There are multiple reasons for the loss of appetite. Some are insignificant, like a passing cold, but a few can indicate the onset of an serious medical condition. A low appetite is not just linked to physical conditions, but also due to an emotional state. It is important to deal with such a disorder promptly as it can lower the body’s defence mechanism and make it susceptible to infections. Low appetite causes:
Nausea or constipation
Sores in the mouth
Lack of physical activity
Excessive alcohol intake
Pain in the body
Pulse rate alteration
Other conditions generally found in women: Pregnancy: the first few months of pregnancy involves rapid changes in the body. Nausea and vomiting may even be triggered simply by the smell of food. Anorexia Nervosa: Symptoms include loss of appetite, intended self-starvation, controlling hunger, excessive physical exercise, cold intolerance, loss of scalp hair and irregular menstrual periods.
: Over-production of the thyroid hormone causes this condition. Symptoms include low appetite, concentration difficulty, fatigue, frequent bowel movements, goitre, heat intolerance, increased sweating, irregular menses, nervousness, restlessness and weight loss.
: Anxiety, depression, and mental stress can repel a person away from consumption of food. At times, loss of appetite can be an early symptom of something serious, such as stomach, kidney, and liver or pancreatic cancer. Regularising hunger:
Add swimming, walking or cardiovascular exercises to your routine to improve digestion, reduce constipation and induce hunger.
Have fruit juices, soya, milkshakes and smoothies.
Prepare a paste by mixing gooseberry (amla) and honey together. Take 1 tbsp of the paste half an hour before meals.
Roast a raw mango and put it in cold water. Squeeze out the juice and add water. Add rock salt, cumin seeds, honey and mint leaves.
Take equal quantities of ajwain, cumin seeds, ginger and asafoetida. Add rock salt. Grind them together to form a powder. Mix with butter milk and have it an hour before the meals.
Pomegranate juice with honey and salt.
Take a liver tonic. It will improve your appetite. Herbs like sunthi, chitrak, draksh and trikatu also help in improving appetite. Don’t ignore symptoms.
In case the symptoms persist, do not ignore them. Consult your physician, who will determine their cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre