BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder is a common, chronic condition that imposes a substantial burden of disability globally. As current treatments are estimated to address only one-third of the disease burden of depressive disorders, there is a need for new approaches to prevent depression or to delay its progression. While in its early stages, converging evidence from laboratory, population research, and clinical trials now suggests that dietary patterns and specific dietary factors may influence the risk for depression.
An ideal diet is one that promotes optimal health and longevity. Throughout history, human societies have developed varieties of dietary patterns based on available food plants and animals that successfully supported growth and reproduction. As economies changed from scarcity to abundance, principal diet-related diseases have shifted from nutrient deficiencies to chronic diseases related to dietary excesses. This shift has led to increasing scientific consensus that eating more plant foods but fewer animal foods would best promote health.
The current adult guidelines for a healthy diet make no distinctions between adults aged 25-50 y and those aged 51 y and over. The question is whether dietary guidelines ought to be stratified by age, in recognition of the dietary and nutrient needs of the growing population of elderly adults. There are limited data on nutrient requirements of older adults. Aging is accompanied by a variety of physiological, psychological, economic and social changes that may adversely affect nutritional status.
The potential impact of dietary manipulation on the maintenance of physical and cognitive function between middle and old age has profound consequences for optimization of health, independence and well-being for the latter years. This review article considers four key areas: the role of diet and longevity; potential dietary measures to prevent sarcopenia; diet and cognitive function; and dietary interventions with regard to primary or secondary prevention of age-related chronic disorders.
Pre-term infants born four months before term have a very low birth weight; in an evolutionary sense, they were never 'meant' to survive through the evolutionary period preceding the technological age. In the same way, evolution failed to contemplate survival to ages 50, 60, 70 and beyond. Because peak reproductive performance comes before the vagaries of a given individual's survival is determined, and the fact of that survival conveys no advantage to disseminating the genetic make-up, natural selection cannot select for advantages related to longevity.
OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence that the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with longevity. SETTING: Elderly persons of both genders in Greece, Spain, Denmark and Australia studied by different groups of investigators. METHODS: Adherence to the principles of the Mediterranean diet was operationalised through a score devised a priori, and study participants were followed up until death or the end of the study. Proportional hazard models were used.
A best evidence topic in cardiothoracic surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether restricting dietary salt intake would provide protection from adverse cardiovascular events or mortality. Using the reported search, 462 papers were identified of which 14 papers represented the best evidence on the subject. The author, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and weaknesses were tabulated.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein, as promulgated by the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Academy of Science, is 0.8 g protein/kg body weight/day for adults, regardless of age. This value represents the minimum amount of protein required to avoid progressive loss of lean body mass in most individuals. There is an evidence that the RDA for elderly may be greater than 0.8 g/kg/day. Evidence indicates that protein intake greater than the RDA can improve muscle mass, strength and function in elderly.
Science and technology are modernizing the field of nutrition and are consequently increasing its complexity. New food developments such as fortified foods and functional foods are evidence of its modernization. The increased specificity of nutrient- and food-intake recommendations and the breadth of claims on food packages are evidence of nutrition's growing complexity. Unfortunately, research on the consumer acceptability of new food developments and nutrition education initiatives has not kept pace with advancements in the field.