Be it a kid or an adult, eating a nutritious and wholesome diet is key to staying fit and healthy. But this can get tricky if your appetite keeps declining and you lose interest in eating.
Appetite is influenced by many reasons ranging from mood and emotions to mental and physical health. While minor fluctuations in appetite are natural and normal, a constant decline in appetite could be a sign of an underlying issue.
If you have been having trouble eating well, here is how to increase appetite for a healthier and happier life.
8 Possible Causes Of Low Appetite
Before we come to how to increase appetite, let’s take a look at a few reasons why people may experience a loss of appetite. Some of the key causes are:
- Infections: Bacterial, viral and fungal infections like the common flu and cold, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and colitis can often suppress your appetite.
- Medication: Loss of appetite is a common side effect of certain medications.
- Age: A decline in appetite can also be due to advancing age.
- Pregnancy: As your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, it is common to experience appetite loss during this period.
- Ailments: Certain ailments like hypothyroidism, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, cancer etc. can also lead to drastic changes in appetite.
- Diet: Your appetite is also affected by what and how often you eat.
- Emotional Distress Or Depression: People often feel sad, hopeless, worthless and low on energy when they are going through emotional distress or suffering from depression. As a result, they can lose interest in cooking or eating food which can reduce their appetite. Certain anti-depressants are also responsible for appetite loss.
- Anxiety: Anxiety can sometimes result in decreased appetite. When you feel anxious, your body releases stress hormones and these hormones help to activate the survival mode of your body. The stress response can affect your stomach and digestive tract, leading to loss of appetite or no appetite.
9 Ways To Improve Appetite In Kids & Adults
While a decline in appetite can be a cause of concern, it is quite possible to improve your appetite in a few simple steps. Here is what you need to know about how to increase appetite.
1. Never Skip Breakfast
Don’t skip your breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day. It improves your energy level by replenishing the supply of glucose. It also increases the appetite and boosts metabolism, keeping you attentive throughout the day.
2. Indulge In Healthy Snacking
Here’s another effective tip on how to gain appetite fast. Don’t just eat three big meals. Instead, try to have frequent small meals and include healthy snacks. Eating small meals at regular intervals promotes healthy digestion, which aids in improving the appetite.
3. Consume Iron & Zinc-Rich Foods
Another way on how to improve appetite is by increasing your iron and zinc intake. Iron is an extremely important essential element and its deficiency causes anaemia, which can be responsible for the lack of appetite. Kids and infants are prone to become anaemic. That’s why it is important to keep a check on their iron levels and include iron-rich foods like spinach, eggs, raisins, and beans in their diet.
Zinc is another important mineral that boosts immunity and plays a major role in growth and development. Infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women are at a greater risk of zinc deficiency and one of the most common symptoms of zinc deficiency is loss of appetite. Include zinc-rich foods like red meat, seafood, legumes, seeds, and nuts in your diet.
4. Include Spices & Herbs
Herbs and spices like cinnamon, fennel, coriander and ginger promote better digestion and are a great solution for how to gain appetite fast. Besides, herbs and spices can make your food tastier so that there are no frowny faces during mealtime!
5. Schedule Mealtime
If you are wondering how to increase appetite in adults, here’s what you can do. Try to eat on a regular schedule to balance your daily nutritional requirements. Also to make sure that you do not skip any meals if you are suffering from a loss of appetite. Skipping meals will only intensify the problem.
6. Physical Activity
Move more and exercise regularly or try to include any physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity can help regulate your appetite level. If your kid is experiencing reduced appetite, increase their playtime.
7. Eat Your Favourite Food
Liking the food you are eating is an important part of how to increase your appetite, especially when you don’t feel like eating during mealtimes. To get your appetite going, incorporate food you enjoy.
8. Make Mealtimes Fun
For encouraging healthy food intake among children, it is vital to ensure that mealtimes are not stressful. For instance, do not bribe or threaten your children to get them to finish their food. If possible, eat as a family. Get rid of distractions like toys, TV or mobile phones and use this time for some family bonding and fun conversations.
9. Follow A Schedule
Wondering how to increase a toddler’s appetite? Here‘s how. Start by making a proper eating schedule for your kid and avoid letting them eat wherever and whenever. Make sure your child is indulging in enough physical activities that’ll help him/her burn calories and increase hunger. Try out new foods and recipes that you think your toddler will enjoy. Offer your kid water well before mealtime. Having water along with meals may cause them to eat less. That’s how to increase a toddler’s appetite.
4 Tips To Increase Hunger
Increasing your hunger will have a direct impact on improving your appetite. Here are a few simple solutions to the question ‘how to increase hunger?’
- Enjoyable Mealtime: To make your mealtime enjoyable, try to create a happy and relaxed atmosphere which will also help you relax and eat better.
- Replace Some Of Your Meals With Nutritious Drinks: Another way to increase your hunger is to incorporate smoothies, milkshakes and juices into your diet. Use your favourite ingredients to make these healthy and nourishing beverages.
- Limit Fibre Intake: If you want to increase your appetite, try to eat less fibre. Foods that are high in fibre can keep you feeling full for longer and can slow down the digestion process.
- Get Proper Rest: Rest and proper sleep also play a part in how to increase appetite in adults. Stress adversely affects the digestive system and causes appetite loss.
When To Consult A Doctor?
If you are still at a loss regarding how to increase your appetite, it might be time to take some professional advice. Consult your doctor if:
- Loss of appetite persists for a long time
- Losing weight rapidly without any apparent reason
- Experiencing stomach ache, fever, vomiting along with appetite loss
- Experiencing appetite loss after starting a new medication
These simple tips for how to improve appetite can help you eat better and stay fit. Short term appetite loss may result from minor illness, stress or change in routine. It is not really a cause of concern and can be fixed with the right diet and schedule. However, you need to #BeALittleMore vigilant when it comes to your health and appetite. If your appetite continues to decline despite all your efforts, consult your healthcare specialist right away!
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