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Diet Solutions

Have a question about diets like the Mediterranean diet, South Beach Diet, or Zone Diet? Would you like to learn more about creating a low-sodium, diabetes, or gluten-free diet? You've come to the right place!

A Telomere Friendly Diet

The road to good telomere health is made easier with better choices in your diet. Simple changes in what to eat, and how much, can make a world of difference when it comes to lengthening and maintaining telomere health. For the most part, foods we know to be unhealthy are generally not good for telomeres, while those usual healthy choices will lengthen them. Moderation is important, but legumes, fatty fishes, even coffee, have all shown that they are good foods for taking care of telomeres.

A Telomere Friendly Diet

By lessening and increasing various foods and nutrients, telomeres can keep nourished and result in a number of health benefits!

Creating a Diet for Telomeres


…sugary sodas or sweetened beverages.
Although the sugary drinks may offer quick satisfaction, the long-term consequences of consuming them are far from sweet. Most sugary beverages supply 20 to 20 grams of sugar, which progresses to or overflows the recommended daily added sugar limit of 25 and 36 grams of sugar per day, for women and men, respectively. And not only can a high-sugar diet increase the risk of obesity, but has been linked to shorter telomeres.

…diet soda.
Until recently, switching over from regular to diet soda was the preconceived “healthy” alternative. And while the warrant is still out regarding the effects on telomeres, evidence implies the benefits of diet soda are actually less than desirable, and may even be harmful to both physical and mental health. As years go by and more diet soda is consumed, encouraging diet over regular soda may not be justified after all.

…processed meats.
Recently, claims circulated the concern of meat intake related to an increased risk of cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified red meat as a probable cause of cancer, and processed meat as a confirming cause. Processed meats consist of sausage, lunch meats, hot dogs, ham, bacon, and other forms. In fact, recommendations suggest no more than one to two servings of processed meat per month. And while vegetarian and vegan practices are based on personal choices, incorporating #MeatlessMonday can benefit your health and the earth.

Although red wine does show to have positive outcomes for longevity, too much alcohol may impede on health, including on telomeres. Researchers and health experts strongly encourage the concept of moderation when it comes to alcohol intake, including males drinking no more than two alcoholic servings a day, with women limiting intake to one serving.


…colorful produce.
Color, color, color! The importance of colorful foods cannot be stressed enough when it comes to nourishing the body and telomeres. Not only is color visually appealing, but it naturally reflects the phytochemicals they possess. The rich supply of antioxidants within the plants may defend against oxidation and telomere shortening.

…fatty fish.
Fatty fish, including tuna, herring, and salmon, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are already recognized for their promising role in lessening heart disease risk, though sound evidence supports their contribution for telomere health and length, thanks to its potent antioxidant properties. Additional rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, and olive oil.

…whole grains.
Growing evidence is linking whole grains to telomere length, primarily showing dietary fiber obtained from them providing the largest benefit. Though it is well-known the significance of fiber on digestive health, a recent study published in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests a high-fiber diet could lead to a longer life, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and infectious and respiratory illnesses.

Like whole grains, being a plant-based food group and ample in fiber, legumes show contribution to telomere length and maintenance. Legume sources include bean varieties, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts.

…coffee and green tea.
Not only does drinking that morning coffee awaken the senses to kick off the day, but it has been shown to lengthen telomeres. Though linking coffee and telomere health still deserves further examination, that cup of joe continues to show promise in combatting against chronic disease and increase cognition.

Ultimately, the benefits of consuming whole, unprocessed foods live on. And while the Mediterranean diet is continuously encouraged, a Korean study further validated people who ate more legumes, nuts, seaweed, fruits, and dairy products, and lesser amounts of red and processed meats and sodas, had longer telomeres. Low-fat, plant-based diets are also suggested to stimulate the telomerase enzyme, the protein responsible for adding length to telomeres. If desiring assistance for implementing a well-balanced diet, bistroMD delivers nourishing meals straight your doorstep, along with plant-based meal options!

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on November 30, 2017. Updated on August 12, 2019.


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