23 April 2018
Dietician and author Ngaire Hobbins talks to a mix of University and public attendees about her writings on preventing cognitive and physical decline in older age through good nutrition choices
Last week our Theme Three Lead for Improved Consumption and Health, Professor Karen Bloor hosted a public lecture at the University of York entitled Better Brain Food, given by Australian health professional and author, Ngaire Hobbins (above, left). An accredited, practising Dietitian with a varied career spanning 20 years, specialising in gerontology, aged care, brain health and dementia, Ngaire was visiting the UK to talk about her most recent book, 'Better Brain Food', and to explain her call for urgent education about the unique nutritional needs of ageing, among older individuals themselves and many health professionals alike.
Ngaire gave a presentation to a varied audience of researchers, students and the general public who had either a professional or personal interest in the evidence-based information about nutrition and ageing that she highlights in her books, or who wanted to hear her ideas on how combining the right food with activity helps avoid malnutrition-related physical and mental decline.
Primarily a clinician, Ngaire explained “I relish opportunities to translate complex science into everyday language and sensible, practical advice for people”. Commenting on the fact that many common public health messages can prove unhelpful to older adults, she went on to explain “Few individuals beyond their mid 60’s understand their unique nutritional needs: Generally, those over 70 have an increased requirement for protein and deficiencies of a range of vitamins and minerals are not uncommon so require access to nutrient dense foods. But, age-related changes in physiology, combined with factors such as polypharmacy and illness impact appetite and restrict nutrient intake”.
The audience also heard how weight loss at later stages in life results in the loss of lean body mass, which not only increases physical incapacity and the risk of falls, but also impacts immune capacity, recovery from illness and wound repair, organ maintenance and brain fuel supply.
Following the lecture, a group of academics and clinicians from the University of York at local NHS Trusts attended a networking at which they were able to sample some of the fantastic recipes from 'Better Brain Food', which utilise nutrient-packed ingredients for maximum protein and vitamin/mineral intake at each meal.