Cellular aging

What is aging?

Aging is a natural process of becoming older as we age and it occurs in all body cells. Cells are the basic unit of human body, therefore, our body health begins at the cellular level. Human body is composed of 40 trillion to 60 trillion cells. Every day, numerous cells are damaged, dead and regenerated. Cell damage causes the decline in cellular functions, and eventually leads to cell death. As the cellular aging process accelerates, organ function will be affected. Therefore, healthy organ begins with healthy cells.

Aging process

Cellular aging is closely related to telomeres, telomeres shorten as we age. Do you know what is telomeres? Telomeres are like protective caps which located at the end of the chromosomes to protect our DNA. As much as it might be difficult to imagine, you may visualize it as a shoelace where there is a plastic cap at the end to prevent the shoelace from being loosening. As the cell divides, telomeres gradually shrink, the length of telomeres indicates the cell's ability to replicate. Telomeres are like a countdown timer of cells. As the telomeres shorten, the cells gradually age to the point of cell death.

Factors that cause aging

Besides the natural aging process, there are many external factors that could accelerate the aging process, such as stress, ultraviolet rays, smoking, alcohol consumption, sugar intake, and poor dietary choices. Tobacco contains hundreds of harmful substances that will damage the skin collagen and elastin. And nicotine in the tobacco could even leads to the constriction of blood vessels, affecting nutrients and oxygen flow to skin cells. Besides lifestyle habits, eating habits are also playing an important role on cellular aging. Food which are high in trans fats, sugar and carbohydrates have great influence in cellular aging. Sugar speeds up the shortening process of telomeres and accelerate the cellular aging process. From our daily diet, besides sweet food or beverages, carbohydrates that we consume daily such as bread, noodles and rice are also converted into sugar in the human body.

CHEVIN Nutritionist Ke Qi:

There are many non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes which are associated with aging. When the aging process accelerates, the risk of the NCDs will also increase. Dietary choices play an important role in cellular aging process, therefore, try to reduce the consumption of high fat, high sugar or high carbohydrate food. You may increase the consumption of high antioxidant food in your diet such as citrus food, broccoli and legumes. Antioxidant could protect cells from free radicals attack and delay cellular aging process. Besides, it would be better if you could quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption not only accelerate aging, but also affect our organ health.

Nutritionist Lau Ke Qi

  • Taylor's University
  • Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition
  • Master degree in Nutrition University Putra Malaysia
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