Underweight refers to the condition in which a person’s weight is below the healthy weight. The healthy weight being that which if divided by the height in square meters yields and index of above eighteen kilograms per meter squared. Having an index of below eighteen point five is considered underweight. Those who tip the scales would feel jealous if somebody complains of being skinny yet the truth is that the two extremes have medical implications and being underweight is associated with medical issues such as osteoporosis, fertility problems, weak immune system and many more health complications.
Being too skinny also has the stressful effect of reducing the self esteem that an individual has because it reduces the elegant body shape full of curves which is the desire of most people crave. Being underweight therefore creates a conscious knowledge of the less appeal that the individual has as compared to other people.
Basically there are two types of thin person; the one who has excellent metabolic reaction and keeps on eating but does not increase their weight and the other who is sickly and does not find it easy to eat normally and therefore remains underweight. Of the two, the former is healthy while latter case is not and is susceptible diseases like pneumonia, heart disorder, and tuberculosis and could even be affected by cancer.
Causes of Underweight
- Poor or inadequate nutrition could lead to being underweight. This is because the body lacks the nutrients to build the muscle and the fats to store in the body areas which leads to healthy weight. A person who eats less food or who eats a diet that is not balanced can lose weight to the point of being underweight
- Engaging in too much activity without compensating for the burned calories leads to underweight. This over activity could be due to walking long distances or engaging in an occupation that demands too much input in term of physical energy with very little food taken to compensate the lost energy.
- Emotional stress and psychological disturbances can lead to underweight due to the fact that the persons appetite is interfered with and therefore the amount of food eaten at a particular time is considerably less. The body equally burns more calories in the times of stress to generate the required energy to sustain mental activity. Similarly, the digestive process may be hampered by the excessive adrenaline in the system and consequently the ingested food is not well utilized by the body leading to underweight condition in the event that the stress lasts for a long time.
- There is the bad habit of skipping meals due to financial constraints or because one is too busy that the meal time goes without the individual taking a meal this habit could become a lifestyle trend hence the individual without realizing starves the body to the point of becoming underweight.
- Fasting regularly to the point of making it a habit also starves the body of the needful food and due to the fact that in the times when food is not taken the body uses the stored fats and glucose, the individual may become underweight.
- Other people eat rapidly and therefore to not masticate the food properly. This leads to improper digestion with most of the food parts past out as waste. There is also the associated problem of having poor food digestion and absorption in the digestive tract due to other medical conditions leading to less food taken into the body for use and eventually these situations lead to underweight.
- Chronic medical conditions lie having a chronic diarrhea can lead to underweight. Having several parasites like the tapeworm and the ringworm also lead to underweight because these parasites consume most of the food in the digestive tract and the body leaving the individual who overate deprived of food.
- Having disturbed sleep; a condition referred to as insomnia also leads to underweight as the person who suffers from this disease is perpetually under stress and fatigue which deprives the body of the nutrients.
- Some people are naturally underweight because they burn more calories due to their hyperactive metabolic reactions and therefore though they consume much they do not add weight.
- At times a person is compelled to remain underweight as a result of a medication or some other medical condition. Sudden weight loss can also be a sign of medical condition and medical attention should be sought in such cases.
- Some people induce the condition by themselves especially in the name of weight control. In this case the individual controls the diet, goes for exercise and may never realize the underweight state in which their body has gone to. The state of self inducing underweight is called anorexia nervosa
Symptoms of Underweight
- Abnormally low body weight,
- Body mass index if below 18.5,
- Vulnerability to infections,
- Fatigue and
- Low physical stamina.
Home remedies for Underweight
Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Eat Small Meals Frequently-Due to the fact that underweight people get satisfied very fast, it is advisable to eat small meals frequently. Instead of having two or three large meals, the underweight individual can have several small meals
- Nutrition– The foods that the underweight person takes should be composed of highly nutritious meals such as pastas, cereals and whole grain meals. Fruits and the vegetables are highly encouraged. dairy with low fat content, sources of lean protein, nuts and the seeds are some of the recommended foods
- Smoothies– Instead of the low nutrient drinks like the soda, an individual can opt for the smoothies or the nutritious shakes which are made with low fat content milk or take a frozen juice. It is also healthy too drink a lot of fluids thirty minutes before and after meals.
- Try This– Snacks which contain dense calories such as those made with nuts, avocado, pea nuts, dried fruits and cheese. This are good in building the body weight rapidly
- Try This– Add extras too your meals like the crumbled eggs, soups and cheese casseroles which will serve to pack your food with calories and nutrients.
- Eat Healthy– Even if you are underweight it is prudent to take good precaution against those unhealthy foods and keep your diet healthy and nutritious with foods such as yoghurt, fruit pies, bran muffins while avoiding too much sugar and fats.
- Exercise- Go for regular exercise especially strength training in order to build the muscles and to ensure the body utilizes the foods it is fed with in building muscles.
- Ginger-According to health experts, taking ginger has been shown to stimulate one’s appetite. A cup of ginger tea every morning can provide energy that is equal to consuming a glass of milk. Ginger also has other properties such as fighting off infections and fevers. It also improves the appetite by helping to calm the stomach and also to regulate the flow of bile in the stomach. This helps in digestion.
- Ginseng- Ginseng is also another herb that has been used in traditional medicine over the years to promote appetite. It can be bought in a variety of forms such as capsules, tablets, dried roots and liquid extracts. The dried roots can be added to your tea. The dosage mostly relies on how you want to take the herb. It however should not be used by people who suffer from diabetes, thyroid and heart diseases. Even those that have a history of suffering from migraines should not take the disease.
- Blessed Thistle– Blessed thistle is a bitter tonic and works like other bitters to stimulate the production of bile and gastric juices this stimulating appetite. This herb should however not be used for those tat are pregnant. It should be added to tea for those who are anorexic or have lost appetite. It also helps to aid in digestion.
- Fennel– Fennel is also another herb that can be used to help boost your appetite. It helps by stimulating and helping to improve digestion and improving the lining of the digestive tract. Other conditions such as motion sickness, stomach acid and false fullness can be alleviated by taking of this herb. The herb can be added to food or the baby’s milk in order to stimulate its appetite.
Diet for Underweight
- High energy foods should be incorporated in the diet and particularly an intake of about 500kcal on a daily basis results in a weight gain of half a kg weekly. The intake of the energy can be further increased to 1000kcal.
- The intake of the high energy foods should be accompanied by a proportional intake of proteins to build up the muscle tissues. An intake of about 1.5 to 2gram of protein per kg of body weight is advised. These proteins which are taken in should be those which are easily digestible such as eggs, milk, which are taken along with cereals.
- Fats b9intake should be within the healthy level and should be confined to the emulsified fats such as creams, butter and whole milk. These fats serve to complement the other energy sources.
- Minerals and the vitamins are essential in the diet of the underweight as they serve to help regain health. Supplements may also be administered to help fight any possible existing nutritional deficiency. Adequate intake of minerals can be ensured through eating plenty vegetables, whole grain cereals and fruits
- Starting the day with a lukewarm glass of water mixed with lemon juice and half teaspoon of honey is helpful in aiding digestion of foods that will be taken in the day.
- Liquids should be avoided at least thirty minutes before and after meals
Prevention of Underweight
The prevention of underweight problem lies in eliminating the primary causes of being underweight. If the problem is genetic characteristic several ways can be devised to increase the persons total daily calorie intake to guarantee maintenance of the body weight at a healthy level.
- Being keen on the daily meals is a good way to prevent being underweight. These meals should be proper and never missed to especiall6y if you are one of those whose metabolism is very active
- One should eat well during the meals and go ahead to have a snack when he/she feels hungry in the course of the day. The meals should be based on nutritious foods
- One should avoid stressful situations and try to cope with the conditions he or she has through attending relaxation therapies to eliminate the psychological strain that causes the stress.
- The conditions that cause wastage of the eaten food such as diarrhea and TB should be addressed fast through medication for the body to be able to utilize the ingested food
- One should always try to get enough sleep and to rest well as it is during rest that the body builds the wasted tissues and also repairs itself. Good sleep is essential in dealing with life’s stress and psychological disturbances.
- Regular exercise helps in ensuring good appetite and the body’s capacity to utilize the eaten food which eventually stabilizes the body’s weight at a healthy point.
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