Appetite, or the desire to eat, is a physical occurrence as much as it is a psychological one. Whenever we think of, or see a meal that looks tasty, the body responds involuntarily by increasing our appetite. While having a healthy appetite is great for normal body function, an excessive desire to eat, or what is commonly referred to as the ‘munchies’ can be tricky. This is so especially for those trying to lose weight as it has the opposite of the intended effect. There are many reasons why one would experience increased appetite. These include leading a sedentary lifestyle, depression, stress as well as physical changes such as pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome. Depending on the causative factors, increased appetite may last for just a couple of days all the way to several months.
The effects of increased appetite, left unchecked, may lead to excessive weight gain, conditions that affect the heart as well as unhealthy eating habits. Whether you would like to lose weight naturally, want to maintain a healthy lifestyle or simply want to alter your eating habits, it is vital to ensure that your appetite remains in check. There are many ways to curb appetite, and some of these include medical intervention in extreme cases as well as the use of natural remedies. The advantage of the latter is that the effects are sustainable and easily translate to healthy eating habits. Below are some of the home remedies that you can use to manage increased appetite naturally.
1. High-Water Content, Fiber-Rich Foods:
Time Required: Varies depending on the method of preparation.
What You Need: Foods that have a high content of water and those that are rich in fiber.
One of the natural strategies used to curb appetite while maintaining healthy eating habits is a science-backed technique that involves taking foods that are rich in fiber and those that have a high content of water. These foods are collectively referred to as high-volume foods. The reason behind this term is that the foods make for bulky meals and this helps fill the stomach, in turn creating satiety. There is a catch however; these high-volume foods are best eaten when they are low in caloric value.
Research studies have found that when one eats a lot of the high-volume low-calorie foods, they tend to feed less at mealtimes, and this, in the long run, makes for a great way to curb appetite. Additionally, these foods lead the stomach to stretch slowly and create a sense of fullness. They also cause the stomach to empty more slowly. There is also the psychological aspect of it where seeing a big amount of these high-volume foods helps one feel more full. For those working towards healthy weight loss, this strategy is perfect to help shed the weight without necessarily feeling like one is on a regulated diet plan. The golden rule is to have one or more high-water and high-fiber foods with lean protein at all mealtimes in order to feel fuller on a low-caloric intake.
Tips on using high-water high-fiber foods
- Make vegetable and fruit salads a regular accompaniment just before meal times as this actually helps reduce the amount of food taken during the meal.
- Enjoy a bowl of broth-based soup just before mealtimes in order to build up the bulk and curb increased appetite.
- Add lean protein to your meals to promote fullness over a period of time.
- Other foods that you can add to your meals in this regard include nuts which are rich in proteins, eggs and legumes. Legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas and soybeans are a perfect addition because they have protein that digests slowly and are packed with fiber. Legumes may be used to prepare quick soups, side dishes as well as salads.
2. Oatmeal + Eggs for Breakfast:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of oats, 2 cups of warm milk and a dash of cinnamon powder in addition to a boiled egg.
One of the most critical mealtimes, and which many people tend to overlook, is breakfast. So key it is that scientific research shows that this is the most important meal of the day. Many people who struggle with increased appetite may find that making slight changes at breakfast makes a lot of difference. This is why oatmeal and eggs are recommended for anyone who needs to curb weight. Oatmeal is packed with soluble and insoluble fiber which takes a little longer to digest, thus creating a sense of fullness.
Research also backs this up because it has found that the fiber present in oatmeal helps increase the concentration of a hormone known as cholecystokinin. This hormone is known to regulate appetite, and its increase therefore helps enhance satiety. Other benefits of having oatmeal for breakfast include its ability to stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure as well as reduce the level of LDL (commonly referred to as bad cholesterol) in the body. A boiled egg is added to increase the amount of protein in the meal, while cinnamon powder is included to improve the taste and enhance oatmeal’s satiating effect. Prepare this breakfast by following the simple directions indicated below.
- Wash the egg and proceed to boil it to your preference; some prefer soft-boiled eggs to hard-boiled eggs.
- Dip the egg in a bowl of water to ease the peeling process.
- Peel the egg and set aside.
- For the oatmeal, add the oats to the warm milk and stir to mix well.
- Transfer the oats mixture to a saucepan and turn on the heat.
- As the oatmeal starts to cook, remember to stir to prevent the oats from burning.
- Add the cinnamon and continue to stir.
- Let the meal simmer for 5 minutes and then leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.
- Enjoy the oatmeal and boiled egg to start your day on the right footing and curb appetite during the day.
NOTE: Once cooked, the oatmeal should neither be stored nor reheated.
3. Cinnamon Spice:
Time Required: 2 Min, but method of preparation of the foods varies.
What You Need: A dash of cinnamon added to meals, snacks and smoothies.
Cinnamon is a popular spice best known for its warmth and excellent effect on the taste of food, but did you know that cinnamon can also help curb appetite? Research carried out shows that the spice slowed down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates from the digestive system. As a result, the use of cinnamon leads one to feel fuller for a longer period of time. So effective is the spice that researchers have described cinnamon spice as nature’s own ‘gastric band’. Add to this the fact that cinnamon makes food tastier and delicious food is more filling when compared to bland foods.
- Take cinnamon daily by adding it to your foods during mealtimes. Whether you want to flavor your tea with this spice, make oat pancakes with it or blend it alongside your smoothies, you can be certain that cinnamon helps curb and keep your appetite in check.
4. Cayenne Pepper:
Time Required: Food preparation varies.
What You Need: Cayenne pepper. 1 cup of hot water and the juice of half a lemon (optional).
In addition to cinnamon, cayenne pepper is also recommended for managing increased appetite. While this hot spice is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of capsaicin, cayenne pepper has also been shown to suppress appetite, making it a great addition to one’s meals. This is one of the key reasons why cayenne pepper is added to weight loss diet plans. In addition to its appetite-suppressing effects, capsaicin is also known to have thermo-genetic properties. This simply means that the spice causes one’s body temperature to increase.
Using cayenne pepper
- Simply add cayenne pepper to your food during mealtimes to help curb appetite. If you can manage the heat, add cayenne pepper while cooking for a more intense effect.
- Alternatively, make cayenne pepper rink by adding a pinch of the pepper to a cup of hot water.
- Allow steeping for five minutes and take this drink at intervals during the day.
- You may add the juice of half a lemon to the drink.
5. Brush Your Teeth:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A small amount of mint-flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush and 1 cup of water.
Brushing your teeth may seem like an everyday occurrence, one which you probably do not put conscious thought into. This is why it will surprise you to note that this is actually a remedy which you can use to curb appetite. Its effect is more psychological than it is physical. Brushing your teeth not only takes your mind away from hunger pangs and cravings, you are also less likely to indulge in eating after you have just brushed your teeth! What’s more, the after-effect of using mint-flavored toothpaste alters the natural taste of food and makes it far less appealing. This is an interesting phenomenon because research also shows that exposure to peppermint leads to lower caloric intake, and helps lower increased appetite.
NOTE: In case you do not have mint-flavored toothpaste, simply add a small drop of peppermint essential oil to your toothpaste.
- Place a dollop of toothpaste on your toothbrush.
- Add some peppermint essential oil for that extra kick.
- Brush your teeth as you normally would for about 5 minutes.
- Rinse your mouth.
- Do this at least twice daily.
6. Green Tea:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of tea and 1 green teabag. Honey (optional).
Green tea has many health benefits, among them its ability to curb appetite. This tea is rich in a group of compounds known as phytonutrients that are known to increase the production of the cholecystokinin hormone, a hormone that regulates appetite and enhances satiety. In addition to this, catechins (active compounds present in green tea) are known to stabilize blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar levels reduce cravings and are a great way to manage appetite. Lastly, green tea has a calming effect on the body, which comes in handy for emotional eaters who experience drastic appetite changes. Green tea is also helpful for those who would like to curb appetite in order to lose weight.
- Place the green teabag in a cup of hot water and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Stir in some honey and drink at least thrice daily to manage cravings and appetite.
7. Get Enough Sleep:
Time Required: Varies from one person to another
What You Need: A comfortable place to sleep.
Getting adequate sleep at night is actually connected to one’s appetite changes. This is because sleep is required to recharge the body and allow it to function optimally. Part of this resetting involves allowing the hormones that spike appetite to reset themselves. Research shows that sleep deprived individuals have higher levels of ghrelin, one of the hormones that is best known for its ability to stimulate hunger, trigger cravings and overall increase one’s appetite. It is also common knowledge that when one sleeps less, they are likely to junk on sweet treats and salty foods. Work around this by making sure you are well rested each day.
Tips to ensuring you get a good night’s sleep
- Make sure that your bedroom provides a conducive environment for sleeping. That is, a quiet and dark room that helps you to fall asleep with much ease.
- Create a sleep routine to help you get much-needed rest daily. Be consistent so that you sleep and wake up around the same time on a daily basis. This adjusts your body’s internal clock and makes it easier to deal with cravings during the day.
8. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: Healthy nutritious foods in place of artificial sweeteners.
One of the most appetite-stimulating things available in today’s world is empty calories. These are foods which supply the body with calories but have absolutely no nutritional value. A good number of processed foods are in this category. These foods also tend to have a high concentration of artificial sweeteners. Since these foods do not exist naturally, the body has a tendency to expect nutrients following the surge of sugars and calories.
When this does not happen, the body experiences what is known as a ‘nutrient debt’. To counter this, the body experiences greater appetite to replace the nutrients. This creates a vicious cycle that makes it almost impossible to curb appetite. Many processed foods and carbonated beverages are rich in artificial sweeteners and empty calories, which is why they must be avoided if you have to manage your appetite.
Tips to avoid artificial sweeteners
- Steer clear of processed foods and instead opt for whole nutritious food options.
9. Drink a Lot of Water:
Time Required: Spread throughout the day
What You Need: Adequate drinking water. Lemon wedges, mint leaves and cucumber slices are optional additions.
Nutrition experts recommend taking a glass of water when the cravings strike, largely because in many cases, one experiences these cravings while in actual fact the body is dehydrated. What’s more, water creates a sense of fullness and helps reduce the amount of food one eats. This is key because it helps prevent unnecessary snacking.
- Ensure you have adequate water intake staggered throughout the day.
- You may add cucumber slices, mint leaves or lemon wedges to improve the taste of water and make it more rejuvenating.
In addition to these remedies, it helps to take smaller portions at meal times in order to help manage increased appetite. Avoid stocking up on junk food, simple because when it is out of sight, it is easier to be out of mind. Lastly, remember to get medical attention if there is an underlying problem especially in cases where increased appetite lasts for days on end.