The main objective of this study was to determine the nutritional value and the total dietary antioxidant capacity (TDAC) of lunch meals consumed by elderly people attending a day-care centre in Sharpeville, South Africa. Meals were monitored and collected for a two-week period. The menus were analysed for water, ash, fat, protein, carbohydrates, polyphenols and antioxidant capacity. Eighteen food items, grouped in seven different menus, were identified. Energy provided by the menus covered 32% of the daily reference intakes for females and 25% for males, and the distribution of macronutrients in the menus was 10%, 34% and 56% for protein, fat and carbohydrates, respectively. This is close to the prescribed acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges of 10-35% protein, 20-35% fat and 45-65% carbohydrates. TDAC available from the menus was estimated at 332 μmol Trolox equivalents by DPPH (2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and represented about 9% of the recommended daily allowance. Fruit, which represented only 2.8% of the amount of foods composing the menus, supplied 75.3% of TDAC, whilst contributions from vegetables and legumes were low. With 269 mg gallic acid equivalent in the menus, total phenolics appeared to be quantitatively the main dietary antioxidant, and were significantly correlated (r = 0.443 and p = 0.007) with antioxidant capacity. Fruit portions of the meals served by the day-care centre to the elderly of Sharpeville, need to be increased and diversified in order to reinforce their intake of antioxidants and thus reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases.
- Nutritional value
- Total dietary antioxidant capacity
- Total phenolics