Changes in appetite can be caused by a number of factors affecting your physical as well psychological health. At times, a decrease in appetite can be a sign of a serious condition like anorexia nervosa, heart disease, or even cancer.
Nevertheless, it is also considered as a normal part of aging when the sense of smell and taste tend to diminish.
Appetite loss is characterized by symptoms like a decrease in hunger or desire to eat and is often accompanied by fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach. It may eventually lead to unhealthy weight loss.
The problem can be caused by digestive disorders, infections, and nutritional deficiencies (for instance, zinc deficiency). Plus, mood also tends to affect your appetite.
Besides, it can also be a side effect of certain medicines like antibiotics, antihistamines, narcotics, prescription painkillers cold and flu medications, chemotherapy drugs, etc. Diabetes Insipidus and Diabetic Ketoacidosis are likely to cause decreased appetite and increased thirst.
Moreover, inflammation of gastrointestinal tract due to digestive diseases such as Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, viral gastroenteritis, and so on may also reduce an individual’s appetite.
As nutrition is an important aspect of healthy living, it is essential to have a good appetite so that you can take a balanced diet.
Therefore, you may consider taking some appetite-stimulating foods and follow creative measures to increase your desire to eat.
General Tips on How to Increase your Appetite
- The most obvious suggestion for improving the appetite is to eat your favorite foods in order to stimulate the appetite. Plus, try new foods. Overindulgence in unhealthy foods, though, is not recommended.
- Opt for snacks that are delicious yet healthy. Milkshakes, muffins, smoothies, sandwiches, peanut butter with crackers, cheese, cottage cheese, dried fruits, cream soups, ice cream with fresh fruits, etc. are considered good in this regard.Apart from taste and smell, the presentation of the food also plays an important role in encouraging one’s desire to eat.
- You may take digestive enzyme supplements support proper digestion and improve the body’s ability to assess food nutrients.
- Include foods rich in folic acid and B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, in your diet. You may take these in inject-able forms as well.
- Try to set a specific time for taking meals. This way, your body and brain get accustomed to a particular routine for mealtime, thereby causing hunger pangs at the times that you have allotted for meals.
- Make sure you take small yet frequent meals (4-5 times in a day) to increase calorie intake. Furthermore, going too long without food eventually reduces hunger. Hence, it is better to have snacks from time to time.
- Include a moderate amount of fiber in your diet when striving to improve a poor appetite. As it is crucial for a healthy diet, do not avoid it yet, do not take too much fiber as it makes you feel fuller.
- Take a walk prior to a meal to stimulate appetite. The idea is, to engage in light to moderate exercise.
- Avoid stress while having meals and eat more when you are hungry. Create a nice atmosphere with soft music and pleasing lighting in the room.
- It has been observed that those who have a poor appetite are usually bothered by strong smells. So, consider munching on cold or room temperature foods.
- Individuals suffering from chronic diseases and disorders can have high-calorie snacks or foods and liquid protein drinks.
- When dealing with zinc deficiency, you may take chelated zinc or zinc supplements.
List of Foods That Help Improve Poor Appetite
• Red Currants
• Red/green mustard
• Alfalfa seeds and sprouts
• Dandelion tea (take about 20 minutes before meals)
• Tender wheatgrass juice
• Herbs and spices like fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, etc.