Hunger and appetite are two very different things. While hunger is a physical reaction within the body causing one to seek food for fuel, appetite is a psychological or sensory reaction that triggers a conditioned or involuntary response to food. In other words, hunger will cause one to eat, appetite may cause someone to overeat.
For someone looking to change their appetite, there are natural ingredients like herbs and minerals that can lead them to a healthier appetite to improve their diet and overall wellness.
The combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise is the most effective way to consistently lose weight and keep it off. However, there are many natural ingredients to reduce a strong appetite to help someone achieve and sustain results:
Caralluma fimbriata -- This plant grows in India, and contains phytochemicals that signal the brain to suppress the appetite, leading to a "full" feeling sooner.
Hoodia gordonii -- Native to Africa, the hoodia plant contains substances that trick the body into feeling satiated. Tribesmen there have used it for generations to endure long hunting exhibitions where food may be limited.
Chromium Chelate -- This mineral is found in trace amounts within the food we eat. However, in order to get enough of this mineral to suppress the appetite, concentrated forms must be taken via supplements. Chromium is also known to balance blood sugar, preventing the spikes and crashes that can lead to overindulgence.
Some teas can also assist in curbing the appetite. Nettle and burdock are two great examples. Chickweed tea also curbs cravings with the additional benefit of enhancing the digestive process, which is essential for weight loss. Tea made from mountain ash berries works to decrease the appetite and can be made more effective by adding honey, which can increase the sense of fullness and satisfaction from food.
Though many seek ways to decrease appetite, there are those who desire the opposite effect, perhaps for medical reasons. For these individuals, there are various herbs and botanicals that can promote a stronger appetite:
Oregano Oil -- This herbal oil works by relaxing stomach tension, which stimulates the appetite. As an essential oil, dilute oregano oil can be diluted in water and then used as a hot steam treatment or rubbed into the skin to encourage increased appetite.
Dandelion Root -- Despite being referred to by many as a common weed, dandelion root is rich in vitamins and minerals and popularly recommended by herbalists as an appetite stimulant. You can find teas, capsules or tinctures.
Horehound -- A bitter herb, horehound works by causing the stomach to increase acid production, which promotes a stronger appetite.
Mint, fennel and ginger are also digestive herbs that are easy to find in tea form and may be sipped on prior to a meal in order to increase appetite. If you're looking to increase appetite due to a previously diagnosed medical condition, be sure to speak with your physician before adding any of these herbal supplements to your routine.
A healthy appetite – neither too strong nor too weak – is the optimum goal for everyone, whether overweight, underweight or "just right." Speak with a healthcare professional to manage appetite safely and effectively.