Developing Functional Foods for the “Silver Generation”
Consumer older than 65 are determined to enjoy their golden years with more mobility, independence and proactive nutrition
Aging is inevitable; the CDC projects of 70-75 million Americans in the 65+ age range by 2030—meaning roughly one fifth of the US populace is currently primed for healthy aging and enhanced quality of life. The perception of aging from being seen as a challenge to revived individuality opens the door to processors of nutritional support products that foster self-care and enhanced functioning.
Worldwide, the 65+ generation is proving more able and willing than ever to proactively turn to nutrition to help delay the onset of age-related decline in form and function. The goal for this still highly active demographic is to keep chronic health issues at bay and raise the general quality of life. After all, this was the generation that celebrated life in the form of free love and anti-establishmentarianism.
Recent advances in processing and delivery technologies have elevated the potency and efficacy of a prodigious number of beneficial ingredients to support practically every aspect of age-related decline or health vulnerability for this demographic. And no one is exempt. Age-related declines in physical and mental function happen partly due to lifestyle and partly because of the normal aging processes.
The senior demographic tends to eat smaller portions and less often than younger people. They value nutritious products that are in small portions, are convenient and taste good. Snacks and nutrition-rich beverages that can be enjoyed on the go are important channels for active 65-and-ups.
Mobility, the ability to continue with normal physical activities, is a key element of graceful aging and aligns well with the explosive interest in muscle/strength, sports nutrition, protein and pain-free general activity. Mobility is the top health issue considered “very/extremely concerning” to Americans over age 40, according to a 2013 report by HealthFocus International.
Frailty and loss of strength from loss in muscle mass are unavoidable as a function of aging. The annual loss of 1% muscle mass after age 30 doubles to 2% from age 65 onwards. Illness, bouts of injury or physical inactivity further exacerbates this loss. The current RDA for adults is 0.8 g/kg per day, but research shows it to be closer to 1.0-1.2g/kg and even as much as 1.5g/kg,especially for those in ill health or recuperating.
Muscle mass recovery, especially among those who are not highly active, depends a great deal on one’s nutritional status. Reduced activity levels associated with aging result in sarcopenia in an estimated 45% of people age 65 and older and 50% of post-menopausal women, according to the National Institute of Aging. Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of lean body mass, strength and function. Dynopenia, the age-related loss of strength, is a universal phenomenon.
“Protein is the first nutrient of choice to effectively counter these conditions,” according to Refaat Hegazi, MD, medical director at Abbott Nutrition Inc. Hegazi explains that, despite the protein rush in the US market and the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans claim that “inadequate protein intake is rare in the US,” the silver generation is more often than not deficient in protein. Protein need varies considerably with age, weight, physical activity and a slew of other factors, especially among the elderly.
Seniors’ greater need for protein is addressed by special higher-protein options in the cereal aisle. Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc.’s Cheerios has two new high-protein variants, following the launch of protein options in the company’s highly popular Fiber One line. Post Holdings Inc.’s Post brand cereals also include added protein variants, specifically in its Great Grains Protein line. The company followed these offerings with two new Digestive Blend cereals featuring active probiotic cultures.
In the natural and health channels, there is a renaissance in popularity for granola and muesli. This likely is in response to the demand for unprocessed, natural and healthy breakfast options. The Special K Nourish brand, by The Kellogg Co., has a number of new products, including Special K Nourish Hot Cereal Cranberry Almond that include whole grains and almonds in a “comforting” hot cereal format.
Protein products can be healthful tools to help bodies stay in motion, but its taste can be a deterrent. Whey has been a protein of choice, because it is rapidly absorbed by the body and is known to increase muscle protein synthesis after exercise in both young and older people.
Whey also offers a highly nutritional amino acid profile and is particularly rich in leucine, the amino acid that initiates muscle protein synthesis. Whey can help address sarcopenia, but for those with dietary preferences or allergy to dairy, vegan protein supplements, such as from soy, rice and legumes (peas and beans) would be the more appropriate options. Ingredient suppliers of plant-derived proteins have reported continued unprecedented demand from makers of smoothies and nutritional dry mixes. Many seek proteins of similar make-up to dairy-derived whey.
Typically, such protein ingredients benefit from agglomeration as a viable technology to not only make the proteins more easily dispersible in water, but also to carry flavor compounds. This is important, in that plant proteins can sometimes impact taste before one even senses the bitterness that is typical of many protein compounds.
Age has become an arbitrary number for active seniors who reject the idea that they are “old” and reach out for specialty foods to sustain and prolong their mobility. For this reason, bone health has taken on extra weight as an important consideration for the rapidly aging population.
Bone health is more than just calcium and vitamin D, however. In recent years, vitamin K has emerged as one of the most important bone health nutrients. The vitamin, especially as vitamin K2 and in its menaquinone-7 form, is critical to bone cell metabolism, preserving bone strength and density by activating vitamin K-dependent proteins.
Vitamin K2 also holds another significant benefit. It helps cardiovascular health through its improvement of arterial flexibility, inhibiting age-related stiffening of the artery walls and improving vascular elasticity, according to multiple studies, including studies conducted by Cees Vermeer, PhD, chief innovation officer for the R&D Group VitaK of the Maastricht University, Netherlands.
The study of vitamin K-dependent proteins for bone and heart health is ongoing and will open significant opportunities in nutrition for seniors. A number of products containing vitamin K2 are in the commercial pipeline today.
Eyesight is one of the first functions to falter with aging. A number of nutrients—especially vitamins C and E; lutein, zeaxanthin and other carotenoids; and omega-3 fatty acids—play a role in eye health by helping to prevent cataracts (the clouding of the eye lens) and fighting age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most-likely cause of vision loss in the elderly. Foods are probably the best way to support vision, considering the plethora of nutrients they contain that are beneficial to the eyes.
Across the lifespan, omega-3 fatty acids play a leading role in growing and maintaining health. This includes healthy eyes. Even before birth, DHA provides needed support to rapidly developing eyes and a growing brain. As the body ages, the need for these nutrients remains.
Research shows older adults with higher intakes of omega-3 fats have healthier eyes than those whose diets are low in nutrients. This might be due to DHA’s role in protecting photoreceptors (cells responsible for sight). Higher intakes of EPA and DHA also support the production of natural anti-inflammatory molecules that keep eyes moist and promote normal tear function.
While carrots are the traditionally the best known food for eye health, turmeric and leafy vegetables surpass carrots when it comes to concentration of antioxidants. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in leafy greens have a strong ability to help prevent the aforementioned diseases of the eyes.
Curcumin in turmeric (Curcuma longa), a relative of ginger, is considered especially powerful for eye health. Curcumin catalyzes the production of heat-shock proteins (HSPs) which play an important role in ensuring proper cell function and overall retina function. Glaucoma or ocular hypertension is caused by faulty antioxidant defense systems.
Curcumin inhibits the production of COX-2 enzyme that builds up in the eye’s aqueous layer and uses osmotic effect to lower intraocular pressure. Curcuminoids also engage their powerful antioxidant capacity to fight free radicals caused by oxidative stress and, thus, protect the optic nerves from damage.
Turmeric is as ubiquitous as salt in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It has not, however, appealed to US food makers before now. This is largely because of its tendency to discolor processing equipment. But the past several years have seen a sudden interest in the deep golden rhizome.
New York-based juice makers Temple Turmeric Inc. (formerly operating as TurmericALIVE) boldly have opted for the fresh form of turmeric and utilize cold-pressure (HPP) to harness harmonious ingredients, such as honey, ginger, cayenne and black pepper, in turmeric-based beverages that support positive inflammation response. This is especially helpful for inflammation-related conditions, such as peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and gasteroesophageal gut syndrome (GERD).
Temple Turmeric founder and CEO, Daniel Sullivan, focused on delicious taste to propel rapid success of one of the only turmeric-based products in the food and beverage aisle. For seniors, Temple’s drinks are a convenient way to reap the benefits of ingredients such as turmeric, as well as its cousin, ginger and various peppers that beverage makers would otherwise avoid (because of their spicy pungency).
Another beverage that includes turmeric comes in the form of a comforting hot drink from Kitty Wells, “chief spice geek” and founder of Spice Pharm Inc., who created Golden Goddess Turmeric Chai and Food of the Gods Chocolate Elixir instant powder mixes. The beverage powders provide just-add-water, shelf-stable convenience, also a boon to the senior set.
Golden Goddess’ proprietary blends of organic, bioactive spices and adaptogenic herbs are incorporated into a creamy base of vegan coconut milk powder (to dissolve the curcumin and make it more bioavailable). The mixes are lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and stevia and appeal to consumers who want a healthier alternative to hot tea, cocoa or coffee and that can address inflammation.
From A to Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin play another vital role in vision, too, protecting the eyes from the in-side. These powerful antioxidants are deposited as a protective layer in the macula, a small spot in the back of the eye responsible for central vision. They work like internal sunglasses to protect the eyes from damaging light from the sun and even computer screens. Lutein and zeaxanthin are essential daily nutrients, because the body does not make them.
Science suggests seniors should get at least 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin daily for eye health. While green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, provide the best dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, consumers age 65 and older reportedly get less than 2mg each day. This is as reflected by the low level of these nutrients in their macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Supplements still are the typical source for higher doses, although as GRAS ingredients, they are well-suited for use in a beverage or food platform.
Eye health supplements often are combined with concentrated fish oil to deliver high levels of DHA, shown to support internal repair systems that operate in response to oxidative stress, while solubilizing the fat-soluble carotenoids. In this manner, lutein and zeaxanthin work in synergy with DHA to provide high-intensity support for healthy eyes and vision.
In nature, foods with lutein and zeaxanthin also are rich in folate. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University recently discovered folate acts as a solution for heat exposure that puts the elderly to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is partly because of the lower levels of nitric oxide produced in aging blood vessels. Folic acid (tetrahydrobiopterin, BH4) helps increase cutaneous vasodilation, so warmer blood could move to the skin and cool off quickly–especially helpful to the elderly during heat waves.
The nitric oxide-dependent mechanism is particularly helpful to those with impaired circulation. Most consumers know that leafy greens and grains are a good source of folates, but fortification with folate is important to seniors, as they do not typically consume the volume required for adequate intake.
For the 65+ age group, supplements containing curcumin are extremely important, not only for the previously describe benefits but for cognitive support and a wide range of inflammatory conditions that are inevitable with aging. Curcumin has become one of the more heavily studied botanical compounds recently, especially for its cerebroprotective benefits. More than 3,500 reports of experimental research and clinical trials show curcuminoids in turmeric are powerful antioxidants for a number of inflammatory conditions.
Research by Andrew Scholey, PhD, demonstrated curcumin from turmeric improves working memory and attention, along with overall mood and fatigue. In one major curcumin study conducted by Scholey, curcumin was taken daily in available formats that employ proprietary technology to combine the potent antioxidant with lipids for rapid absorption and effects. It was the first “to examine the effects of curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population or to examine any acute behavioral effects in humans.”
Results of Scholey’s curcumin study showed that only 400mg was needed for a beneficial effect. These results were so promising, the study was recognized as the “university research of the year” at VitaFoods 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, for bringing attention to the benefits of plant nutrients for mental health and without the ills of pharmaceuticals. Such impressive benefits have raised the popularity of turmeric and curcumin so much that in 2013, turmeric was the top-selling herbal supplement in the US natural- health channel.
Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas, notes, “Consumers are reaching for turmeric because it offers a number of health benefits. As a result, a variety of herbal preparations, phytomedicines and supplements that are made with turmeric are also growing in the marketplace.” Turmeric also has been listed as No. 30 on a list of “top-40 US
mainstream herbal supplements.”
Blood Sugar Management
Among seniors, incidence of diabetes has been rising rapidly in the past 20 years. Even here, consumers seek out natural forms of support. One of the newer ingredients to gain attention in the US is salacia (Salacia oblonga), an herb found in India and Sri Lanka and used to treat diabetes, obesity, rheumatism and asthma.
Salacia has been used for centuries in Asia, especially among Indians and Middle Easterners, a demographic with a high genetic propensity towards diabetes. It also has gained popularity recently in the US for both diabetes and obesity. It typically has been available in capsulated pill forms, but lately, several tea formats of salacia have hit the shelves. One challenge for beverage makers, however, is that these formulations are notably bitter, because the herb itself is bitter.
Mohamed Rafi, PhD, a former professor of nutrigenomics at Rutgers University, NJ, and a former investigator in clinical trials for the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has developed a water-based extraction process of salacia for food applications.
“Salacia inhibits the breakdown of oligosaccharides into monosaccharides, such as glucose, fructose, mannose and others, and thereby inhibits their absorption in the body, preventing blood sugar levels from rising,” according to Rafi.
Clinical studies have shown that 2-2.5g (480mg/60kg body weight) daily of salacia is effective for lowering blood glucose, serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and also increases the HDL cholesterol levels of non-insulin dependent diabetes patients.
The bitterness of salacia extract was overcome as a challenge by chocolatier Uzma Sharif, of the Chicago-based Chocolat confectionary. Sharif uses the active compound, salsulin, in dark chocolate truffles marketed as a daily treat for seniors that could also be of benefit to their health.
Two thirds of the growth projected for nutritional supplements through 2020 will come from those aged 65 and up, and more than three fourths of those seniors already use supplements, according to Packaged Facts’ 2014 Nutritional Supplements in the US Sharif believes that chocolates in solid and liquid formats will be a more palatable way for those who prefer a different avenue or are suffering from “supplement fatigue.” For seniors who might already be taking a number of pills for other reasons, such an approach can also be a success.
Each year, 53 million people die of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, strokes and diabetes. Proper diet can prevent 75% of strokes; for cancers, diet can prevent about 30%. A healthy diet and lifestyle habits can address the opportunity and what many researchers believe is the underlying cause: inflammation. Two types of inflammation plague older adults acute and chronic.
The former is part of a healthy immune system response; the latter can lead to a variety of chronic conditions, ranging from the discomforts of aches, depression, memory, general cognitive decline and general muscle fatigue, to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and Alzheimer’s—and even autoimmune diseases. (In fact, some nutrition researchers have suggested certain forms of obesity should be classed as forms of auto-immune disease.)
Studies by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), in conjunction with large-scale trials conducted in China, reveal that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and watercress, can help mitigate the effects of environmental carcinogens. These vegetables have a high concentration of the protective antioxidant phytochemical sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate group that includes glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin has additionally been shown in animal studies to help mitigate symptoms of diabetes and to protect against nerve damage.
Unfortunately, as do most Americans, seniors typically eat less than half of the USDA-recommended daily amounts fruits and vegetables. This lag in produce consumption has helped spur the growth in alternate formats, such as whole fruit and vegetable powders. Many are retailed directly in this form.
One new line, from Australian nutrition company Super Sprout Ltd., sells pure fruit and vegetable powders that are vegan and vitamin- and mineral-dense. Its sprout powders, such as its organic broccoli sprouts mix, are especially rich in these concentrated nutrients.
Melinda Richards, CEO and founder of Super Sprout, realized that new techniques for freeze drying can extract the moisture of plant materials without affecting cell structure, taste or the viability of the micronutrients and other important phytochemicals. The new forms of drying technology lock in flavor and color, as well, leaving a powder that can be used to easily boost nutrition and taste in foods such as smoothies, soups, stews and dessert mixes.
Such “green chemoprevention” with simple plant powders and extracts such as powder to prevent disease is not only less expensive but also is easily incorporated into one’s routine, no matter what the diet. For processors, premixes of these powders can also be the base for fast and effective nutrition in formulations that let seniors attain their daily allowance of fruits and vegetables without difficulties or change in routine.
Despite new legislation regarding permissible health claims, especially in the EU, digestive health remains a strong, key focus for new product launches in functional foods. And gut health is of great importance to senior citizens.
A common complaint among many in their golden years is that of diminished digestive health, especially regularity. The human microbiome represents the collection of trillions of microbes that live in an intimate association with the human body, where they impact important body functions. New probiotic products with therapeutic microbes—with access to bio-banks of human gut bacteria and advances in fermentation technology—can help improve senior health by preventing and treating gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases.
Probiotic products containing live bacteria have been shown to help dramatically reduce blood glucose levels as well. This is potentially proving to be revolutionary in the treatment of diabetes, according to a recent study published in the journal Diabetes. Lactobacillus, a species of bacteria commonly found in the human gut, could shift the control of glucose levels from the pancreas to the upper intestine and would address both type 2 and type 1 diabetes.
In the latest advances in probiotic research, scientists have been able to customize friendly microbiotics to enhance the bacteria’s therapeutic abilities. John March, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Cornell University, New York, explains that his team created a new strain of a common friendly human gut bacteria. The probiotic was designed to secrete a peptide hormone that triggers the release of insulin in response to food.
“Probiotics are generally regarded as safe by the FDA,” says March. “And, they’re a good vehicle for delivering chemical compounds to cells in the gastrointestinal tract.”
It is important to note that such probiotics are still being researched. Although a marketed version would likely be in supplement form, the probiotic products, such as yogurts, kefir and other dairy products, as well as non-dairy probiotic juices, that already are widely available have proven to be highly effective for establishing and maintaining gut health.
If processors have emerging claims conflicts, one way around them is to incorporate ingredients like whole grains and fiber with probiotics. Such ingredients already are associated in consumers’ minds with digestive health.
Fiber and other functional carbohydrates remain highly important ingredients for senior consumers. Breakfast cereals, despite proliferation as relatively high-sugar products in North America, are a popular food with the 65-plus demographic because of their traditionally healthy image, as well as convenience—just pour and eat.
This is a dual benefit, because of the synergy between fiber and probiotics. Inulin and fructo oligosaccharides are in a class of short fibers called fructans and have a well-established prebiotic effect for improving digestive health. A recent meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials involving prebiotic supplementation in humans showed that such dietary inulin-type fructans can help manage post-prandial glucose concentrations while lowering insulin concentration.
Resistant starch—a form of starch that acts like a fiber in the digestive tract—also has been shown to have strong prebiotic action. The benefits to older consumers of these functional carbohydrates is that, not only do they help mitigate one of the most common complaints in that group, constipation, they also work in several ways in the digestive tract to reduce risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“There is a growing interest in products featuring a more general health or multi-benefit positioning,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at the global research group Innova Market Insights. “This interest is running alongside the wide range of health benefits now associated with many breakfast cereals, as well.”
The most popular (and relevant) health claims in cereals overall are around their whole grains and fiber content, which tend to come together. Malathy Nair, PhD, founder and CEO of Better Bowls LLC, created a line of pudding and gelatin snacks specifically for seniors. The Better Bowls line incorporates General Mills Inc.’s Fiber One cereals into the snacks and brings them in at just 90 calories per serving, while providing high amounts of fiber and calcium, specifically 24% of the daily value of fiber per serving and 15% of calcium, along with at least 6g of protein, when prepared with milk per package directions.
Nearly three fourths (72%) of Americans will be committing to “drinking enough water” in 2015, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) in December 2014 among more than 2,000 US adults.
“Water is a must; it’s essential to many bodily functions for people of all ages, but especially as we get older,” said Duffy MacKay, ND, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the CRN. “Consuming water is a key to good health should be part of a constellation of healthy habits, not just one habit in isolation. Seniors tend to reach less for water than for soda or coffee, all of which can be dehydrating.” It also has been proven that the body’s ability to register thirst diminishes after about age 65.
A recent report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in adults 65 years of age and older. Research findings raise concerns about the safety of chronic diet soda consumption, which could increase abdominal fat and contribute to greater risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases, especially among the elderly.
Hydration is an important need in the senior marketplace, and coconut water—promoted as the natural isotonic of choice—is of importance to seniors, who have a propensity towards dehydration. Coconut water has become something of a supertrend in recent years. The liquid, found in young green coconuts, offers many of the isotonic benefits of mainstream sports drinks, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, in a hypoallergenic format and needs no additives or even sweeteners.
Coconut water products today mainly sit in the juice drinks aisle, either alone or in combination with other juices, and even are used as the base for coffee beverages. Interestingly, however, virtually no beverage makers have capitalized on the opportunity to use coconut water to create products specifically marketed for seniors.
Well-positioned for the task of driving growth with its exotic (but natural) image, unusual but mild flavor and natural hydration properties, coconut water can be used to replace salty broths in soups. It is also a great carrier of proteins that seniors need so much. Protein-fortified products, such as Isopure Co.’s Cocotein and Maverick Brands LLC’s Coco Libre Protein range, feature the benefits of coconut water with added protein (from dairy or plant sources).
Hydration also has been shown to be significant in wrinkle prevention and as the ultimate nutrient in the beauty-from-within category. Alongside simple hydration for wrinkle mitigation are the vitamins A and C, supporting skin and collagen, as well as dietary collagen itself for the same purpose.
Health in Motion
Japan has the oldest population in the world, with locomotive disorders forming 23% of all reasons for requiring nursing care. This burgeoning population of senior citizens creates huge opportunities for manufacturers to tap into a rapidly growing specialized nutrition market. Proteins such as collagen and whey are ideal for nutritious foods and drinks that promote healthy—and, importantly, mobile—aging.
Collagen peptides are easily digestible and present a simple way for seniors to improve everything from muscle, bone and joint health/function to retention of mobility and independence. A recent clinical study confirmed 8g daily intake of collagen peptides can lead to improved joint flexibility and a significant decrease in joint pain. It also effectively supports muscle mass in the elderly.
Collagen-based, broth-like soups and beverages have been around for a while in Japan and Europe. But last year, sudden interest in “bone broth” as a culinary item hit big, then began to expand into general health targeting. Such products already on the market here, are likely soon to appear with a branding that references the success of collagen in healthy aging and beauty from within.
The “silver” and “golden” markets currently are at a tipping point with today’s active seniors who have clung so tightly to their youth. The same kids who shouted, “Never trust anyone over 30!” now are in their 60s and 70s, yet haven’t let go of that same spirit of rebellion. They also are far more informed than any previous generation. Many in this demographic still are children at heart, in that one or both of their parents typically still are living. Gerontologists are reporting it as far more common to see joint mother-daughter or father-son visits to their clinics.
For these reasons, opportunities are greater if products are designed to taste good and are marketed so as to not jeopardize mainstream audiences. The latter issue is a major key to success in this market, in that it is advisable to not position senior consumers as “elderly.” That is, it is important to not emphasize that the product is aimed at old people, but, rather, to focus on the benefits of the product so as to resonate with the specific health needs of the targeted consumers.
In 2012, the Salt Institute reported on the dangers of the all-too-common blanket salt restriction placed on seniors. Citing the Ohio Department of Aging’s (ODA) ban on salt shakers in programs that serve meals to the elderly, John Ratliff, assistant chief for communications and government outreach at ODA, pointed out that state agencies like ODA are required to ensure compliance with the USDA nutritional guidelines in order to receive federal funds, and US Dietary Guidelines, in defiance of all known science on dietary sodium and health, require seniors receive no more than 1,500mg of sodium per day, or 500mg per meal.
These federal guidelines on salt, especially for the elderly, could actually be harmful: A recent medical study by Michael Alderman, MD, and Hillel Cohen, DrPH, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, shows this amount of salt is too low and can have dire health consequences, including increased morbidity and mortality.
Mild sodium deficiency (hyponatremia) is the most common form of electrolyte imbalance in older people and has been shown to be associated with walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls.
“Spending your golden years in a retirement home with a low-salt diet will convert your last years to [one] long, chronic illness.” wrote the late Canadian cardiologist Isaac Shleser, MD, who treated elderly patients for five decades.
Another recent study by University of Washington researchers Matthieu Maillot, PhD, and Adam Drewnowski, PhD, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, makes it clear that it is also virtually impossible to have a nutritionally adequate diet when limited to such a low level of daily sodium.
“The US Dietary Guidelines on salt, especially for the elderly, are completely arbitrary and harmful,” says Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute.
Editor’s note: This is adapted from a release by the Salt Institute. The Salt Institute is a North American-based, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt. For more on salt and effective formulating for health, visit www.saltinstitute.org and see “Salt of the Earth” in last month’s issue.