Functional foods could play an important role in improving the health of the elderly, according to a report by UK-based think-tank the International Longevity Centre (ILC).
The report, entitled 'Older people and functional foods', states that the most common health concerns among older people - cardiovascular disease, bone health and gut health – are also the main areas targeted by the most popular functional foods, which are enriched with cholesterol-lowering ingredients, probiotic bacteria and calcium and vitamin D.
In the report, which was backed by Danone, ILC says more research is needed into older consumers’ relationship with functional foods and the effectiveness of nutritional advice and messages for this group. Research should also be undertaken to discover the attitudes of doctors and other health professionals towards functional foods, it said.
Sally Greengross, chief executive of ILC, said: "This report shows that alongside a healthy diet, functional foods can play a role in supporting the nutritional needs of older people including the prevention and management of chronic disease. There is, however, a need for further research into older people and functional foods and ILC calls on government and the public and private sectors to support such research."