The Simple Eating Strategy That Could Hit Pause on Aging and Cancer

Aging and cancer are two things that may seem completely unrelated on the surface, but they actually share a common link – misbehaving DNA.

When the DNA in your cells goes rogue, it can speed up the aging process and lead to cancer.

But don’t worry, there’s good news coming from laboratory research at Brown University; they discovered that a simple eating trick may be able to stop that misbehavior while keeping you younger.

Eat less for better DNA control

This eating trick is as straightforward as it gets – just eat less. The scientists at Brown University closely examined what they call “parasitic” strands of DNA, which are genetic material that can run amok, and found that consuming fewer calories can keep these rogue genes under better control.

Jill Kreiling, one of the researchers, says, “As (organisms) age, we are seeing deregulation of these elements, and they begin to be expressed and increase in copy number in the genome. This may be a very important mechanism in leading to genome instability. A lot of the chronic diseases associated with aging, such as cancer, have been associated with genome instability.”

A widespread phenomenon across species

This aging process appears to take place in many different species. As animals get older, their parasitic DNA, also called RTEs (retrotransposable elements), becomes more active.

John Sedivy, a professor at Brown, explains, “This brings home the magnitude of the problem. We looked in some pretty major tissues. This appears to be a much more widespread phenomenon. The observation that RTEs become activated with chronological aging of (animal) tissues also brings this research in close alignment with very similar discoveries using the fruit fly Drosophila in the labs of Brown Professors Stephen Helfand and Robert Reenan. The remarkable evolutionary conservation of these fundamental molecular processes indicates that they are likely important aspects of aging.”

The impact of calorie restriction on aging

The researchers found that, in the laboratory, the RTEs proliferated at a lower rate in animals that were fed 40 percent fewer calories than those who ate normally. Calorie restriction has been frequently demonstrated to offset many consequences of aging in different animal models.

On the other hand, they also found that several RTEs were much more abundant in mouse tissues affected by naturally occurring cancers, such as lymphoma and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Implementing calorie restriction in your own life

So, now that we know eating less can have a positive impact on the aging process and inhibit the development of cancer, how can you safely implement this practice in your own life?

1. Focus on nutrient-dense foods

When you’re eating less, it becomes even more important to choose nutrient-dense foods over empty calories. Opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which will not only provide necessary nutrients but will also help you feel full and satisfied.

2. Practice mindful eating

Instead of wolfing down your meal in front of the TV or while scrolling through your phone, try to be more present while you eat. Pay attention to the flavors and textures of your food, and chew thoroughly to aid in digestion. Eating mindfully can help you better recognize when you’re full, making it easier to cut back on portions.

3. Don’t skip meals

It’s important not to take calorie restriction to the extreme by regularly skipping meals. Doing so may lead to intense hunger and cravings, which can cause you to overeat later on. Instead, aim to eat three balanced meals per day with occasional healthy snacks when needed.

4. Stay hydrated

Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger, so ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help you feel at your best and prevent you from eating when you’re not actually hungry.

5. Listen to your body

Remember, every person is different, and what works for one may not work for another. The key is to pay attention to how your body feels and adjust your eating habits accordingly. If you find that cutting calories leaves you feeling tired or ill, it’s time to reevaluate your approach.

In conclusion, the research from Brown University shows that calorie restriction may help slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer by keeping rogue DNA under control. By making mindful adjustments to your diet and focusing on nutrient-dense foods, you can take advantage of this simple but powerful eating trick to work towards a healthier and more youthful version of yourself.