Book Review: The Telomere Effect

Author: Elizabeth Blackburn & Elissa Epel

Subtitled “Living Younger, Healthier, Longer”, this book is an evidence-based guide to the lifestyle factors that impact ageing, with plenty of practical information and tips you can implement to help live a longer and healthier life.

Telomeres are tiny caps on the end of our DNA, a bit like the tips on shoelaces, and are believed to protect the DNA from damage. As our cells age, the telomeres shorten and fray.  But, as the authors explain, there are many things we can do to protect our telomeres.

The book is divided into four sections.

Part 1 explains what telomeres, the role they play in ageing and the power of having longer telomeres.

Part 2 discusses the impact of stress on telomeres and ageing. Learn how your personality and thinking styles can affect your telomeres, along with stress reducing techniques you can use to help with managing stress, anxiety and depression.

Part 3 starts with a self-assessment of the personal wellbeing and lifestyle factors know to be related to telomere length, so you can identify the areas you might want to focus on.  This is followed by chapters on exercise, sleep and nutrition, with plenty of practical suggestions for each.  There are also tips for breaking habits and building new habits along with an example of what a ‘perfect’ day might look for if you are focused on supporting your telomeres and protecting them from damage.

The final section (part 4) discusses the influence of our environment, along with the impact of lifestyle factors during pregnancy and early childhood on a child’s future health.

The main action points from the book are summarised at the end in ‘The Telomere Manifesto’, which acts as a great reminder of the main messages to take away from the book.

While the authors spend time explaining the science, this is combined with plenty of practical information and tips, making the book easy and enjoyable to read. And for those who want to understand more about the science of telomeres, there’s a comprehensive list of references for each chapter at the end.

If you’re interested in learning more about how and why we age, and the lifestyle changes you can make to slow ageing and live a longer and healthier life, this book is well worth reading.

For more details visit http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/the-telomere-effect/

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