Novel food ingredients for the elderly consumer
It has recently become clear that the intestinal microbiota is critical for general health and wellbeing. Moreover it is now evident that diet has a significant role in shaping the microbiota which in turn is associated with a wide range of health parameters. ELDERFOOD is a follow on from the ELDERMET project, which has outlined that altering our diet may promote healthy ageing following changes to the gut microbiota.
ELDERFOOD is a four year project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine. The project will examine the effect of particular dairy components on gut microbiota to provide the scientific validation required to promote consumption of dairy products and ingredients in the elderly population to improve health. It aims to develop foods and food ingredients to positively influence gut health in elderly consumers thus expanding the range of targeted health-promoting products available to a growing ageing population. Initially the study will compare different milk types to assess the influence of each in shaping the microbiota and the consequences thereof in terms of clinical readouts. The project will look at the prebiotic effects of certain ingredients of dairy nutrition on the gut microbiota of the elderly. This will involve the sourcing/generation of the dairy interventions right through to human feeding studies. Health effects and consumer acceptance of novel food ingredients and modified liquid milks will be investigated. The proposed research will take exciting new findings on diet, microbiota and ageing from the laboratory to the consumer and allow the development and application of milk-derived functional food ingredients with huge commercial potential for Irish dairy processors in particular. Overall the project will assess two rapidly growing economic areas i) the lactose-free dairy sector and ii) the functional food market, with a view to their inclusion in targeted nutrition regimes for elderly subjects.