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The Role of Nutrition for the Aging Population: Implications for Cognition and Alzheimer's Disease

Authors
  • Power, Rebecca
  • Prado-Cabrero, Alfonso
  • Mulcahy, Ríona
  • Howard, Alan
  • Nolan, John M.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Food Science and Technology
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Mar 25, 2019
Volume
10
Pages
619–639
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-food-030216-030125
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Improved life expectancy worldwide has resulted in a significant increase in age-related diseases. Dementia is one of the fastest growing age-related diseases, with 75 million adults globally projected to develop the condition by 2030. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and represents the most significant stage of cognitive decline. With no cure identified to date for AD, focus is being placed on preventative strategies to slow progression, minimize the burden of neurological disease, and promote healthy aging. Accumulating evidence suggests that nutrition (e.g., via fruit, vegetables, fish) is important for optimizing cognition and reducing risk of AD. This review examines the role of nutrition on cognition and AD, with specific emphasis on the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) and key nutritional components of the MeDi, namely xanthophyll carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Given their selective presence in the brain and their ability to attenuate proposed mechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis (namely oxidative damage and inflammation), these nutritional compounds offer potential for optimizing cognition and reducing the risk of AD.

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