Seniors usually suffer from health concerns: difficulty swallowing, arranging healthy meals, or lack of drive to eat. Adults can address these with the help of energy-boosting nutrition drinks.
What is a nutrition drink?
Nutritional drinks help people who want to gain or maintain a healthy weight. With sufficient calories, a nutritional drink can serve as a meal replacement.
Nutritional drinks are especially convenient for seniors who have difficulty in the following:
- preparing complete meals
- chewing food
- moving because of physical disabilities
- eating or swallowing (or loss of appetite)
Types of nutrition drinks
There are two general categories of nutritional drinks:
- Shakes – Formulated for oral consumption, shakes, like Ensure or Boost High Protein, are made as a meal replacement. They can help achieve nutrition goals like increased protein and calories. They are fortified with vitamins and blended with sugar to improve the taste. There are nutrition shakes designed for people with health conditions like Glucerna for those with diabetes and high blood sugar.
- Formulas – These are made more specifically for people with critical illnesses like cancer or kidney disease. Under the doctor’s supervision, they can be consumed orally or through feeding tubes. Formulas usually do not taste well.
What to Consider When Buying Nutritional Drinks
When choosing a nutrition drink for seniors, you should pick one that fits transitioning dietary requirements. Below are some factors to consider when getting a nutrition drink for your loved one.
Nutritional needs of the elderly
Older people often suffer from extreme weight loss due to undernourishment, so they require high amounts of calories to boost their energy level and gain weight. Make sure that the nutritional drink consists of sufficient grams of protein.
What is a good protein drink for seniors?
When buying a nutritional drink for a senior, always check the label. It is best to get one with fruits or a protein source kind of milk like low-fat milk. Look out for vital ingredients like vitamins and minerals: vitamin D, vitamin K, and calcium for strong bones. For instance, ready-to-drink Ensure and Boost High Protein increase the elderly’s energy and support muscle mass.
Any medications being taken?
Most aging people take vitamins, supplements, and prescribed medications. A nutritional drink or shakes tend to react with medications, so it is vital to follow your doctor’s medical advice before getting one.
Risks of nutrition drinks and alternatives
Since many seniors suffer from medical conditions, it is vital to get nutrition drinks that contain healthy ingredients.
Here are some things to put in mind:
- Be wary about added sugars in these drinks.
- Consider the extra calories which can result in weight gain.
- Always consult a doctor to prevent risks such as complications like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Some healthier alternatives to consider:
- Drinks like smoothies contain minimal amounts of sugar.
- Although pricey, older adults can try food-based shakes.
- Look for brands with sufficient amounts of herbs, vitamins, and minerals and other add-on ingredients. Check out Odwalla Super Protein, Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus, or Naked Juice Protein Zone.
Benefits of Nutrition Drinks for Seniors
Here are some benefits of a nutritional drink for senior individuals:
- High Nutritional Value
A nutritional drink aims to provide good nutrition. Most of these liquids contain complete vitamins and minerals, which are necessary to supplement the nutrients of the body.
- Protein Content
A good nutritional shake contains high protein content of about 10 grams or more. For instance, each 8-ounce bottle of Ensure contains about 220 calories and 9 grams of protein, along with 27 vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Nutritional liquid comes with added minerals and vitamins to boost energy, which can replace a regular meal serving.
Serving daily nutritious meals can be tiring for elders. However, with ready-made nutritional drinks, they can get enough nutrients easily for their body.
Most elderly have difficulty managing their daily diet, particularly when eating hard foods and ingredients. They need sufficient food intake with a softer texture. Getting a low-calorie shake is an ideal inconsistency in this case for senior persons.
These health supplement drinks come in a variety of flavours like chocolate and vanilla. Seniors especially love vanilla flavour.
- Alleviate Health Conditions
Nutritional drinks can alleviate a variety of health conditions, such as diabetes, loss of appetite, and weight loss. They may provide specific needs for diet as a meal replacement.
A nutritional shake can be good or bad for the elderly. Always ask your doctor before consuming a nutrition shake. If you’re a family member taking care of a senior, always look for the right amounts and necessary grams of protein or fat and calorie requirement. Too much sugar can also be bad for their health.
Aged Care Weekly in Australia provides current news and related information for aged seniors. Check out the website for more reads.