Be Well

Flourish: Have you lost your appetite?

6/29/2022

Did you know that between 15% and 30% of older adults experience a decrease in appetite? The impacts of this are associated with worse health outcomes and an increased risk of dying. Source: National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine

Seven tips to boost your appetite

Many people experience a loss of appetite. Several factors could be contributing to a decrease in the desire to eat — from dental or sinus issues, side effects of medication or being a smoker — to loneliness, a loss of taste and smell, effects of COVID-19 or conditions that affect the central nervous system. A loss of appetite is concerning because when you eat less than your body needs, you could become malnourished and vitamin-deficient. You could also lose strength, weight and the ability to stay independent.

 Some tips to help make meal-time more enjoyable:  

  • Plan out your meals. Consider preparing a few dishes at a time and freeze them in individual portions. 
  • Add flavor to your dishes. Try different spices or herbs or add a tropical twist (lemon, mango or coconut).
  • If you live alone, aim to eat at least one meal per week with someone else. 
  • Make your meals an occasion: sit down at a table, use pretty dishes and listen to music. 
  • Make sure you’re eating nutrient-rich meals; not necessarily larger portions.
  • Try eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones.
  • If you don’t like to cook or don’t have the skills, consider using a meal delivery program.

As always, talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your appetite or if you experience new or different symptoms.Source: Stanford Health Care

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