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Want To Slow Aging? Follow the Diet of Older Japanese Men, Says New Study

Written by Josie Emerson

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It's ground zero to one of the world's "Blue Zones," and a new research collaboration between UCLA and Japanese doctors found a few specific ingredients clearly contribute to the trend.

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It feels like you can’t scroll without the promise of beauty products and surgical procedures to prolong your youth for years to come—at least on the surface. But apart from being mindful of sun exposure, the scientific problems with aging often come from within. Similar to an anti-aging face cream that works to slough away wrinkles, an approach called “geroscience” aims to slow aging and protect your body from disease.

According to the National Institute on Aging, the geroscience hypothesis is that most chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis, among many others, are impacted by aging, so addressing the aging process therapeutically is the best way to prevent all that.

Most research around how to delay aging has focused on drugs and supplements, but a new study authored by researchers from top universities in Japan and California is shining a light on the role diet and nutrition can play in slowing down your biological clock.


The May 2024 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition included 144 men aged between 65 and 72 years. Participants shared details on their smoking and drinking habits, fitness levels, socioeconomic situation, and dietary habits. The researchers also took blood samples from participants and used “epigenetic clocks,” which calculated biological age based on a combination of health markers such as glucose levels, red and white blood cell counts, and more.

The researchers identified two dietary patterns the participants followed: One, which they referred to as the “Western-style dietary pattern,” was characterized by a high intake of meat, processed meats, eggs and mayonnaise-based dressings. The other was called the “healthy Japanese dietary pattern,” characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, seaweed and “natto,” or fermented soybeans.

The study revealed that participants who followed a healthy Japanese dietary pattern showed signs of slower biological aging. This was true even after accounting for other factors like BMI, smoking, drinking and exercise habits.

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These results suggest that a healthy Japanese diet may help delay aging, while a Western diet did not seem to show the same benefit.

The study authors hail previous research which has also shown that dietary programs like the DASH and Mediterranean diets can help slow aging and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, too—so whether you want to sample some natto or eat more “good” fats, international foods can inspire some healthy experimentation.

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