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A good appetite neither overbearing nor meagre is a sign of health. Nevertheless, poor appetite is not necessarily cause for concern, since even the slightest physical and emotional problems can affect appetite. Other symptoms are bloating, indigestion, constipation, nausea or pain. However when appetite loss continues, or is accompanied by weight loss the cause should be investigated further to rule out more serious illnesses.
Poor appetite has a multitude of causes, but the most likely cause lies in the digestive tract and nearby organs. Almost every stomach and intestinal problem will disturb appetite, including constipation, diarrohea, indigestion and ulcers. Disorders of the gall bladder, pancreas and liver can be a source of slow digestion from a lack of enzymes, and this in turn can cause appetite loss. Strong emotions such as grief, depression and stress or anxiety affect appetite. Bad eating habits also contribute. Common problems are snacking on sweets and soft drinks between meals, and eating large, heavy meals containing saturated fats. Deep fried food is particularly hard to digest. In contrast small meals rich in vegetables and fruit are easy to digest and taste good. Appealing taste is vital for a healthy appetite, for those who suffer from an inability to taste and smell properly, such as the elderly and the chronically ill, extra seasoning may be necessary. Many types of medications cause nausea, constipation and other stomach problems, and insufficient nutrients and alcoholism are other problems that affect appetite.
Eat small, frequent meals rather than one or two heavy meals, to encourage appetite and promote digestion. Tangy colourful fruits such as apricots, peaches or red currants stimulate the appetite. Fresh blueberries with milk are wonderfully refreshing and revitalizing and are tolerated by even the weakest stomach. Lemon juice with water is a very refreshing and appetite stimulating drink. Pineapple juice is also a good choice of drink to precede a meal. In addition to stimulating the appetite and providing vitamin C, pineapple contains an enzyme which facilitates digestion by breaking down proteins similarly to stomach acids. The herbs fennel and dill are known for their positive effect on appetite and should be used liberally in seasoning dishes. To promote weight gain and regeneration of the body, snacks between meals should provide proteins, the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3. some examples are avocados, banana custard pudding, buttermilk, nuts and nut butters, tuna and chicken.
When combating appetite loss over long periods the body must keep up its strength and weight. A vitamin B Complex can be taken instead of or in conjunction with, the yeast. A nutritional deficiency in vitamins A C and E can also cause poor appetite and a troubled digestion. The elderly are most vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies, especially if fruits and vegetables are not adequate in the diet. If Zinc is lacking smell and taste will be affected. Medications including the contraceptive pill cause zinc and folic acid deficiencies.
Daily dosages with meals.
Most important; Vitamin B complex, 50mg one to three times daily.
Alfalfa, 1tbsp of powder 3 times daily.
Vitamin C 1,000mg three times a day.
Zinc, 20mg three times a day until appetite returns.
Vitamin A (avoid during pregnancy)
Vitamin E 400-800iu
Take 1 tbsp of Dandelion, wormwood or yarrow juice in water fifteen minutes before meals.
Sweedish Bitters are an old proven combination of bitter herbs that stimulate bile flow and aid digestion. Take 1 tsp before and after meals.
If appetite loss is emotional or stress related, sip fennel, chamomile, fenugreek, lemon balm or peppermint tea through the day.
Remember that large portions can make eating frustrating for someone who is not hungry. Preparing small, nutritious meals more often, and providing an environment that is enjoyable to eat.
Drinking during a meal can hinder digestion as well as appetite. Wait until some time after the meal.
Vigorous exercise like walking, swimming and biking can stimulate the appetite.
Sugary snacks, coffee and cigarettes should be avoided as much as possible, since they all suppress appetite.