A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Appetite Loss ( Anorexia )
A sign of good health is the presence of a healthy appetite-a good appetite will be neither over powering nor very mild in the way it affects the person. The fact is that even the slightest physical or emotional problems can affect the appetite of a person, and for this reason the presence of a poor appetite may not necessarily be a major health concern. Appetite problems can come in different ways and some other physical symptoms of a malfunctioning appetite include the presence of abdominal bloating, persistent indigestion and constipation - sensations of nausea or pain can also be felt if the appetite is affected in some cases. The cause of the drop in appetite will brook further investigation when the sudden or gradual appetite loss comes along with any kind of weight loss - a medical examination becomes important in such cases as it could be a signal for the presence of some other serious disorder - a poor appetite can then be a symptom for an underlying condition.
The most likely origin of a poor appetite may usually be traced to problems with the digestive tract or with the nearby organs in the stomach, as a rule poor appetite or loss of hunger usually has a multitude of causes and origins. Poor appetite usually results because of the presence of almost any stomach or intestinal problem; all such intestinal problems tend to disturb appetite. Thus conditions such as constipation, stomach problems and diarrhea, the presence of even slight indigestion and the development of ulcers will cause changes in the appetite depending on the severity of the condition. A loss of appetite can also be caused by the presence of some disorders in the vital organs such as the gall-bladder, the pancreas and the liver-a problem with any of these organs will lead to a slowing down in the digestive process due to a lack of proper digestive enzymes. Appetite loss can also result due the presence of some strong emotional triggers such as intense grief, persistent depression and the presence of attendant stress or anxiety in the person. Stomach upsets can be brought about by even the mildest emotional distresses-such problems can easily overcome hearty appetite in a person vulnerable to such problems.
Loss of appetite is also helped along by bad or improper eating habits displayed by the person. Some causes of appetite loss in a person include eating sweets and drinking soft drinks between meals, the consumption of large and heavy meals which are rich in saturated fats at odd times. The stomach finds it very hard to digest all types of deep-fried foods especially when they are eaten in large amounts. At the same time, the digestive system finds it very easy to deal with small meals which are rich in foods like the vegetables and fruits-these also taste good and promote the health of the person. To promote a hearty appetite, it is important that the food consumed tastes good-this is a vital factor to promote hearty appetites. Particularly so in people who suffer from an inability to smell and taste properly at all times-such individuals include the elderly and people who are chronically ill, the food of such individuals may require extra seasoning to enable the person to eat food. Loss of appetite can also result because of the use of certain types of medications-these drugs can induce nausea, persistent constipation and other associated stomach problems-all of which impinge on the appetite. Loss of appetite is also due to the consumption of insufficient nutrients and because of problems such as alcoholism in the person.
A biological purpose is usually served by the loss of appetite. For example, when the body is reacting to an infection which has caused fever, then all of the body's energy may be placed into the buffering of its defense mechanisms and the consumption of nutrients at such as stage may become completely irrelevant for the body. Fasting and putting off eating can help during some cases of digestive problems-in such cases, an empty stomach will allow healing to take place at a faster rate and normalcy is restored rapidly.
Supplements and herbs
The body must maintain its strength and weight even when it is combating the loss of appetite, and especially when this happens over long periods of time. Yeast is an excellent nutritional supplement in such cases, especially when it is taken along with the vitamin B complex in a combined supplemental therapy. Appetite can also be stimulated by many of the so called green foods, in particular the alfalfa, is a very nourishing herbal stimulant. The use of sprouted alfalfa is suggested, add these in the salad taken with the meals-alternately the alfalfa which is available in the form of capsules and powders can also be used to treat appetite loss.
Poor digestion and impaired appetite can also result due to the presence of a nutritional deficiency in the essential vitamins A, C or E – especially when the absorption of these essential nutrients from the diet is poor. Nutritional deficiencies tend to affect the elderly the most, this is particularly true if such individuals lack enough fruits and vegetables in the regular dietary regimen. Smell and taste can also be affected by the lack of the essential mineral zinc in the diet-such a loss of smell and taste will directly affect the appetite of person. The deficiencies in the mineral zinc and the folic acid can be brought about if the person uses certain medications on a regular basis-the contraceptive pill has been known to bring such deficiencies in women.
Appetite can be easily stimulated by herbal bitter juices, these must be consumed half an hour before eating meals, and these herbal remedies are particularly effective in stimulating the appetite in those suffering from a chronic loss of appetite. All of the herbs or herbal remedies can be used in the form herbal teas or in the form of diluted tinctures, the use of these remedies will also depend on the personal preference and the availability of the herb-all of these herbs are suggested for use in treating loss of appetite or impairment of appetite in a person. Some factors to consider while using these herbs is that the herbal juices tend to be milder in their effects - on the other hand the herbal tinctures may not be as gentle on the stomach and intestines of the person using them. The use of freshly pressed herbal juices is especially suggested for people who are undernourished, these juices contain all the vitamins and minerals needed by the affected individual and are safe for long term use by the person.
Dosage of these herbal remedies can be a tbsp. of herbal juices of herbs such as the dandelion, the wormwood, the hyssop or the yarrow – this juice can be mixed in some water and should be taken at least fifteen minutes before the consumption of a meal. Appetite is also aided by the herbs known as the Swedish bitters, the use of these herbs is an old proven combination used traditionally for improving appetite. At the same time these bitter herbs stimulate the flow of bile and aid in the digestion of food. Dosage of these bitter herbs can be a single tsp. taken before and following meals every day during the treatment period. Appetite is also stimulated by the green and leafy herbs, particularly the alfalfa, these highly nourishing herbs boost appetite and are also helpful in other ways due to their fiber content. Dosage of this herb can be a single tbsp. of the fresh juice taken once before breakfast and once after lunch. Stress induced appetite loss or poor appetite due to emotional problems can be aided by taking herbs such as the juices of the fennel, the chamomile, the fenugreek, the lemon balm or the peppermint - continuously sip some herbal tea made from these herbs during the course of a day. A very soothing effect on the stomach is induced by the use of these herbs, they can be taken singly or they can be used in an herbal combination - the herbs will also boost appetite at the same time. Dosage of these herbs can be a single tsp. of the herbs for each cup of boiling water - steep the herbs in the water, strain and drink it slowly.
Commonly used essential oils for appetite loss:
Additional things you may do
A very simple and beneficial topical treatment is the act of dry skin-brushing the abdominal region of the affected person. The release of stomach juices and the production of digestive acids are stimulated by the compound known as histamine, which is produced in the skin-this supplement can be taken to improve appetite. The use of warm and moist compresses in the Kneipp water therapy carried out along the abdominal area and along the liver area will prove to be of immense benefit for a person suffering from loss of appetite. The appetite can also be stimulated by regular sessions of vigorous physical exercise such as walking, swimming and biking-especially if these are done out of doors. Emotionally induce appetite loss can be corrected by treating the emotional aspects or stresses felt by the person - it is advised that such a person may possibly benefit from a temporary change in the living environment or in the location, this will enable him or her to take his or her mind off the problems and appetite may return.
Other beneficial herbs