You might still be in your early 20s, but that doesn’t mean you should not concern yourself with ageing.

In fact, science shows that you can actually slow the ageing process down and future-proof how your skin, hair, body and bones age.

Good nutrition is absolutely necessary in living a longer life. Adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet can reduce your chances of illness and risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who ate more wholesome foods over time, improved their chances of living longer.

The study looked at data over 12 years and involved more that 73,700 men and women and they found that improving diet by just 20% was linked to a 8-17% lower risk of premature death. Eating 20% more of unhealthy foods, in contrast, contributed to a 6-12% increased risk in death.

To ensure you are future proofing your longevity, make sure you eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, at least two serves of fruit and 5 serves of veggies per day.

Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is essential and studies show that a vegetarian diet which is higher in plant foods pose a 12-15% lower risk of premature death.

There are certain foods you eat to help preserve longevity. Mushrooms for example contain key ingredients and health benefits. A recent study by Pennsylvania State University found that mushrooms contain high amounts of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, compounds known to help prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Cordyceps are also high in Beta-glucan a soluble fibre to aid digestive and heart health while Reishi mushrooms contain immune boosting properties.

Avocados contain healthy fats to help lower the cholesterol and stave off heart disease. A study published in the journal Cancer research found that molecules found in avocados targeted cancer stem cells.

Blueberries are also packed full of antioxidants to help stave off ageing. A British Journal study found that eating flavonoid rich foods such as blueberries reduced the risk of mortality.

Tomatoes also help fight inflammation thanks to high levels of lycopene which has been linked to lowering the cholesterol.

Apples contain powerful properties to help fight ageing too.  A review published in Advances in Nutrition found that apples can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease, and may also be associated with improved outcomes related to cognitive decline of ageing, weight management, and bone health.

Nuts are also nutrient powerhouse and contain healthy fats, fibre, antioxidants , vitamins and key minerals such as magnesium and potassium to help preserve longevity. One study showed that those who consumed more nuts had a 39% lower mortality risk.

Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines which are high in vitamins A and D and rich in omega 3 fatty acids are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, brain damage and stroke.

Garlic contains immune enhancing compounds to help breakdown substances that cause cancer and carcinogens in the body.

You should also avoid processed, sugary and fatty foods such as fast food, lollies and fizzy drinks. These are considered as empty calories with no nutrients to fuel the body or protect the immune system. In fact these foods are likely to age you further and increase inflammation in the body, which in turn leads to obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Remember, nutrition is fuel and with the right fuel you will live a longer and disease-free life and you’ll slow down how fast your hair greys, your skin wrinkles and your body ages.

If you neglect your nutrition, you are more than likely to increase your chances of sickness and mortality as well as accelerate the ageing process.