Gut Bacteria Linked to Healthy Aging: Part Two

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

What is the NU-AGE Food Plan?

The NU-AGE food plan follows the Mediterranean-style of eating which builds meals around vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes; limits saturated fat, trans fats, sodium and added sugars; and includes more fish and lean sources of protein. In this study, the NU-AGE plan included:

  • 4-6 servings of whole grain bread, pasta or rice each day
  • 2 servings of fruit each day, with fresh fruit given a higher preference over canned fruit or fruit juice
  • 2 cups of vegetables each day, either cooked or raw
  • 2 cups of cooked legumes (dried beans and peas such as lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans) per week
  • 2 cups of non-fat or low-fat milk or yogurt per day
  • 1 ounce low-fat cheese per day
  • fish twice per week
  • low-fat meat or poultry four times per week
  • ¼ ounce of nuts per day
  • 2-4 eggs per week
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil per day
  • 50 ounces, or about 6.3 cups, of water each day

In addition, the NU-AGE eating plan includes a daily vitamin D supplement, limits any type of alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than 1 drink per day for women, limits sodium to a maximum of 2000mg per day, and limits sweets.

Let’s Make Healthful Choices:

Current health guidelines encourage eating more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes and choosing lean sources of protein while limiting sodium and added sugar.

In the study published in Gut, the NU-AGE diet led to changes in the microbiome that increased the type of bacteria that produce beneficial short chain fatty acids and decreased the type of bacteria that produce bile acids that are linked to increased risk of chronic disease.

This study shows that making changes in our food choices is important as we get older, and can have a positive, healthy, beneficial impact on our physical health and cognitive capabilities.

By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, CPT, CHWC 


  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Microbiome. accessed 3-29-20
  2. Ghosh TS, Rampelli S, Jeffery IB, et al
    Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries
    Gut Published Online First: 17 February 2020. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-319654
  3. Science Daily. Mediterranean Diet for one year promotes gut bacteria linked to healthy aging. published 2-17-20. Accessed 3-28-20.
  4. Berendsen AAM, van de Rest O, Feskens EJM, et al. Changes in Dietary Intake and Adherence to the NU-AGE Diet Following a One-Year Dietary Intervention among European Older Adults-Results of the NU-AGE Randomized Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1905. Published 2018 Dec 4. doi:10.3390/nu10121905
Become a premium member today and get access to hundreds of articles and handouts plus our premium tools!

Upcoming Posts


Fun Fruit Trivia: Peaches

August 2022

UP NEXT IN Food and Health, Prevention
Could Eating Fish Regularly Raise Your Risk of Skin Cancer?

New Products Available Now

Published on Categories articles, prevention, practitioner ideas and news, food and health, nutrition education resources, ingredients, diet and cancer, PremiumTags , , , , , ,