Can you eat your way to a longer life? It’s a question people often pose to experts like Laura L. Carstensen, PhD, a professor of psychology and the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity in Stanford, California — and more and more research suggests the answer may be yes.

According to a chapter in Nutrition, Food, and Diet in Ageing and Longevity, published in October 2021, studies have found that diets such as the Mediterranean diet, the Okinawa diet, the Nordic diet, and vegetarian diets promote longevity. It’s likely that these diets help protect your cells against aging thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other substances they contain.

But what does science say about the connection?

Can Your Diet Ward Off Age-Related Diseases?

Researchers have found that eating — or not eating — certain types of foods can affect your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes that can, in turn, affect how long you are likely to live. While no single food is going to guarantee you’ll live to see 100, research has found that certain eating patterns contribute to a long life span by lowering the risk for chronic diseases associated with aging.

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