Home Remedies for Anorexia Nervosa
Even in countries with no shortage of food, a few individuals will voluntarily suffer from severe famine. Anorexia nervosa, a serious psychiatric disorder, leads its victims into trying desperately to rid their bodies of imaginary reserves of excess fat. This complex mental illness appears most often in younger females, who tend to struggle with their body self-images.
Victims of anorexia will induce vomiting, abuse laxatives, drive themselves into excessive exercise and eat so little food that severe nutritional deficiencies develop. Even after reaching advanced states of starvation, victims will still see themselves as being fat. Overall psychological and social well-being may be severely retarded by this obsession with weight. The illness, which potentially can even result in death, is frightening for the families of the victims. While it is possible to recover from anorexia, the recovery process may be lengthy and difficult.
Simple Appetite Aids
Mint juice: The slow appetite of a starveling victim of anorexia may be whetted by serving 1 or 2 tablespoons of mint juice each morning.
Orange: Regular intake of oranges may improve the digestion and appetite by stimulating the digestive juices. Taking 1 or 2 oranges a day is sufficient.
Lemon and ginger juice: The desire for food may be increased by serving a mixture of equal parts of lemon juice and ginger juice just before daily meals.
Garlic: A few pieces of garlic may stimulate the digestive tone and improve appetite. It can be taken with a glass of buttermilk twice a day.
Carom seeds or Ajwain (Trachyspermum copticum): Another appetite enhancer. It is good to develop the habit of swallowing 1 teaspoon of carom seeds 4 times daily, dry or with water.
Asafoetida or Hing (Ferula assafoetida): Appetite may also be urged to normalcy by preceding meals with a small preparation of 2 pinches of hing mixed with 2 teaspoons of ghee, which is a clarified butter commonly used for cooking.
Apple: There is an old saying that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Daily consumption of apples, which are nutritious and filling, can help anorexic individuals to maintain normal digestion and restore appetite.
Pineapple: A few pineapple pieces that have been sprinkled with black pepper and salt may further help appetite to return, especially with children.
Delicious Natural Appetizers
Appetizer beverage: A half-hour before a meal, ¼ teaspoon each of asafoetida, crushed peppercorns and salt has to be stirred in a pan, filled with a cup of water, then simmered for 8 to 10 minutes. After adding 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice and straining the mixture, the appetizer can be sipped immediately.
Natural fruit cocktail: A preparation of 1½ cups of chopped apple and 1 cup of peeled, chopped pineapple has to be puréed in a blender along with 1 cup of black grapes and ½ cup of orange juice. Crushed ice, 1 tablespoon of glucose powder, pepper and salt has to be added to the well-blended mixture. Salt and pepper may be applied as dictated by taste. The cocktail should be mixed well and served immediately.
Note: This cocktail will provide quick energy from fruit sugars, as well as fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.
Some Verboten Comestibles
The following foodstuffs and beverages hinder recovery from anorexia and should be avoided:
- All overly refined carbohydrates such as sugar, refined flour, pasta and polished rice.
- Convenience snacks such as wafers and popcorn.
- Coffee or tea.
- Aerated soft drinks.
Anorexia Recovery Tips
A full recovery from anorexia is as much about a peaceful state of mind as it is about changes in eating habits. The following tips may prove useful:
- Calm, relaxed surroundings should be created for meals, which should not be unpleasant ordeals to be completed as quickly as possible. Every facet of the dining experience should be arranged to be pleasurable and free of tension.
- A desirable habit is the frequent consumption of small but nutritious snacks high in calories and protein. A protein shake or a refreshing glass of chilled fruit juice will do when the mood is not right for richer fare.
- Varied colors and textures should be sought for foodstuffs and beverages. Allowing child-like fun with snacks or meals, such as preparing sandwiches with whimsical shapes or decorating breads, fruits and vegetables with attractive toppings, will make meals more like play than like work.
- Saving fluids for after meals will avoid causing a premature feeling of satiation that can lead to the consumption of less food.
- Whenever possible, a short walk before a meal should be undertaken. Mild exercise and fresh air often will awaken a dormant appetite.
Even in advanced cases, anorexia nervosa need not be an irreversible journey to ill health. Careful attention from family, friends and caregivers offers great potential for helping victims return to normal lives.