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Poor Appetite

What is an appetite?

Appetite is the desire to eat food, in contrast to hunger which is a physical need for food. There is no such thing as a 'normal' appetite since each person's age, build, metabolism, daily activities, eating habits and attitude to food and stage of life influence appetite. A 'large' appetite is normal during certain stages of life, as in pregnancy or a child's peak growth periods. A poor appetite is not a disorder in itself, but usually a symptom of some other problem.

View appetite products

What can cause a diminished appetite?

Emotional factors such as depression, illness, stress, and trauma may cause a person's appetite to diminish noticeably.

Certain controllable factors, such as the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, can result in poor appetite. An undetected underlying illness, heavy metal poisoning, and/or nutritional deficiencies may also be involved.

Appetite is abnormally reduced in Anorexia nervosa and abnormally increased in Bulimia.

Nutritional and Herbal support for a poor appetite includes...

Cellfood - the worlds most powerful oxygen producing product. Cellfood supplies your body with a diet of oxygen, 78 ionic colloidal trace minerals & 34 enzymes all at once. Improves quality of cells and thus quality of health.

Multipower - A high potency multivitamin, containing a whole food base.

Zinc - For proper functioning of the stomach and gastric acid production.

Dandelion - Stimulates digestion, helps with better nutrient absorption.

Spirulina - High in naturally occurring nutrients, including protein, essential fatty acids, and iron.

Bitters - Gentian, Dandelion, and Artichoke are all bitter appetite stimulants, appropriate to have 20-30 minutes before a meal. This may help to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.

Some interesting points on a poor appetite...

Eat a high protein diet and a moderate amount of essential fatty acids.

Eat small quantities of food at frequent intervals, containing a fair amount of protein.

Stimulate your appetite with the following herbs: Gentian; Catnip; Ginger root; Gotu kola; Papaya leaves; Peppermint leaves and Fennel seed.

Do not drink liquids before or during meals.

Include moderate exercise, walking or cycling etc.

If you have a poor appetite, ensure you do not snack between meals. Avoid sugary foods as these fill you up and will give you a false sense of fullness.

Do not smoke - smoking acts as an appetite suppressant.

Lemon juice in water first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start your digestive system for the day. ½ a lemon squeezed into ½ a glass of water is ideal.

Please note: See your health professional if you experience a significant loss of appetite, as this may be caused by an underlying physical problem.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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