Here are the 7 best nutritional supplements seniors can take to help prevent energy and nutrient deficiency from negatively affecting their daily activities and overall health.
Council of Responsible Nutrition reports that about 79% of elders (55 or above) use nutritional supplements daily. But the right nutritional product for a senior citizen varies with gender, age, body weight, the fat percentage in blood, and individual medical history.
To make this personalized choice easier, I have discussed various types of nutritional drinks, their benefits, and a buying guide to choose the best product.
So, keep reading to find out what nutritional shakes are the best for the elderly;
What Are Nutritional Supplement Drinks?
Nutritional drinks are a blend of carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, minerals, and vitamins to fulfill the body’s nutritional needs. These shakes are often used in malnutrition therapies to restore health.
Also, people use them in place of regular meals because they contain a similar amount of nutrients and calories.
Various kinds of supplement drinks are available in the market;
Nutritional Shakes For Diabetics
These drinks can help diabetic patients get more proteins and multivitamins without increasing glucose levels, as these shakes have a very low to zero carb content.
Protein-rich supplements are formulated to provide essential amino acids to individuals that struggle with muscle building. Low-calorie, protein drinks help the elderly retain muscle mass, staying healthy and strong.
Vitamin-fortified drinks contain many useful vitamins and minerals. So they can help you fulfill the micronutrient needs of the body. Supplementation with such drinks especially benefits the elderly because the human body loses its micronutrient reservoirs faster as you age.
Meal Replacement Shakes
These are high-calorie drinks formulated to substitute solid meals. Usually, they are stuffed with carbohydrates and fats to provide a large number of calories like a big meal.
However, such shakes are useful for hard gainers and patients who cannot eat due to an ailment.
Benefits Of Nutritional Supplement Drinks For The Elderly
Senior citizens can benefit from nutritional supplements in the following ways;
Reduces Chances Of Malnutrition
Appetite often decreases with age, coupled with a slower metabolism; it can cause a nutritional deficiency in older people.
Seniors can get calories, proteins, and vitamins with nutritional shakes within a small serving. Thus, health experts often recommend drinking supplements to prevent and overcome age-related malnutrition.
Slows Down Aging Muscle Loss
All humans face Sarcopenia (gradual muscle loss) as they grow older. After a certain age, muscle fibers lose protein blocks, becoming weaker and shorter.
Thus, the protein requirement is increased. But complex protein taken through food may take a lot of time as metabolism slows down with age.
In this case, concentrated proteins that absorb faster can effectively slow down muscle degradation.
Ready-to-drink shakes are rich in proteins and amino acids that work to maintain the required levels in senior citizens according to their body’s metabolism.
The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging says that milk protein supplements are effective for regaining lean mass in older adults.
Allow Effective Weight Management
Besides muscle loss, fat storage tends to increase with age as the body utilizes food slowly, and a big portion of the ingested food is not used.
These leftover nutrients eventually become fatty layers around the belly, arms, and thighs. That is why many elders become overweight and fat.
Besides uplifting the risk of heart problems, this increased weight strains bones and joints, which also get weaker with age.
However, by using nutritional drinks, you can effectively manage your weight. A low-calorie supplement containing all required nutrients in a balanced ratio helps you stay healthy, fit, and energetic as you age.
Help Control Diabetes
Low-carb nutritional drinks help seniors with diabetes get enough calories and protein content with a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.
Thus, it can help many manage their diabetes better without compromising calorie intake.
Makes Nutrition Easier For The Elderly
With the gradual decline in energy and ability to be active, many older adults find it difficult to prepare nutritious meals daily, especially if they live alone.
But with nutritional supplements, they can receive their nutrition from a quick drink.
Some products are ready-to-drink. Others require the blending of a powder in water.
Meal Replacement Drinks For The Elderly – My Top Picks
1. Ensure Max Protein – Best Protein Drink For the Elderly
Ensure by Abbott is a well-known supplement brand offering various protein powders and meal replacement shakes.
Ensure Max Protein has the highest protein content among these drinks. It provides 30 grams of essential protein components within an 11 oz bottle.
This is mostly milk protein (whey and casein) that has a lot of lean growth potential, as indicated by this review journal concluding 35 research papers on whey effects on elders’ health.
It shows that supplementary whey drinks enhance protein synthesis and muscle performance. Adults 60 or above who use whey supplements routinely are less prone to cardiovascular issues and liver diseases.
Thus, a milk protein supplement like Ensure Max Protein protects against age-related muscle decline, keeping you stronger, healthy, and beautiful for longer.
Its Café Mocha and Milk chocolate flavors are particularly suitable as a breakfast smoothie because the small amount of caffeine keeps you energized throughout your day. According to a consumer survey (including 1043 participants), elders who took Ensure Max Protein feel more energetic during the day.
Though its caffeine content equals that of a regular coffee cup, it can be a concern for those seniors who have difficulty sleeping or are caffeine sensitive. That is why I recommend checking with your physician first.
This drink comes in 7 delicious flavors at $29.97 for 12 bottles at local and online pharmacies. Also, you can get it through elderly assistance programs that provide low-priced or free ensure for seniors.
And if you want to try a protein-rich Ensure alternative for the elderly, I have covered them below in the section “protein drinks for the elderly.”
2. Boost Plus– Best High-Calorie Shake For Seniors
Boost is one of the most popular brands making nutritional meal replacements. Its product line includes high-protein, fiber-supplemented, and diabetic-friendly variants, but Boost Plus makes it to the top of the calorie-rich drinks list.
It is especially suitable for seniors who have maintained an active lifestyle even at an older age and need more energy throughout the day.
It supplies 360 calories to keep them energized until the next meal and enjoy the best of their leisure time.
Besides the energy, it provides 14 grams of protein to delay age-related muscle decline and 24 minerals and vitamins to strengthen the immune system.
All in all, Boost Plus is a good choice for the elderly looking for a meal replacement.
This nutritional drink is available in 3 different flavors, sold for $46.35 for a pack of 24 bottles and $11.59 for a pack of six.
3. Huel-Best Vegan Supplement For the Elderly
Huel is a vegan-friendly meal replacement shake well suited for elderly vegetarians or on a plant-based diet.
A high protein content in Huel makes it stand out from the crowd since it is the perfect candidate for preventing muscle degeneration in the elderly.
This drink contains 41-gram carbohydrates, which bumps up its calorie count to 400 kcal. However, you cannot call it a high-calorie drink because its bottle size is twice that of other products on this list.
What makes it a good drink for diabetic elders is that all these carbs are slow-releasing compounds and have a low glycemic index. Resultantly, these carbs are broken down gradually and do not cause sudden blood glucose fluctuations.
Another good point about Huel is that its fat content is all plant-based, so it mostly consists of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids used in our tissues for recovery processes.
The addition of 22 grams of protein and a high fiber content makes it a health-friendly supplement for the elderly.
When selecting Huel for the elderly, I prefer ready-to-drink shakes over powder because a senior can carry it and drink anywhere, anytime, without needing to shake it vigorously.
You can purchase a carton of 12 bottles for $52.00, costing only $4.33 per bottle.
4. Chobani Complete– Best Drink For Elderly Gut Health
The gut is the second brain to the body, and overall health is significantly affected by gut health. And Chobani is a brand made to provide you with gut-friendly snacks and shakes.
Chobani Complete is a yogurt-based drink that provides calories, proteins, dietary fiber, and probiotics in one shake.
Though dairy-based, lactose-intolerant people can use Ensure because lactose is removed during the concentration process. Also, a small amount of lactase enzyme minimizes the chances of allergic reactions.
The best thing about this product is the presence of probiotic strains and prebiotic fiber. These ingredients positively affect the gut microbiome, eventually improving digestion, immunity, and mental health.
It is available on different online platforms like Amazon Fresh, InstaCart, and FreshDirect in various tasty flavors. The price for a 10 oz bottle is $2.99, and you can get discounts on bulk purchases as well.
5. Nepro– Nutritional Shake for Kidney Patients
Nepro is a drink formulated to provide nutrition to elders suffering from kidney problems, especially renal failure patients on dialysis.
It is a calorie-rich product as dialysis, and other treatments drain energy, making the person tired sooner. Thus, each Nepro bottle supplies about 424 calories.
The best thing about this product is the low content of mineral salts filtered by kidneys. Only a trace amount of phosphorus, potassium, and sodium are present, so drinking this beverage won’t further stress the malfunctioning kidneys.
Then it contains high-quality proteins to keep muscle mass intact and dietary fiber to uplift gut health.
It is available in a pack of 4 for $27.99 and a pack of 16 for $96.99. However, it should be only used with the doctor’s advice because the nutritional needs and effect of ingredients on kidneys’ health may differ for different patients.
6. Raw Organic Protein & Greens – Best Supplements For Post-Menopause
Raw Organic Protein And Greens is a great nutritional drink for older women because it provides a balanced mixture of calcium, vitamin D, and other micronutrients, along with proteins and carbs.
After menopause, calcium deposits start dissolving faster in women. Resultantly, their bones weaken, becoming more prone to joint pain and bone fractures.
But this supplement from Garden of Life supplies 20 mg of calcium with each dose to replenish bone-calcium reservoirs.
Its micronutrient content prevents Sarcopenia and helps elder women maintain muscle mass, strength, and agility.
Research from the University of Applied Science, Amsterdam, shows calcium, magnesium, and selenium minerals are particularly beneficial for healthy aging.
It supplies 110 kcal energy and 20 grams of protein per serving for macro nutrition.
You can buy this powdered supplement at the price of $40.79 for a tub of 550 grams.
Nutritional Drinks For Diabetic Seniors
Boost Glucose Control is a consumer-trusted nutritional supplement for diabetic seniors. It is top of my list due to its low-carb formulation.
It includes only a few carbs present in the product and comes embedded with milk extracts.
Fat content is even lower, only 2 grams. Combined, lower concentrations of fats and carbs make it a low glycemic product.
Overall it delivers 160 calories with each serving.
Protein is the major component of this product, about 60% of its ingredient content. These proteins are sourced from isolated and concentrated milk protein blends and whey protein concentrate.
Milk protein blends provide useful amino acids to support muscle growth and also prove helpful in effective diabetes management.
The World Journal of Diabetes states that whey protein can influence insulin-producing cells and affect carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption in the blood.
This product comes in bundles of 4 and 12 bottles, costing $11.12 and $33.35, respectively.
The Glucerna Shake is a drink that caters well to diabetic seniors. Lying under the umbrella of Abbott, this brand has the trust of many physicians and happy consumers.
It is widely recommended to people with diabetes for blood sugar and weight management because it is low in carbohydrates (16 grams) and fats (9 grams).
And even in these 16 grams of carbs, 4 grams are dietary fibers that do not contribute to blood glucose.
And the best thing is this fat content does not include any trans fats and only 4 grams of saturated fat. So, elders can take it without concern of fat build-up.
Its overall caloric count is 180 kcal, including 10 grams of protein and 28 different vitamins and minerals.
Thus, this product helps to maintain nutritional balance and a strong immune system.
You can get this supplement drink from a local or online pharmacy/ grocery store in five flavors: rich chocolate, homemade vanilla, creamy strawberry, classic butter pecan, and chocolate caramel.
Glucerna shakes come in 8 oz bottles, sold at various pharma stores like Abbott, Walmart, CVS, and Rite AID. The price for a 24-bottle bundle is $45.99.
3. Ensure Light
Ensure Light is a diabetic-friendly product from the famous nutritional supplement brand.
It helps manage blood glucose as it has a 1% carb content. Each 8 fl oz serving supplies only 3 grams of carbohydrates.
Besides a low carb content, suiting diabetic patients, its overall calorie count is also minor. Hence, it is a good option for seniors who want to lose weight without compromising protein and micronutrient consumption.
It is a dual protein supplement containing isolated proteins from milk and soy. So, you get the benefit of both animal and plant-based proteins.
Coming to micronutrients, it has a blend of 22 vitamins and mineral salts. With a high proportion of vitamin D, B, and calcium, the product would help you retain healthy muscles, bones, and joints in older age.
It comes in 2 flavors, vanilla, and chocolate, widely available at pharmacies and general stores. Abbott online sells a pack of 24 for $35.96, which is only $1.4 for one bottle.
Top Protein-Rich Drinks For the Elderly
Carnation drink comes from the trusted brand of Nestle. It is a protein-rich supplement formulated to substitute breakfast.
Thus, it contains a blend of nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Its high protein content (15 grams per serving) ensures that elderly muscles have all essential amino acids available, preventing muscle degeneration in the older population.
Each bottle of this meal replacement shake contains 27 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat, and a total calorie count of 220.
Also, it is packed full of 21 vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, B, C, and calcium, to provide for metabolic needs and bone strength.
It is sold in two flavors, French vanilla, and chocolate, for $9.23 per bottle. Besides ready-to-drink shakes, Carnation is also available in powdered form.
Orgain clean protein is a meal replacement with a moderate calorie count, offering 130 kcal/serving.
It is a gluten-free product whose protein content is nearly double compared to its carbs content. Moreover, its fat is low, and all fatty acids come from plant-based resources, mostly sunflower oil.
It also contains important minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium to keep metabolism ongoing.
It is available in a pack of 12 for $31.99 on a one-time purchase and $23.99 with a subscription.
Premier Protein is a protein-rich, low-fat, and low-carb supplement.
Thus, senior adults can use it to build muscles without the risk of excessive fat deposits or high blood glucose.
Its calorie count is 160 kcal, from 5 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fats, and 30 grams of protein.
Besides macro and micronutrients, it also contains 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. These indigestible components upregulate gut microbiome and bowel movements, improving digestive health.
It is a budget-friendly supplement, costing $8.79 for a pack of 4.
Choosing Nutritional Supplement Drinks For The Elderly – Things To Consider
With so many meal replacement shakes for older adults available in today’s market, it isn’t easy to pick the perfect one. When you are purchasing a nutritional supplement, keep the following points in mind to make the best choice;
Is Nutrient-dense Or Calorie-dense?
The first thing to consider when buying a nutritional supplement drink for the elderly is its nutrient content.
It’s important to check if the product has enough calories when looking for a meal replacement. However, its carb and fat content shouldn’t be very high because it makes the drink unhealthy.
Instead, the supplement should contain a variety of proteins, fiber, metabolites, vitamins, and minerals. The rule of thumb is to prefer a product with a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio.
Nutritionists say that the protein content must be at least 10 grams, and the maximum carbohydrate content, including sugars, should not exceed 40 grams for an 8-ounce serving.
Then comes fat content, which can fuel your body when supplemented right or make you fat when overdosed.
Therefore, it is best to choose shakes for the elderly that range from none to only a few grams of fat.
Is It Stimulant And Allergen Free?
Besides considering what good a supplement provides, you should also check if it contains anything that can bother your health.
Sometimes supplements contain concentrated caffeine or other stimulants to provide an energy-boosting effect. However, these substances can play against you by interfering with your sleep or mental health.
Sleep quality naturally gets poor in elder years, and taking stimulatory supplements can make it worse. So, checking with your doctor before opting for any product containing caffeine or similar substances is better.
Likewise, if you have any food allergies like milk, gluten, or egg intolerance, make sure that the supplement you buy is free from ingredients.
Another important thing to confirm with your physician is that the supplement ingredients do not interact with your medication.
Is It Easy To Make?
When picking between brands of meal replacement shakes, it is worth considering how easily a drink can be prepared by the elderly.
Nutritional drinks are available as ready-to-mix powders, and ready-to-drink shakes. And for senior citizens, the pre-prepared shakes are often more convenient.
My Thoughts On Using Nutritional Supplement Drinks For the Elderly
I think nutritional supplement drinks help the elderly fulfill their nutritional needs easily. These shakes are great food choices compared to ready-made fast food items.
Supplement shakes especially formulated for diabetics, post-menopausal women, CVD, or kidney patients provide nutrients according to the different nutritional needs of these people.
However, elders should only take a supplement with the advice of their physician, as nutritional needs and contradictions vary with gender, body weight, and medication.
Important Disclaimer: The information contained on MAX HEALTH LIVING is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Any statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and any information or products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications.
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