11. Nutrition and Aging

Andrea MINUTI a, Vania PATRONE a, Gianluca GIUBERTI a, Giorgia SPIGNO a, Amedeo PIETRI a, Paola BATTILANI a, Paolo AJMONE MARSAN a

a Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.

Abstract. The world elderly population is rapidly increasing. This demographic change represents a new challenge for the society and demands for a multi-sectorial intervention to promote a long, healthy, and active life span. Between the factors that contribute in fostering a long healthy life, the nutritional regime plays a central role and is recognized as a major factor in the onset of chronic diseases. A better understanding of the interaction between nutrition and ageing is essential to unravel the mechanisms responsible for these positive/negative effects and to identify diet components promoting the quality of life in the old age and to contribute to the prevention of late-life disabilities. At Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the research activity in food science is focusing on four main objectives: food quality, food safety, functional foods and diet balancing. These objectives are the target of multidisciplinary ongoing and future research activities for a better understanding of the link between diet and ageing. Briefly, the different activities are addressed to the study of the following subjects: the most relevant factors affecting food choices and habits of old aged persons; the effects of long term low dose supplementation of conjugated linoleic acid in mouse; the use of low glycemic index and high resistant starch foods to prevent diabetes and obesity; the adjuvant effect of food bacteria for vaccination; the role of food ingredients in disease; the immunosuppression effect of mycotoxins, and its relevance in ageing people; the production of sustainable and natural antioxidant ingredients to encourage a healthy diet. Our research projects emphasize an holistic and integrated approach that, by bringing together complementary research groups, can combine the collective expertise and thus provide a comprehensive assessment of the role of nutrition in healthy ageing people.

Keywords. Nutrition, Ageing, Diet, Elderly

DOI: 10.3233/978-1-61499-425-1-112