Anorexia is a condition that is associated with a terrible fear of gaining weight, which causes the affected person to become extremely thin. Even though the affected individual might actually be under-weight, they feel that they are overweight and this causes them to starve themselves. This condition causes the affected people to be very worried about the food they consume and their bodyweight. Anorexia is a condition that usually affects more girls than boys. Anorexia is mostly known to develop in the teenage years of an individual. It is extremely important to treat the condition in its early stages. This is due to the fact that when the condition progresses, it can lead to the development of other health disorders such as osteoporosis, heart disease, kidney problems and even death, in certain severe cases. Research surveys indicate that around 5 to 20 per cent of the affected individuals die, if the condition is not treated on time. However, it is important to note that treating this condition can help the person to attain a healthy body weight. After that, the person can follow a proper diet in the future.
Symptoms of Anorexia
Extreme weight loss is the primary symptom that is associated with this condition. The affected individual might also suffer from insomnia, which makes it difficult to get sleep. Dehydration and low blood pressure are also common symptoms that are associated with this condition. Loss of appetite is a major behavioural symptom that is associated with anorexia and is caused by the fear of gaining weight.
Causes of Anorexia
Eating disorders such as anorexia are consideredcomplex in nature.Most health experts do not know the exact cause of these conditions. However, several factorsare known to play a key role in the development of this condition. Genetics are known to play a crucial role in the development of anorexia. Those individuals who have a family history of eating disorders are more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than others who have no such family history. Excessive strain on the body due to work or sports may cause the person to become weak, thereby resulting in the development of this condition. Personality traits such as perfectionism are also known to cause the person to want to become extremely thin, thereby resulting in anorexia. In some cases, stressful life events are also known to contribute to the development of this condition.
Home Remedies for Anorexia
Gentian is an excellent herb that is found mostly in Europe and is used to treat digestive conditions, poor appetite as well as anorexia. The dried root of this herb in used in making herbal medicine for treating these conditions. This herb is known to possess secoiridoids, which are bitter chemicals that help in boosting the appetite by causing the body to produce saliva, bile and gastric acids. You can consume gentian in the form of a tablet, tea or tincture. It is recommended that you seek advice from your doctor regarding the correct dosage of this herb.
Blessed thistle is a very popular herb that is used in order to stimulate appetite in those who suffer from anorexia. The aerial parts as well as the seeds of this herb possess a compound named cnicin, which is very helpful in stimulating the production of bile and gastric juices. It is also very beneficial in boosting the appetite of the affected person. Health experts recommend the consumption of this herb in the form of a tea or tincture in order to treat anorexia effectively.
Centaury is a popular herb that is a part of the gentian family and is grown all around the world. The aerial parts of this herb are used in order to stimulate the production of gastric juices and to increase the appetite. In the book Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practise of Herbal Medicine, author and clinical expert David Hoffman highly recommends the consumption of centaury tea or tincture for treating anorexia that is associated with weakness of the liver. For treating anorexia, this herb is usually used in combination with other herbs such as chamomile and burdock root.
Wormwood is antraditional remedy for treating loss of appetite as well as stomach problems. Herbalists highly recommend the use of this herb as it boosting the functioning of the digestive system, thereby increasing the appetite of the affected person. It is important that you consult your doctor regarding the dosage of this herb as it contains thujone, which is considered to be toxic, when consumed in high amounts.
Lemon balm is a useful herb that is native to Europe and has been used extensively in order to treat a host of health ailments. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that lemon balm is an excellent herb that has proven to be effective in boosting the appetite since the middle ages. It is available in the form of herbal tea, extracts, capsules and oil. Health experts have stated that there are no major side effects associated with consuming this herb in the recommended dosage.
Yarrow is an effective herb that has been used extensively in European folk medicine. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that this herb is effective in boosting the appetite and can be consumed as a tea or in the form of capsules as well as liquid extracts. If you are allergic to daisies, chrysanthemums or ragweed, it is highly recommended that you avoid using this herb as it can trigger an allergic reaction in your body.
Cayenne pepper is a popular remedy that is considered to be beneficial in the treatment of anorexia. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that this herb has been used extensively in Japanese, Chinese, Ayurvedic and Korean medicine as it helps in boosting the appetite. You can consume this herb in the form of a capsule or tablet. The recommended dosage of this herb is 30 to 120 mg three to four times each day.
Horehound tea is considered to be effective in the treatment of anorexia as it increases the appetite. Health experts recommend consuming horehound tea before meals as this helps to boost the appetite. Horehound is known to possess an active ingredient called marrubiin. The University of Michigan states that the bitter taste of marrubiin is helpful in boosting the functioning of the salivary glands. It also helps to increase the production of stomach acids, which play a crucial role in boosting the appetite. It is recommended that you consume this tea around 10-15 minutes before meals to stimulate the appetite.
Devil's claw is a popular herb that is used extensively to treat a host of health ailments. The dried root of this herb is helpful in treating arthritis effectively. Devil's claw is also helpful in treating anorexia by boosting the appetite, as it possesses a bitter taste that triggers the hunger response. The University of Maryland Medical Centre states that this herb is effective in increasing appetite, but itis only meant for short-term use. There is no research evidence to prove the benefits of long-term usage. Those who suffer from digestive conditions such as stomach ulcers should avoid consuming this herb as it can worsen these problems.
Papaya leaves are considered to be beneficial in treating anorexia as they boost the appetite. Papaya leaves are known to be helpful in boosting the production of saliva and digestive juices, thereby increasing appetite. Papaya leaves are also considered to be beneficial in treating and preventing heartburn as well.
Other Home Remedies for Anorexia
- Consume two to three oranges each day to increase appetite, if you suffer from anorexia.
- Apples are effective in treating anorexia as they help in boosting the appetite. Consume an apple a day.
- Garlic is considered effective in boosting the appetite and stimulating the digestive system. You can add chopped garlic to salads, curries and soups to avail of these benefits. Besides this, garlic also adds good flavour to the food.
- Consume raw tomatoes in the form of a salad as it helps to boost the appetite of the patient.
- Cloves are considered helpful in treating anorexia by boosting the appetite. Prepare a tea from two to three cloves and add some lime juice to it before consumption.
- Eat a small piece of ginger with 5-7 drops of lemon juice. Take this remedy on an empty stomach for at least two weeks.
- Add some cayenne pepper to your food, as it will help in increasing your appetite.
Diet Plan for Anorexia
Eat Skinless Chicken
Many individuals who suffer from anorexia fear eating non-vegetarian dishes as they think it contains a high amount of fat as well as calories. However, skinless chicken is an excellent food for those who suffer from anorexia as it contains a high amount of protein. Consuming high amounts of protein is necessary to promote the growth of muscle tissue. Skinless chicken should be an essential part of your diet as it is of great importance in rebuilding muscle tissue. Other non-vegetarian food sources of protein include beef, mutton, tuna and sardines. However, it is important that you avoid consuming meat with high amounts of fat as it can result in indigestion.
Calcium is a vital nutrient, which is required by the body to keep the bones and teeth strong. Health expert Lesli J.Flavor states that a diet deficient in this nutrient will lead to the occurrence of brittle bones. It is important to note that most of those who suffer from anorexia do not consume enough calcium in their diet. Consuming enough milk will help in increasing the amount of calcium in the diet and this will help to keep the bones strong and healthy. Whole milk contains enough fats and calories required by those who suffer from anorexia and this is helpful in combatting weight loss. If the individual is unable to consume whole milk, there are other food sources of calcium and they include yogurt, cheese and skimmed milk.
Increase the calories slowly and steadily
Calories are known to play a crucial role when recovering from anorexia. The American Dietetic Association states that starvation is known to alter the metabolism of the body dramatically, thereby increasing the daily requirement of calories for an anorexic to around 5000 calories. It is very tempting to increase the amount of calories dramatically. However, it is important to note that doing so might result in the development of a condition known as refeeding syndrome, which is associated with cardiac arrhythmia, hormonal imbalance and even death. To prevent the occurrence of refeeding syndrome, it is highly recommended that you start your diet with around 1300 calories and slowly increase the amount of calories by around 100-150 calories. Nutrition experts highly recommend the consumption of nutrition-dense foods that are low in fibre. This is because fibre keeps you full, thereby preventing you from eating much food in your diet. You should add potatoes, avocados, olive oil and nuts to your diet as they contain a high amount of protein, carbohydrates and good fats.
Anorexia can be easily be prevented by making certain changes to your lifestyle. It is extremely important to follow a healthy diet containing a high amount of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. Incorporate light-intensity cardio exercises in your routine to keep your muscles flexible and strong. Surround yourself with those individuals who will help you to remain motivated to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Other Treatment Options
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine might prove to be beneficial in increasing your appetite. Thiamine is known to be helpful in metabolizing carbohydrates. The daily recommended intake of this vitamin is 1 mg for adults, but those adults who are deficient in this vitamin can consume around 5-30 mg each day for as long as one month. There are several foods that contain a good amount of vitamin B1. These include brown rice, peas, lentils, wheat germ and pecans. Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is consideredhelpful in boosting the appetite, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre. Foods that contain high amounts of folic acid include spinach, asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens. You could also consume a supplement that contains folic acid to meet your daily needs. Orange juice is also consideredan excellent source of vitamin B9 as well.