Diet for the elderly

A personalised nutrition approach
Micronutrients such as zinc, copper and selenium play a pivotal role in a range of physiological functions and maintain immune and antioxidant systems (Eugenio Mocchegiani et al.). The complex interactions between micronutrients and genes could help in understanding how best to use nutrients as supplements in clinical practice. Further genetic and nutritional studies are required to clearly define the impact of these micronutrients.
Targeting the human gut microbiome (Sebastiano Collino et al.) is an emerging field of personalised nutrition. This approach could help to identify key molecular mechanisms affected by diet and inflammaging, and lead to basic profiles of health and diagnostic tools to address conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Three papers cover the interaction between diet and the gut microbiota (Candela et al.), the effect of an elderly tailored diet on cognitive decline and brain and gut connections, including the liver and pancreas (Caracciolo et al.). Nutritional interventions such as low calorie intake with nutrient supplementation can impact an individual’s cell epigenetic profile e.g. DNA methylation, microRNA and organs (Bacalini et al.). Better knowledge of gene interactions with nutrients and the environment may lead to earlier interventions of malnutrition in people (Yves Boirie et al.). And more genomic information may identify impacts of general health recommendation policies in at-risk, elderly sub-populations.
The effect of diet on immunosenescence, which is the functional decline of the immune system (Maijo´ et al.), and changes that happen in ageing fat tissue (Zamboni et al.) are both assumed to be major sources of inflammation. Nutritional interventions have shown some promising results in targeting some impairments of an ageing immune system; combining interventions with a whole diet approach could be more beneficial.
It is commonly known that physical exercise can benefit health and age-related decline. In one study (van de Rest et al.), resistance-type exercises, using a number of body techniques and workout machines, with and without protein supplementation, was undertaken to see the effect on cognitive functions in frail and pre-frail elderly people. After 24 weeks of training a beneficial improvement was noted in participants’ information processing speed, attention and working memory.

food pyramid

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