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How To Nourish Ourselves As We Age And The Benefits Of Ensure Drink

Today, modern medicine is rediscovering what our ancestors knew and followed for millennia – our food can be our medicine or our poison. Nature is abundant with edible plants, fruit, vegetables, and animals, providing us with everything we need to maintain our health and energy. The closer to nature we feed ourselves, the healthier we are.

Unfortunately, since the industrial age, processed food has taken a central place in our diet, and today, we suffer the consequences of it. Yes, it is convenient, easily accessible, delicious, filling, and cheap, but we are asked to pay a much higher price with our health later in our lives.

Good quality food, grass-fed meat, organic produce, fresh herbs, and cold-pressed vegetable oils are the foundation of a healthy diet. The role of nutrition becomes even more important with age as we begin suffering from various ailments due to our lifestyle, diet, genetics, and other environmental factors. Older adults often have unique dietary needs and nutritional challenges due to the aging process.

eating nutritiously packed food is essential for our well-being | ensure supplement

A diet adjusted to their needs can significantly impact seniors’ overall health, their quality of life, and their bodies ability to manage chronic conditions.


Why is Nutrition Pivotal for Seniors

There are plenty of reasons why good nutrition is essential for older adults. They include:

1.Maintaining Health and Well-being

Good food is essential for maintaining older adults’ overall health and well-being. Adequate intake of important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber helps support bodily functions, maintain muscle mass, and promote a strong immune system.

2. Managing Chronic Conditions

Chronic health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and osteoporosis become common as we age. Nutrition, adjusted to these medical problems, can help keep them at bay by controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and supporting heart health.

3.Preventing Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a frequent issue among older adults. It is often caused by decreased appetite, problems with their teeth, and difficulty swallowing. An appropriately adapted diet can help prevent malnutrition by ensuring seniors receive enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

4.Supporting Bone Health

Calcium and vitamin D are two elements essential for maintaining bone health, and their deficiency can mean an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures in older adults, especially as they are prone to falls. Adequate intake of these nutrients and a balanced diet can help prevent bone loss.

older woman eating yogurt to increase her calcium intake

5.Contributing to Cognitive Health

Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, microelements, and certain vitamins play a role in cognitive health. A diet rich in these nutrients may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s.

6.Promoting Digestive Health

Our digestive system is essential for our overall health. Many medical professionals now believe that it is also responsible for the adequate functioning of our immune system. As we age, it is not uncommon to start experiencing digestive issues such as heartburn, bloating, constipation, or difficulty absorbing nutrients. Following a diet rich in fiber, probiotic foods, and adequate hydration can help promote healthy digestion.

7.Boosting Hydration

With age, we are at a higher risk of being dehydrated as we tend to feel less thirsty. Consequently, we end up not drinking enough water during the day. Additionally, our kidneys might not often function as efficiently as before, creating a liquid deficit in our bodies. Since dehydration can lead to a range of health problems, such as a sudden drop in blood pressure, a urinary tract infection, or kidney failure, proper liquid intake, with or without food, is crucial.

8.Awareness of Medication Interactions

Older people are often prescribed drugs, some of which can interact with certain nutrients or affect their appetite. If you think that medication interactions are the reason for a diminished appetite, you must consult with your healthcare provider and/or a nutritionist who can help you modify your diet accordingly.

9.Supporting Social Interactions

Sharing meals can be a social and enjoyable activity for seniors, which can help combat loneliness and depression. You can use mealtimes as an opportunity for companionship and emotional support.

aging adults sharing meal time with fresh food

Each senior may have diverse nutritional needs according to their age, gender, activity level, and overall health. Therefore, it might be a good idea to invest in developing an individualized dietary plan with the help of a healthcare professional or dietitian to ensure that you or your beloved senior receives the right balance of nutrients.

In senior care, it’s essential to consider each individual’s unique nutritional requirements and monitor their dietary intake regularly.

Protein, vitamins, and minerals are all crucial components of a healthy diet for seniors, as they play various essential roles in maintaining overall health and well-being.

Nutrients Essential for Older Adults

Naturally, a well-balanced diet includes optimal amounts of all nutrients. However, some of these carry more importance for aging people and should be added to the meals in adequate quantities.

Protein is crucial as it helps:

  • Keep your muscles – as we age, we tend to lose muscle mass faster. Protein is vital for maintaining and repairing muscle tissue. In aging, there is a natural loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) and adequate protein intake can help slow down this process, contributing to better mobility and strength.
  • With wound healing – older adults are unfortunately more likely to undergo surgeries or sustain an injury, and protein helps wounds heal quicker.
  • Support the immune system – some proteins are involved in the production of antibodies and immune system function. Having a highly functional natural defense will help to protect you against infections.
  • With energy and satiety – protein can provide a sense of fullness, which may help with weight management and promote a healthy weight. A protein-rich diet will supply you with enough energy to enjoy your day.

Certain vitamins carry more benefits as they can provide:

  • antioxidant protection. It is important as oxidative stress in the body is connected to a number of serious conditions. Vitamins like A, C, and E act as antioxidants, helping to combat the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and thus reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  • bone health. Poor bone density means a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D and K is essential for the health of our bones in the golden years.
  • better immune response. Vitamins such as vitamins C and D play a role in immune system function, which can help elders fight off infections and viruses.
  • support for your cognitive health. B vitamins, particularly B12 and folate, are essential for brain function and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • slower sight deterioration. Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like zinc, support eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related eye conditions.

senior woman eating vitamin-rich fruits | ensure vitamin drink

Minerals are responsible for:

  • bone health. Osteoporosis, or porous, weaker bones and fractures, become much more common with age, and one of the reasons is low levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, or vitamin D. These minerals are paramount for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
  • heart health. Minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium are important in regulating blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • electrolyte balance. Normal levels of electrolytes in the body help the muscles and nerves function optimally. Sodium, potassium, and chloride support maintain proper fluid balance.
  • blood health. Iron, copper, and zinc play roles in red blood cell production, helping to prevent anemia.
  • immune function. Zinc and selenium are important for immune system function and may help seniors defend against infections better.

Naturally, the nutritional needs of every aging adult will vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, and underlying health conditions.

As we age, our bodies’ ability to absorb certain nutrients from the food may decline, which can necessitate adjustments in our diet and boost the supplements we take.

Nutrition supplements may fill nutrient gaps, but dieticians and healthcare professionals recommend obtaining these nutrients from a varied and balanced diet when possible.

Such a supplement is Ensure – a brand of nutritional drinks and shakes that are designed to provide a convenient and easily digestible source of essential nutrients.

These products are often used to supplement the diets of individuals who may have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs through regular food alone.

Ensure drinks manufactured by Abbott Laboratories come in various formulations to meet different dietary and medical requirements.

Ensure’s Key Features

  • Ensure drinks typically contain a blend of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and a range of essential vitamins and minerals. Different Ensure products’ content may vary depending on the purpose and who they are intended for.
  • Ensure products are designed to provide a controlled and predictable number of calories, making them suitable for individuals who need to manage their calorie intake due to medical conditions, such as those recovering from surgery or dealing with malnutrition.
  • Many Ensure formulations are high in protein, which is important for maintaining and repairing muscle tissue. This can be beneficial for individuals who are at risk of muscle loss or have increased protein requirements.

ensure protein drink

  • Ensure drinks come in a variety of formulations designed for different dietary and medical needs. These include Ensure Original, Ensure Plus (higher in calories and protein), Ensure Enlive (designed for muscle health), Ensure Clear (a clear liquid option) and Ensure Max Protein (extra protein content).
  • Ensure drinks come in a range of flavors and may be available in different textures, such as ready-to-drink liquids, powders that can be mixed with water, and shakes. This makes it easier to find something suitable to everyone’s taste.


Who Are Ensure Drinks Designed For?

Ensure products are suitable for individuals with increased nutritional requirements, such as

  • Older adults who may have difficulty maintaining a balanced diet.
  • People recovering from illness, surgery, or injury.
  • Individuals with malnutrition or those at risk of malnutrition.
  • Cancer patients undergoing treatment.
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders that affect nutrient absorption.
  • Those with eating disorders or difficulty swallowing.
  • Athletes or individuals looking to supplement their diet for increased protein intake.

While Ensure products can be used without a prescription, if you have a specific medical condition or dietary restriction, you should talk to a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before incorporating Ensure into your diet.

In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend a specific Ensure formulation or an alternative nutritional supplement.

Ensure drinks are not intended to be used as a sole food source unless under the guidance of a medical professional.

Their role is to complement a balanced diet and help meet specific nutritional needs when food cannot supply them.

You should buy the Ensure product that aligns with your dietary requirements and use them as directed.

How Ensure Drinks Support Seniors’ Overall Health and Well-Being

  1. Rich in nutrients

Ensure products are formulated to provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats. This nutrient density ensures that people receive a balanced and comprehensive source of nutrition by consuming them.

  1. Convenient and easily digestible

Some Ensure formulations are available in clear liquid form, which can be great if you have digestive issues and need a gentle, easily digestible option. All Ensure drinks are easy to consume and digest, making them convenient for seniors and others who have trouble chewing, swallowing, or preparing regular meals. They are also suitable for those with a limited appetite or difficulty with solid foods, such as people with Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

senior woman drinking Ensure energy smoothie

  1. Maintains muscle mass

High in protein, a nutrient essential for maintaining muscle mass, Ensure drinks are particularly beneficial for seniors, as muscle loss can occur with age (sarcopenia). Adequate protein intake can help slow this process, supporting mobility and strength.

  1. Promote bone health

Ensure products often contain the recommended daily intake quantities of calcium and vitamin D, nutrients that can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

  1. Provide immune system support

Some Ensure formulations include vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and zinc, which are important for immune system function. A robust immune system is vital for preventing and fighting infections and illnesses.

  1. Aid in wound healing

Ensure drinks can support wound healing and skin repair, which can be especially helpful to those recovering from surgery or dealing with injuries.

  1. Help with weight management

If you need to manage your calorie intake, Ensure products provide controlled and predictable calories, allowing for easier weight management. Additionally, as a supplement, they do not add excessive calories.

  1. Boost hydration

Many Ensure drinks contain a significant amount of water, helping maintain proper hydration, a key aspect of overall health.

  1. Maintain regular bowel movements

Since they are rich in fiber, Ensure energy drinks can help you maintain a regular bowel movement and prevent constipation.

Ensure products are often used as supplements to help meet specific nutritional needs, especially in cases where dietary intake may be inadequate due to illness, surgery, or other

They are formulated to address common nutritional deficiencies in seniors by providing a concentrated source of essential nutrients in a convenient and easily digestible form.

Benefits of Ensure as a supplement to a balanced diet

While a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of whole foods is ideal for meeting nutritional needs, there are situations where older adults may have difficulty getting all the necessary nutrients from their meals alone. In such cases, Ensure drinks can serve as a helpful addition to their diet because

1.Ensure drinks have a comprehensive nutrient profile

Ensure products are nutrient-dense which means that they are formulated to provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

2.They are practical

Preparing and consuming meals can become challenging as we age because we may have less appetite, difficulty swallowing, or just be lonely and not feel like we should bother to cook for ourselves. Ensure drinks are either ready to consume or you just need to add liquid to the powder form and stir the mixture.

3.They contain an adequate amount of protein

Many older adults find it difficult to meet their protein needs through food alone, so Ensure can provide an additional source of this essential element.

ensure drinks can help with weight management

4.They have specialized formulations

Ensure drinks come in various formulations to meet specific dietary and medical needs. For example, Ensure Plus offers additional calories and protein for individuals who need extra support, while Ensure Enlive contains nutrients to support muscle health. You can choose the type that best aligns with your individual nutritional requirements.

5.It is easy to control your portions and liquid consumption

Ensure products come preset, portion-controlled, and provide a predictable number of calories. This makes it easy to manage your calorie intake, especially if you need to control your weight. Ensure drinks contain a significant amount of water, which can help you stay well hydrated.

Key differences between Ensure Plus, Ensure Complete and Ensure Original

Ensure Plus and Ensure Complete are products within the Ensure lineup designed to provide a higher calorie content compared to the other Ensure drinks.

As you can see from the table here,


Per serving

Ensure PlusEnsure CompleteEnsure Original
Protein16 g30 g9 g
Carbohydrates48 g42 g30 g
Fat11 g8 g6 g

Milk and Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry,

Butter Pecan

Milk Chocolate, Vanilla, StrawberryMilk and Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Butter Pecan, Coffee Latte

The primary difference between Ensure Plus, Ensure Complete and Ensure Original drinks is the calorie content.

ensure plus drink

Both Ensure Plus and Ensure Complete are formulated to provide 350 calories per serving, while Ensure Original supply between 220 calories per serving. As such, they are ideal for seniors who need additional energy and nutritional support, such as those recovering from illness, surgery, or malnutrition.

They also contain a similar or higher amount of protein compared to the other Ensure drinks. The higher protein content in Ensure Complete can help aging adults meet their protein needs.

However, Ensure Plus and Ensure Complete have a higher carbohydrate content than Ensure Original drinks. The reason for this is that carbs provide energy, and the increased carbohydrate content contributes to their higher calorie content.

ensure complete drink

Ensure Plus and Ensure Complete also contains slightly more fat compared to Ensure Original. Fat is another source of calories that delivers the higher energy content of the formulations.

Due to their contents, Ensure Plus and Ensure Complete are often recommended for individuals who have specific calorie goals to meet, such as those recovering from surgery, injury, or illness. These drinks can also be suitable for individuals with increased energy needs due to a medical condition.

The different Ensure drinks are intended for people with specific dietary and health needs and may not be suitable for everyone. The decision to use Ensure Plus or any other nutritional supplement should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian who can assess your unique nutritional requirements and recommend the most appropriate product based on the specific circumstances.

Things to keep in mind when using Ensure Drinks

While Ensure drinks can be an extremely useful nutritional supplement for individuals who need additional calories and nutrients, there are several aspects to keep in mind when consuming them.

Ask your doctor

Before incorporating Ensure Energy or any other nutritional supplement into your diet in the long term, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian. They will be able to evaluate your nutritional needs and determine whether and which Ensure drinks are appropriate for your individual circumstances.

Ensure is not a meal replacement

Ensure drinks are designed to supplement your diet, not replace whole meals. As such, they should be used in addition to a balanced and varied diet whenever possible.

Check for allergens

Although all Ensure drinks are gluten-free and kosher, they contain milk protein, which makes them unsuitable for lactose-intolerant people. Check the ingredient list for potential other allergens or ingredients that you may need to avoid due to dietary restrictions. Ensure products may contain common allergens in addition to milk, such as soy and tree nuts.

Beware of the calories

Ensure Plus and Protein Max are higher in calories than regular Ensure drinks. It’s crucial to consume them in accordance with your physician’s prescription or recommendation. Using Ensure Plus and Protein Max without proper guidance can lead to excessive calorie intake.

Thread with caution if you have a sensitive stomach

Some older adults experience stomach discomfort when consuming nutritional supplements or high-calorie drinks. If you suffer from acid reflux, bloating, or other gastrointestinal problems, discuss your concerns with your doctor to determine the best strategy.

Make sure it doesn’t negatively interact with other medications

Ensure energy drinks may interact with certain drugs, affecting how medications are absorbed in the body. If you are taking, for instance, blood thinners, as a lot of older adults, you need to watch out for the levels of vitamin K in your body, as if they get too high, this may sap the effect of the medication. Therefore, it is essential to keep your healthcare provider up to date with all the medications and supplements you are taking to confirm there are no potential interactions.

Watch your weight

If you are using Ensure products to help you gain weight or maintain your current weight, it’s important to monitor it regularly and make adjustments as needed. Rapid or unintended weight changes should be conferred with your healthcare provider.

Not all medical conditions are compatible

Even though they are often recommended for individuals with specific medical conditions or those recovering from illness, surgery, or injury, if you have galactosemia, an inherited condition in which the body can not process galactose (a type of sugar), for example, you should not consume any of the Ensure drinks. That is another reason you should discuss it with your doctor.

Do not neglect a balanced diet and hydration

While Ensure Energy products provide additional calories, they can not beat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods to ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients. Nutritional supplements can not provide the diverse microelements and vitamins that a healthy diet can. Additionally, Ensure drinks can contribute to hydration, but they can not be the sole source of fluids. Continue to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to stay well-hydrated.

Ensure Energy is typically intended for short-term use to address specific dietary and medical needs. If you intend to consume it for a long time, use it as a supplement but not the main source of food, and consult with your healthcare provider.

15 Creative Ways to Incorporate Ensure Drinks in Your Menu

Ensure drinks can be consumed in various ways to suit individual preferences and dietary needs. You can shop for your preferred type from online or physical stores. Here are some different ways to consume Ensure drinks:

  • Chill and Sip – refrigerate the bottle or can until it’s cold, and then simply sip it slowly at breakfast or as a snack.
  • At room temperature – Ensure is tasty and ready to be consumed at room temperature, convenient if you don’t have access to refrigeration. Have one if you still feel hungry after you have eaten.
  • Over Ice – pour Ensure over ice for a refreshing and cool beverage on a hot summer day.
  • Heated as a warm beverage – in cooler weather, you can heat Ensure gently on the stove or in the microwave (follow the product’s instructions for heating) to enjoy it as a warm beverage.
  • Blended in a smoothie – you can combine Ensure with fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or ice in a blender to create a nutritious smoothie to your taste. This can add flavor and texture to your drink.
  • With coffee or tea – if you enjoy coffee or tea, you can mix a flavored Ensure drink with brewed coffee or tea for a unique taste. Vanilla or chocolate flavors tend to work well for this.
  • As frozen popsicles – you can make nutritious frozen popsicles if you pour Ensure into popsicle molds and freeze them to get a refreshing treat.
  • As a base for recipes – use Ensure as a base for various recipes. For example, you can use it in place of milk or water when making oatmeal, pancakes, or protein shakes.
  • Mixed with cereal – pour Ensure over cereal instead of milk for added nutrition and flavor.
  • Mixed with instant oatmeal – mix Ensure with instant oatmeal for a nutritious and filling breakfast.
  • In baking – incorporate Ensure into recipes for baked goods like muffins or protein bars to boost their nutritional content.
  • To flavor soups or sauces – Ensure can add extra creaminess and nutrition to your soups, stews, or sauces.
  • To take medications easier – mix crushed medications in Ensure drink to make it easier to swallow them if you find it difficult to swallow pills.
  • As a pudding – refrigerating Ensure for a few hours creates a pudding-like consistency.
  • In smoothie bowls – pour Ensure into a bowl and add toppings like granola, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit for a smoothie bowl.

ensure energy beverage

You can choose the flavor and formulation of Ensure that suit your taste preferences and dietary requirements. Complement a balanced diet and do not use it as the sole source of nutrition unless directed by a healthcare professional. Always follow the product’s label instructions for proper serving size and use.


With age, our nutritious needs may and will change. It is paramount to allow for these changes in your diet to ensure you supply adequate fuel for your body.

Various health conditions and the medications we have to take for them may affect our appetite and our ability to prepare food, feed ourselves, chew, and swallow.

Ensure, together with other supplements, are great products designed to support overall health and well-being, particularly in situations where we may have difficulty meeting our nutritional needs through regular food alone.

None of these additions to your diet should be a substitute for any of the daily main meals, and it is a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or your doctor in order to prevent any unwanted effects of the use of Ensure beverages.

Amy’s Eden works with experienced professionals – registered dietitians and nutritionists. We are ready to assist you in evaluating your nutritional needs and provide valuable advice about supplements in accordance with your preferences and lifestyle. On the other hand, if you need a caregiver to assist with daily activities and personal care, contact us today to find the perfect fit.

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