In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon journeyed to Florida to search for the magical Fountain of Youth. Leon may have not been successful in his quest to find waters that keep people young, but modern-day researchers may have found the key to antiaging in the form of something called telomeres.

Telomeres 101

Telomeres are the protective caps that are found on the ends of your chromosomes. When you are young, your telomeres are around 8,000 to 10,000 nucleotides long, explains Stanford Medicine. Each time your cells divide, the telomeres get a bit shorter. This process has been linked to aging and disease. As the researchers at Stanford discovered, telomere extension turns back the aging clock in cultured human cells. This procedure lengthened human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, which is equivalent to many years.

Fortunately, you don’t have to fly to California and present your cells to the Stanford scientists to maintain the length of your telomeres. As it turns out, a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and supplements provide an effective one-two punch to telomere length.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress has been linked to shorter telomeres, reports Dr. Axe. If you are finding it difficult to juggle work, family and the myriad of other daily responsibilities, you owe it to yourself (and your telomeres) to find ways to manage this ongoing stress. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and finding ways to take care of yourself every day reduce your stress level, which in turn can help keep your telomeres longer.

Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants, a substance that wards off free radical damage in the body. To maintain the length of your telomeres, it’s important to eat a diet that is full of antioxidant-rich foods. A great way to do this is to strive to “eat the rainbow” every day. Foods like strawberries, carrots, yellow bell peppers, kale, spinach, blueberries and blackberries are chock full of antioxidant nutrients that help prevent cell damage.

Add Supplements for Nutritional Insurance

While you might have the best dietary intentions, some days are better than others. To ensure your body is getting all of the telomere-enhancing nutrition it needs, add some top-quality supplements to your daily routine. In addition to vitamins A, C and E, folate/folic acid helps you produce new and healthy cells. Other supplements that help keep your telomeres long include omega-3, which is found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, and vitamin D.

One note of advice: in the world of supplements, all products are not created equally. To be sure you are spending your hard-earned money on top-quality supplements that are made by companies with high safety standards, take some time to research the different brands. For example, Amway discusses safety on its social media accounts. On Twitter, the brand posted a tweet about its high safety standards and staff toxicologists that ensure product safety.

By tbb