Enhanced diet could improve astronauts’ health and performance compared to standard spaceflight food

Astronauts may be fed an enhanced diet containing more types and amounts of fruits, vegetables, and fish during spaceflight to improve health and performance compared to standard spaceflight diets. It is reported that there are scientific reportConducted on 16 people in a spaceflight simulation chamber on Earth, these findings have the potential to influence astronaut health and decisions about prioritizing food resources in spaceflight. I have.

Long spaceflights are known to affect human health, and spacecraft size and power constraints limit what can be brought into space. The food astronauts eat may mitigate adverse health effects during spaceflight, but that food may be limited by mass, volume, shelf life, and storage requirements.

Grace Douglas and colleagues investigated the difference in the effect of two diets on 16 people (10 men and 6 women). Four people on each of the four 45-day missions, along with the practicality of storing various foods in these conditions, in an earth-based enclosed chamber designed to simulate an enclosed space flight environment. Did. Individuals ate either a fortified diet or a standard diet. The enhanced diet included increased servings and variety of fruits and vegetables, along with more fish and sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It is used and meets most requirements, but the authors suggest that more fruits and vegetables and more sources of omega-3 fatty acids could be used.

The fortified diet provided at least 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and 2-3 servings of fish weekly, among other healthy foods. All food products are shelf stable, a requirement to support room temperature, extended storage conditions on current space missions. Food was stored in the chamber before the start of each mission to simulate real space flight conditions. Individuals provided saliva, urine, blood, and stool samples and completed cognitive assessment tasks throughout the mission.

The authors found that individuals on the enhanced spaceflight diet had lower cholesterol and cortisol levels (suggesting less stress), cognitive speed, accuracy, and attention than those on the standard diet. I found that I had higher strength and a more stable microbiome.

The authors conclude that an enhanced spaceflight diet can provide significant health and performance benefits for individuals and may be beneficial for astronauts, even on short space missions. Further research is needed to assess healthier diets in space, but these findings may help guide food resource priorities for future space exploration missions.


Journal reference:

Douglas, GL, and others. (2022) Effects of diet on human nutrition, immune responses, gut microbiota, and cognition in an isolated, enclosed mission setting. scientific reportdoi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-21927-5.

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