When it comes to appetite, There are those struggling to contain their appetite and trim how much they can consume. On the flip side are those who even after trying so hard they can never get their appetite up. Such people really struggle to finish off a small portion of food even when it is their favorite treat. For those with an elephant’s appetite, today is not your day. This article is for those whose appetite is on the lower spectrum. If you are one of those who can hardly clear up a small fraction of food on your plate, this piece is for you. But before we go further into the details, let’s handle the first things first.
What is appetite loss?
It is simply the reduced urge to eat that could be caused by a number of reasons. In medical terms, loss of appetite is called anorexia. Its prevalence cuts through all ages from young kids, teenagers, adults to the elderly.
What leads to loss of Appetite?
There is a long list of reasons for a loss of appetite. It varies from one individual to the other. These here are some of the common causes;
- Drug and substance abuse
- Side effects of some medicines
- Digestive problems
- Imbalanced hormones
- Eating disorders
- Broken relationships
How to increase your Appetite
When your appetite is all gone, you try to do all you can to get it back. Some people are successful while others are not so lucky. So, if you are wondering on how to increase your appétit; here are ways to do exactly that;
- Stick to small regular meals
For someone with a low appetite, sticking to the conventional three meals a day may be a tall order. Instead, make arrangements for small meal portions after every two or three hours. By the end of the day you will have eaten as much as your body requires to stay healthy.
- Ditch the junks and go for foods packed with nutrients
More often, people with low appetite tend to find a comfort zone in junk foods. They would rather go for a sweet ice cream rather than drinking a mug of fresh plain yoghurt. You should completely kill the urge for fast foods and instead focus on eating foods with more calories and rich in healthy fats. Make sure what you eat is laden with vegetables, fruits and a fair share of healthy proteins.
- Create some fun during meal time
Did you know that you can beat your appetite woes with simple mind games? You can invite friends over for dinner and find yourself eating more than you usually do. According to a recent study, having some company during meals can help increase your appetite by 18%. Since that is not possible every day, you can introduce some fun activities around your eating times. You can play your favorite music or turn on the TV. You will be amazed how these simple acts could help get your appetite back. Researchers say adding fun activities during meal time help boost your appetite by as high as 14%.
- Be strict on breakfast
By the virtue of being the first meal of the day, the importance of breakfast cannot be overlooked. Over 65% of those who eat breakfast claim that they have never had to deal with low appetite. It is your turn to take advantage of the first meal of the day. It helps you set the tone for the entire day and plays a crucial role in restoring your teenage-like appetite.
- Serve more of your favorite dishes
We all like certain foods more than others. What are yours? Those are the kind of foods you should serve and have better odds of eating more. You do not need to be a genius to understand how this works. With foods that you love, you will be more tempted to eat more. That way, you will easily find your path back to eating more.
- Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle
There is more to physical activities than losing weight and staying in shape. Every time you exercise, your body burns calories that will need to be replenished through eating. You will notice that you have an urge to eat every time you come from a run or the gym. Studies indicate that you can burn as much as 30% calories with simple exercises like jogging. Sit down and come up with an exercise routine. It does not have to me something rigorous; a walk or a jog every morning is just enough.
- Create a meal plan
Do you know what they say about planning? Failing to plan is preparing to fail. A meal plan helps you track down how much you eat and what you will eat at a certain time. This planning ahead makes your decisions easy and you always prepare a meal that will stir up your appetite.
There are probably a million ways to win back your appetite. Some will work for others and not you. You have to find exactly what works for you and stick to that until you are back to your eating form. If something does not work, you can as well try another. Remember, consistency and persistency will be of great help to your journey.
Foods that Increase Appetite
Thanks to nature, there are foods that increase appetite and you can readily find them in a shop or market near you. While it is not a guarantee that a certain kind of food will help you find your eating urge, the foods in this list have been found to largely help improve appetite.
- Fruits and veggies: Do you know why doctors tend to recommend fruits and vegetables to patients? One of the reasons is because they help boost appetite. Increase your serve for fruits and veggies. It could be Kales, spinach, watermelons, bananas, apples, avocados, strawberries, Swiss chard, or carrots.
- Protein-rich foods: When your appetite is down south, you are encouraged to make sure you hit your daily calorie target. One sure way of making that happen is including proteins in your daily meals. And not all proteins are healthy; you have to be choosy. Some of the recommended proteins for those with low appetite include egg white, cheese, protein puddings, nut butter, and nuts.
- Whole grains and cereals: Those who have established a routine for eating whole grains during breakfast have the least chances of struggling with appetite. It is time you join the whole grain bandwagon that includes: raisin bran, quinoa, bagels, whole-grain bread, and grape nuts.
Vitamins that Increase Appetite
With vitamins that increase appetite, you have to be careful with their intake. If you take more or less you are putting your health in line of danger. You should take these vitamins to their recommended quantity to help you increase your appetite;
- Vitamin Bc and B9: These two have been subjected to clinical tests and proven to boost appetite. Vitamin Bc referred to as Vitamin M or folic acid should not be exposed to heat or sunlight. It is also damaged by sulfa drugs so you may have to be careful with your current prescriptions.
Vitamin B9 also referred to as folacin, can easily be absorbed into water and does a great deal of breaking and building new proteins on top of helping restore your lost appetite. You can get your daily share of folacin from citric fruits and juices, liver, Green and dark leafy veggies, legumes, pork and poultry.
- Vitamin K: For adults, your daily vitamin K intake should not go beyond 90 micrograms. Green and leafy vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli should help you hit your vitamin K daily target. Soy beans and citrus fruits will also help you with this as well.
Supplements to Increase Appetite
When you prepare the right foods, include physical activity to your daily routine, and increased your intake of vitamins that increase appetite and get no change; it is time to seek help from supplements. Some of the supplements to increase appetite include;
- Fish oil: sometimes you do not need to go far looking for supplements to increase your appetite. Fish oil, which is readily available, could be your silver bullet to eating more. In a controlled study, it was found out that those people who take fish oil before breakfast had a better appetite. The good thing about fish oil is that it does not come with any side effects.
- Plum extract: Well, at first you would not believe you are reading this. Plum extracts may be the least you expected here but they do a great job on your appetite and should be taken half an hour to your meals. The logic behind how plum extracts work is very simple. They contain a hormone, which works exactly like ghrelin. Ghrelin is a body-produced hormone that helps with appetite stimulation. You can now connect the dots as to why the extract finds space in here, right?
- Black Hole: A product of Controlled Labs, this supplement finds a favorite spot with those seeking to increase their appetite. On top of working the magic of making you eat more, this supplement is also know to help with joints as well as with digestion complications.
- Echinacea Alkylamides: Today, cannabinoids are taking the center stage on all health fronts. They are known to treat or remedy a lot of conditions and loss of appetite happens to be one of them. And while you thought it is only the cannabis plant that secretes cannabinoids, you are wrong. Researchers have also found cannabinoids-like substances in the family of plants called Echinacea. These substances are referred to as Alkylamides and are now included in a range of appetite-boosting supplements.
Pills to Increase Appetite
For those who would prefer pills to increase appetite, you can still pursue that option. However, there is a limitation to the variety of pills that have been tested and proven to get the job done. In the US, only three types of appetite stimulating pills have received the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Megastrol is the first in the list and commonly prescribed to cancer patients who are in advanced stages of therapy and treatment. Dronabinol, as experts put it, this is marijuana processed in the laboratory. As you may know, smoking marijuana leads hunger pangs and those who use it have huge appetites. While this pill works like cannabis sativa to stimulate your appetite, it does not come with the associated hallucinogenic effects. Last in the list is Oxandrolone, which is categorized as an anabolic steroid. It is mostly prescribed to people recuperating from severe illnesses, those who have been through traumatic experiences, and those who have undergone surgery.
Medication to Increase Appetite
While it is recommendable that you stick to natural ways to increase your appetite, some time those methods bear no results. When you have reached that stage, it is time to turn to medication to increase appetite. What are your options here?
- Somatropin: This is an artificial drug that mimics the human growth hormone in all respects. It is a preferred choice by those who want to gain weight or fighting loss of appetite from HIV/AIDS. It is administered through an injection and has a known list of side effects including joint pain, headaches, and breast swellings.
- Megastrol Acetate: This medication is effective in fighting severe weight loss among HIV/AIDS patients. It is derived from progesterone, the female hormone responsible for menstruation and fertility. Some of its side effects are lack of sleep, nausea and headache.
- Marinol: Also known as Dronabinol, Marinol is a form of cannabinoid that works to suppress nausea and in the same time increasing appetite. Its prescription is more common among HIV/AIDS patients and those going through cancer’s chemotherapy.
- Off-labels: these are medications that have not been subjected to FDA tests and approval. They include steroids, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
Herbs to Increase Appetite
Before you take a leap into medication, supplements and pills to help with your loss of appetite; you have to consider one more option: herbs to increase appetite. Yes, there are herbs that have been proven to help you eat more and gain weight. Let’s have a look at some of these herbs.
- Dandelion: this is a root fortified with vitamins A, B, C, and D. It also contains minerals such as zinc, potassium and iron. However, it is more known for its appetizing capabilities. You boil the dry roots in water and allow them time to settle. You should drink the mixture three times a day and expect results in two or so weeks.
- Gentian: This yellow flower is commonly found in Europe. Its roots have been used for a long time to help restore appetite and an array of digestive problems. It contains extremely bitter elements known as secoiridoids, which are powerful saliva and bile stimulants. You use it in tea, as capsule or tincture depending on your preference. About the dosage, you should talk to your physician for directions.
- Centaury: another herb from Gentian family, centaury can be used to help restore your lost appetite. Its bitter components will lead to stimulation of digestive juices thus leading to increased appetite. It is not advisable to use this herb when pregnant.
- Ginger: Ginger has been a constant in both ancient and traditional medicine. This is attributable to its many healing properties. It helps reduce acidity in the stomach and stimulates the production of digestive juices. This is what you need to increase your appetite. Take it in your morning tea or make a mixture of ginger, peppermint, and lemon sap. Do this every day and it is only a matter of time and you are back to your appetite.
- Blessed Thistle: This yellow-flowered plant does well in the Mediterranean and has become one of the most sought after herbs by those with digestive problems. Its seeds and the upper parts are bitter thus a perfect cure for digestive and appetite issues. Those pregnant should stay away from this herb.
Loss of appetite does not choose; it is a situation that anyone may have to deal. And when you find yourself in it, the first thing you should try to find out is its cause. Is it something you can control/stop or does it need you to see a doctor? Whatever it is, do not lose hope because many have beaten it before. When it comes to facing loss of appetite, there are so many ways to deal with it. You can start with changing your lifestyle. For instance, start eating healthy foods and include physical exercises in your routines. If food and change of lifestyle does not work, go to healthy supplements, herbs, vitamins and minerals. If still you are struggling with low appetite after this, it is time you see a doctor for diagnosis and prescription. With the will and the determination, you can overcome the demon of losing appetite. Put what you have learned in this post to practice and it may be all you need to never have eating problems.