Nutrients associated with diseases related to aging: a new healthy aging diet index for elderly population

Manuel Lozano Relaño, Lara Manyes, Juango Peiró, José María Ramada


Introduction: several indexes are used to measure the quality of nutrition in advanced ages. None of them were designed to evaluate nutrition to avoid disabilities in elderly population.

Objectives: to retrieve from literature “nutrients and intakes” showing to be involved in aging, and propose a new index, considering this information, to evaluate the quality of nutrition for preventing diseases related to aging.

Methods: a bibliographic review was performed, retrieving information on nutrients associated with aging. All these nutrients were incorporated into a new Healthy Aging Diet Index (HADI). Next, a cross-sectional study was carried out with two convenience samples of elderly, collecting the nutritional and dietary data, calculating different validated indexes and comparing them with HADI to validate the results.

Results: forty-eight manuscripts were retrieved for full-text analysis. Associations were found between cardiovascular diseases and macronutrients,
dietary fibre, sodium and vitamin D; cancer and fatty acids; diabetes and fatty acids, fibre and simple sugars; osteopenia/osteoporosis and calcium and vitamin D; sarcopenia and proteins, calcium, and vitamin D; and between cognitive impairment and fatty acids and folates. Sample 2, associated with rural areas, obtained lower indexes’ scores. The behavior of HADI is similar to the other indexes (6.24/14 and 6.10/14 in samples 1 and 2, respectively).

Conclusions: the presented collection of nutrients adds useful evidence for the design of diets that allow healthy aging. The new index proposed is a tool of specific nutritional measurement in studies aimed to prevent diseases related to aging.

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