Foods to open the appetite

All Woman


Dear Donovan,

I recently picked up an upper respiratory tract infection as a result of a prolonged cold. I have lost close to 15 pounds as I have no appetite. What foods can I take to reopen my appetite and how can I sustain the weight loss achieved?

It is a known fact that when you are sick your appetite usually goes. This is even more noticeable with colds and flu. Whenever we are sick there is increased production of chemicals called cytokines in the brain. These chemicals help to reduce the appetite.

Digestion of food, especially heavy meals, takes a great deal of energy. When you are sick, the body will need more energy to fight off illness. Losing your appetite and eating less gives the body the ability to delegate more energy and resources to fight off the virus.

Another side-effect of your upper respiratory tract infection is that it would diminish your sense of smell. There is a strong relationship between taste and smell. Therefore, inability to smell would have prevented you from being able to enjoy the taste of your food, and this no doubt has led to a reduction in your appetite.

In your situation, I am wondering why your cold has persisted for such a long time. Are you stressed, or is your immune system compromised? At this point when you are still sick, do not worry too much about your appetite. The usual thing is that once you get better, your appetite will return with a vengeance. Usually the weight also comes back.

For now, the best things to eat are easily digested meals; for example, soups, salads, fruits, vegetables and vegetable juices. It would be best at this point to remove junk food from your diet. Foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants would also be helpful for your recovery.

I hope you have consulted with your doctor. A cold taking too long to get better is not a good sign. It should be noted that although your appetite is low, you should make sure that you are getting all your required nutrients. Once you have recovered, the appetite should come back. In order to keep off the weight you should refrain from eating as much as you did before you fell ill. You will have to adopt a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise. This is the only way that you will be certain to keep the weight off.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we’ll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years’ experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG’s Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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