obviously, the next question becomes: well how do I lengthen my telomeres or at least stop or slow them from shortening???

Anti-Aging – Stress

Managing stress is a HUGE part of longevity. Stress ages people and we all know that. Just look at Obama’s hair! There are a bunch of fascinating studies on this. For example, one study compared caregiving mothers whose children had a challenging chronic disease with a group of control mothers. The caregiver mothers had telomeres on average 10-years shorter than the control moms. Their cells were behaving as if they were 10 years older.

Or another study looked at the telomeres of boys who came from stressful home environments, i.e., poverty, a parent in the criminal justice system, domestic abuse, drugs, etc. and found that their telomeres were 40% shorter than a control group of same-aged boys. You’ve got to manage your stress.

Get outside, get some exercise, pray, meditate and do things you enjoy whether it be building furniture in your garage or hiking in the mountains. Get enough sleep (7-8 hours per day), remove unnecessary stressors from you life.

Anti-Aging – Food

Obviously, you need to avoid toxins as best you can and get rid of them as best you can. So, don’t smoke, drink in moderation, get your home tested for things like carbon monoxide, radon, mold, asbestos, lead, etc. And fix these issues as they arise. Don’t eat processed foods or farm-raised meats. Eat organic fruits and vegetables. Get an air filter in your home. Detox is its own ballgame, something for several other articles (and we have several articles you can search on detox) but I though this article should focus on food, which does have something to do with detox, as you will see below.

When toxins get into your system, they don’t just sit there. They decay, like radioactive particles. The process of decay gives off these little damaging atom (or atom clusters) called free radicals that have an odd, unpaired number of electrons.  Free radicals are damaging in that they cause genetic disruptions—including cancer and the shortening of telomeres. The most common sources of free radicals for us is smoking, alcohol, fried foods, pesticides and air pollution. You can probably avoid most if not all of these with lifestyle management. But it still happens because we live in a toxic world.

So, to get rid of free radicals, you need antioxidants:

  • Berries
  • Green tea
  • Artichokes
  • Dark chocolate (VERY dark)
  • Pecans
  • Kidney beans
  • Cranberries
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna (wild-caught of course)

I’m going to go so far as to suggest you have two or three days per week of antioxidant meals only. Imagine it – a berry smoothie in the morning, a dark, leafy green salad for lunch and salmon with sweet potatoes for dinner and a couple of pieces of super dark chocolate for dessert. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it!

Let’s talk about Vitamins

A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took a daily multivitamin had about 5% longer telomeres than those who didn’t. The study also identified two vitamin as most effective in preserving telomere length – Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Now of course you can go get yourself a multivitamin, but the ones you’ll find at CVS or Walmart are mostly sugar and not much vitamin. The top-selling vitamin for adults on Amazon is The vitafusion women’s multivitamin and it has (combining carbs and sugar) 5g of sugar per serving. But I will say the vitamin daily values are pretty good.

The best way to get Vitamin C is to eat colorful foods like:

  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava. Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale

For Vitamin E, you can eat:

  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Butternut squash.


An enzyme called telomerese actually helps lengthen your telomeres and there are supplements that can give you that enzyme. But it’s better to let your body produce telomerese itself, and it can do that with the presence of Omega 3 fatty acids.

You can get a ton of that from fatty fish. However, it is imperative that they are wild-caught fish and not farm raised. Why? Putting aside the use of antibiotics, grains as feed and hormone manipulation, studies have shown that farm raised fish actually have up to 50% lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught fish. So, if your aim is to get those Omega-3s and lengthen your life, eating farm-raised fish isn’t going to be as up to the task as wild-caught fish.

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Krill oil
  • Herring
  • Trout

You can also get a good dose of omega 3s from:

  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Spinach
  • Winter squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Flax seeds

Soy products also have a lot of omega 3s, but I recommend against eating them for various reasons. For one, almost all soy products in the U.S. are covered in pesticides and genetically modified. As the second-most subsidized crop in America, it’s a huge money maker for farmers and food companies, so it gets a lot of industrial attention. You can get organic soy products, but then you’re still dealing with xenoestrogens that throw off people’s hormone balances. Honestly, soy isn’t that great of a food for human consumption in my opinion.

Mitigating the damage

There are supplements for anti-aging. CoQ10 has been shown to reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

And a physical process in the body called methylation, in which a single carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms are applied to the process of repairing DNA, helps repair, prevent and protect from the effects of free radical damage.

You can improve your methylation by ensuring you get enough of your B vitamins, folate and riboflavin. So eat things like:

  • Chicken
  • Beef liver
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

There’s your quick guide to food and longevity–with a bit of science thrown in for good measure. This month, superfoods and how they can help us is the theme. Next week, check out how superfoods can help you with your energy levels. See you then.


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