A loss of appetite may be a sign of poor health – mentally, physically and emotionally. Chronic weight loss, weakness and fatigue are dangerous and often result in malnutrition. This pyramids into a multitude of other complications leading the sufferer on a downward spiral of poor health. Often this is seen in the elderly, but can just as easily be symptomatic of disorders of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas. A problem with any of these vital organs will result in a lack of digestive enzymes. Consult your physician to be tested for disorders that may promote the condition.
Prolonged appetite loss leads to nutritional deficiencies in essential vitamins such as C, A and E; often the absorption of these vitamins is also poor, even when taken in through diet. If the sufferer begins to notice a lack of smell or taste, this could be a deficiency in zinc, which will also decrease appetite. Those on medication or birth control pills may suffer from a folic-acid deficiency.
Dry-skin brushing may help to stimulate the appetite when used on the abdominal region. Purchase a natural–not nylon–bristle brush, and use on the stomach area; this will activate the gastric juices and release through the skin histamine that will help stimulate appetite.
Warm compresses, alternated with cool compresses on the liver and abdominal region may soothe and help stimulate appetite. Try using a cold ice bag over the stomach region 30 minutes before meals to help stimulate hunger and cool hip baths once or twice daily. These methods are often used to help aid those suffering from anorexia.
Blessed thistle is a herb used to help with women’s disorders such as menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms, also excellent for aiding appetite and stimulating the flow of bile in the liver. Calumba is a bitter herb that helps with digestion as does the herb cardamom. Golden root, juice from coriander leaves, and roasted ground caraway seeds may also help aid appetite. Garlic is also professed to enhance the desire for food, as is ginger.
A glass of port wine is an old remedy for stimulating appetite in the elderly; drink slowly before meals. Culantro (often mistaken for cilantro) is a traditional herb used for stomach issues and diarrhea and is often eaten to stimulate digestion. The fresh leaves are made into chutney and eaten daily.
Exercise may lead to a temporary loss of appetite, especially aerobic exercise which increases a blood protein that lessens hunger. You may find a return of your appetite several hours later, but be sure to monitor whether your appetite is affected adversely by aerobic exercise.
A recent University of Florida study found exercising in cold water may increase appetite. The study of college students found caloric intake after exercising in cold water was 44 percent higher than exercise in warm water and 41 percent higher than during resting periods. Keep body temperatures cool when exercising to help stimulate your appetite.
By: Kari Farmer
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