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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2009;49 Suppl 1:19-27. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.09.008.

Nutrition, longevity and behavior.

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Department of Medical Physiopathology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Nutrition offers the means to improve health and well-being and among the predictive factors of successful aging, nutrition appears as one of the major determinants. Whereas adequate nutrition plays a major role in a healthy lifestyle that maintains bodily and mental functioning, inadequate nutrition contributes to a loss of function and to the development and progression of disease. At the moment recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is established to cover the needs of populations of the healthy elderly. In the future special recommendations for subgroups of individuals are essential, taking into account individual health status and genetic factors. Nutrient guidelines for elderly are basically the same as for young adults, propagating a balanced varied nutrition that is rich in complex carbohydrate sources, fruits and vegetables providing fiber, antioxidant and functional nutrients, fish providing vitamin D and essential fatty acids, adequate water supply in view of their potentially impaired thirst perception and reduced renal functions. Finally a balanced diet is the best way to avoid deficiencies and maintain health. If in subgroups of the elderly population an adequate nutrition cannot be achieved, low dose dietary supplements and/or fortified foods and beverages can contribute to improve nutrient intake.

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