Affiliations: Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Via Adamello 16, 20139 Milan, Italy
Corresponding author: Dr. Greta Caprara, Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Via Adamello 16, 20139 Milan, Italy. Tel.: +39 02 94375054; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Since the dawn of time human beings have been trying to improve the quality of the existence and extend their lifespan. Genetic, environmental, behavioral and dietary factors influence the pathways that regulate aging and life expectancy, thus rendering longevity a very complex phenomenon. Although a long-lived elixir has not yet been found, physicians and scientists agree that nutrition has a major impact on the overall mortality and morbidity, hence becoming the subject of a widespread scientific research. This review describes, analyzes and compares the effects of different types of diets in reducing the onset of typical Western countries non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (cardiovascular diseases, tumors, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, etc.), thus increasing the average lifespan. It will first depict the most relevant characteristics, nutraceutical properties and effects on the populations of the Mediterranean, Japanese, Vegetarian and New Nordic Diet. Finally, it will describe the impact of different dietary restrictions in modulating the genetic pathways that regulate metabolism and aging. Overall, this work reinforces the evidence that specific eating habits, in addition to healthy and active lifestyles, are crucial to increase people’s health span and to achieve an optimal longevity.