Introduction

The study of nutrients and aging is based on those same research methods that are the foundation of all nutritional science. These methods are well established in nutritional studies, and their application to aging research is certainly productive. However, many pitfalls are the lot of the unwary newcomer. Not least is that expert knowledge accrued from over a century of nutritional research does not yet inform popular views about the nutritional requirements of old people. This is of increasing importance as the food industry seeks to maximize profits through increased consumption of processed (added value) foods and use of food supplements often marketed for the older consumer. The industry has shown itself very capable of presenting views in favor of consumption of specific food products as scientific facts when the research evidence is often absent or even contradictory.

This chapter aims to provide a brief introduction to those new to nutritional research in the elderly. By way of introduction, it is necessary, however, to summarize briefly the recent history of nutritional research and to comment on research questions that seem most pressing on public perceptions of the value of nutritional studies in the elderly. The aim is to help those who are just starting out to navigate their route around obstacles, avoid time-consuming pointless detours (or even wandering!), and to complete their studies as efficiently and rewardingly as possible. Familiarity is assumed with one or more of the excellent general accounts of research methods. Furthermore, no attempt is made to set out what the best nutritional advice might be concerning consumption of particular foodstuffs in aging and age-related diseases. However, important social changes of the last 150 years may not be widely known. These are major influences on research in nutritional gerontology and are briefly summarized as follows.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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