The official blog of the Lung Institute.
When you live with a chronic health condition, such as chronic lung disease, everyday activities can feel challenging to perform. In addition to coughing and shortness of breath, fatigue is a common symptom of lung disease. Many people also experience a decrease in appetite, which can lead to unintended weight loss. To help you make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, we’ve done some research about how to improve appetite.
What is a loss of appetite?
For many people, when they feel fatigued, they don’t feel like eating. Also, when people don’t eat enough, they experience more fatigue. A loss of appetite can be caused from a side effect of a medication, medical treatments and various illnesses. While this isn’t a complete list, here are some of the chronic conditions that can cause loss of appetite:
- Chronic Pain
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
How can I improve my appetite?
If you’re experiencing a loss of appetite, it’s important to tell your doctor. Your doctor will have tips to help you regain your appetite, and he or she might recommend talking to a dietitian. It’s typically recommended to eat several small meals a day and more high-calorie, protein-rich foods. For some people, liquid protein drinks, such as Ensure or Boost, may be beneficial.
Eat foods that look good to you and are healthy choices. Try cooking food in a variety of ways so that your food entices all of your senses. Find a comfortable place to eat, avoiding noisy and stressful situations.
Sometimes having anxiety or depression can cause appetite loss. It’s normal to feel anxious, afraid and depressed, especially when you’re coping with having a chronic lung disease. Consider joining a support group or seeking counseling to talk about ways to reduce anxiety and worry. When you’re feeling better emotionally, you may find that your appetite increases.
Talk to your doctor about appetite stimulating herbs, such as catnip, cinnamon, fennel seed, cardamom ginger, peppermint, lemon balm and dandelion. Light exercise, such as walking, Tai Chi or gentle yoga, can stimulate hunger without exacerbating medical conditions. Exercise also helps you absorb the nutrients you need from food.
What are some appetite boosting foods?
Some people have found that consuming almond milk, a mixture of fresh ginger, lemon juice and salt as well as fruit smoothies can increase appetite. Eating snacks throughout the day can keep your metabolism stabilized, helping you feel hungrier. Eat snacks such as peanuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit and vegetables. Strong flavors in fruits tend to stimulate appetite as well. Look for fruits like red currants, apricots, peaches, figs and dates.
However, for some people, bland flavor taste better to them, so it’s important to make the best choices for you. If bland foods are what you prefer to eat, try eating lean meats like baked chicken with herbs with steamed vegetables.
What else can I do to feel better?
Because living with a chronic lung disease can be draining and cause a loss of appetite, learning how to improve appetite is one way to help you start feeling better. In combination with these tips and your current treatment plan, many people have found stem cell therapy beneficial in improving both their lung health and overall quality of life. If you or a loved one has a chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment at the Lung Institute, feel free to contact us today at (800) 729-3065.