IDF nutrition and health symposium focuses on life stages

Over 200 nutrition and health professionals from all over the world virtually attended the event led by eight experts and two moderators from various regions of the world at the IDF Nutrition and Health Symposium. They listened to discussions on the latest research on dairy, nutrition, and health.

During the first session, experts presented on the role of dairy in maternal diets, for children and teenagers.The presentations found that good nutrition is key for health and wellbeing throughout life and can help us live our life to the fullest. Dairy products are nutrient-rich and are a source of protein, B vitamins, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, zinc and potassium, making them an excellent choice for nutritional needs at all ages and stages of life. The unique combination of nutrients and bioactive factors, and how they interact with each other in the dairy matrix, combine to produce the overall effect on health.

One of the main challenges during pregnancy and lactation is the increased demand for micronutrients, such as folate, vitamin B12, iodine and calcium. Dairy products contain these nutrients naturally, helping to nourish both mother and foetus, as explained by Professor Ian Givens from Reading University: “Those who chronically consume suboptimal amounts of calcium may be at risk of excessive bone loss and may need additional calcium to meet both foetal and maternal needs. Milk and dairy foods are often the primary sources of calcium which are generally of higher bioavailability than from other sources.”

The physiological and psychological changes that accompany us throughout adulthood lead to new challenges and needs, and the role of health professionals is to prevent and manage illness that may arise. Therefore, the second session of the symposium discussed the role of nutrition for the ageing population. Dairy, as part of a protein-rich diet, is essential to prevent Sarcopenia, a condition that reduces muscle mass and strength. Dairy’s protein content, especially in the amino acid leucine, is an essential ally in maintaining mobility and independence. “Acute protein intake increases muscle protein synthesis, essential for maintaining muscle protein anabolism and muscle mass. On the contrary, lack of protein intake, especially in breakfast, has been shown to increase the risk of skeletal muscle loss regardless of the age group”, Professor Fujita Satoshi from the Ritsumeikan University of Japan affirms.

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