Food, which can boost mood, forms one of the major motivations of our life. At the end of the day, all such “runs and jumps” are dedicated towards one basic need – food acquisition. So, if we feel disinterested in taking or relishing food, then we need to give a deeper thought to find out the underlying cause rather than coming out with a “shallow” complaint on our taste buds. We need to understand our taste buds as well. And this is the area where appetite stimulants may prove to be helpful.
Causes of Low Appetite
- Aging: As the age advances the senses of taste and smell are altered and the elderly people easily lose their interest in food.
- Cancer & AIDS: These are severe medical conditions which may lead to suppressed appetite and a handsome weight loss. Even the medicines prescribed in these conditions work towards curbing appetite.
- Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Gastric problems like constipation, diarrhea, excess gas formation, liver problems, Crohn’s disease, IBD and IBS can all lower a person’s appetite.
- Stress: Stress is often related to over eating but it is a proven fact that many people give up eating either completely or partially under stressful situations. Stress decreases their desire and interest towards food. Mood disorders and depression are also linked to low appetite.
- Eating Disorders: Some people deliberately give up on their appetite in order to lose weight or look thin. Low appetite is often related to eating disorders like aneroxia nervosa, a condition, in which a person forms a wrong self image.
- Fever: The tongue loses its taste in fevers and hence the person loses his interest in food.
- Medications: Certain medications like digoxin, fluoxetine, hydralazine and quinidine can suppress appetite in a person.
Types of Appetite Stimulants
- Natural Appetite Stimulants: Natural appetite stimulants include foods like peppermint leaves, ginger, tomato, papaya leaves, saw palmetto berries, gotu kola, ginseng, catnip, fennel seeds and brewer’s yeast.
- Vitamins and Vitamin Supplements: Vitamin or supplements that stimulate appetite include zinc, vitamin B, vitamin E and coenzyme A. These vitamins are derived exclusively from food sources and contain minimum or no synthetic elements. These are thus termed as natural stimulants. Corn, liver, soya, yeast, alfalfa and rose hips are some of the usual sources from which natural appetite stimulants are extracted.
- Herbal Appetite Stimulants: Certain herbal appetite stimulants include herbs like dandelion, devil’s claw, blessed thistle, ginseng and turmeric.
- Synthetic Appetite Stimulants: These vitamins or supplements are synthetically prepared in the laboratory. Though these substances perform the same functions as their natural counterparts, some people do not feel comfortable with them and may develop allergies or gastro problems.
When we recovered from fever or illness during our childhood, our mothers used to perform the role of “human appetite stimulants”. With their loving and tender care, we seemed to experience a true recovery from our past conditions. And now that we are adult and independent, we need to give more importance to the knowledge about appetite stimulants for ourselves and our children. Responsibility – that we cannot afford to escape.