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Composition of healthy diets for older persons.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This study aims to review recent evidence (2022-2023) on the role of diet in promoting healthy aging in older adults.

RECENT FINDINGS: Current evidence of diet and healthy aging is limited to epidemiological studies. A healthy diet is beneficial for individual domains of intrinsic capacity, that is, cognition, locomotion, vitality, psychological, and/or sensory functions, with sex-specific differences reported. Only a few studies used the multidimensional concept of intrinsic capacity as an outcome. This review supports that a healthy diet for older adults consists of plenty of plant-based foods, adequate protein-rich foods, and healthy fats. Next to quantity, improving the quality and variety within food groups play a role in optimizing health. Data on the associations between adherence to national food-based dietary guidelines and intrinsic capacity are scarce.

SUMMARY: A healthy diet, centered on plant-based foods, adequate protein-rich foods and healthy fats, potentially promotes healthy aging. Future studies may evaluate the association between adherence to healthy dietary patterns (particularly national food-based dietary guidelines) and the multidimensional concept of intrinsic capacity, with consideration of sex-specific differences. Clinical trials are warranted to inform the causal effects of diet and outcomes related to intrinsic capacity.

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