The increased life expectancy and the expansion of the elderly population are stimulating research into aging. Aging may be viewed as a multifactorial process that results from the interaction of genetic and environmental factors, which include lifestyle. Human molecular processes are influenced by physiological pathways as well as exogenous factors, which include the diet. Dietary components have substantive effects on metabolic health; for instance, bioactive molecules capable of selectively modulating specific metabolic pathways affect the development/progression of cardiovascular and neoplastic disease. As bioactive nutrients are increasingly identified, their clinical and molecular chemopreventive effects are being characterized and systematic analyses encompassing the “omics” technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) are being conducted to explore their action. The evolving field of molecular pathological epidemiology has unique strength to investigate the effects of dietary and lifestyle exposure on clinical outcomes. The mounting body of knowledge regarding diet-related health status and disease risk is expected to lead in the near future to the development of improved diagnostic procedures and therapeutic strategies targeting processes relevant to nutrition. The state of the art of aging and nutrigenomics research and the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of bioactive nutrients on the main aging-related disorders are reviewed herein.
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