Grief and bereavement - leading to loss of appetite
Losing a loved one can affect our well-being in so many ways. It may produce a ripple effect by impacting on our family members, our job as well of course our own mental and physical health.
You may be finding it more difficult to cope if you are not feeding your body with the correct number of calories and nutrients that it needs. Deficiency in this area can make you feel worse and bring a downward spiral of despair and hopelessness. It then becomes more and more difficult to climb out of this cycle.
On the other hand, of course too many calories can lead to type 2 diabetes. Eating lots of convenience foods and takeaways can quickly pile on the pounds which is a habit we can easily fall into when we are feeling sadness. Therefore, it is important to be kind to yourself during this grieving period and give your body the right amount of nutrients and calories it needs.
There is a vast amount of information out there about healthy eating but here is a quick recap and an easy read if you are finding it too difficult concentrate on absorbing lots of information during your period of bereavement.
It is important to remember that the major nutrients you obtain from food consist of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, known as macronutrients. Ideally, your meals as well as your snacking times should have a balance between the three key elements mentioned above. An example of this for a snack would be eating an apple with a piece of cheese.
As a simple guide in remembering these food groups here are a few examples:
- fibre: potatoes, oats, beans, whole grains, brown rice
- fats: cheese, full fat yogurt, olive oil, avocado
- protein: chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, almonds, broccoli, quinoa, lentils, pumpkin seeds
Be mindful not to eat too many highly processed foods but this certainly does not mean you need to avoid them altogether. Healthy foods in this band included, for example, baked beans as well as frozen vegetables. Above all be aware of the ‘eat well plate’ to ensure you are getting a balanced diet alongside some daily exercise.
Perhaps consider taking vitamins to supplement your diet during your mourning period. In some studies Vitamin B12 has been recognised in improving mood. Vitamin B3 is essential to the production of serotonin, which helps to regulate anxiety and stress levels and not forgetting B5 to help balance your mood. Magnesium supplement can help with the absorption of minerals, to boost energy, provide relief from constipation or migraine and is also known to give some relief from anxiety and stress. Other research highlights Zinc is an aid to help as an antidepressant alongside talking therapies.
This includes drinking herbal teas, such as lemon balm and green tea. Ashwagandha is a herb used in treating stress and anxiety in Ayurvedic medicine. Lavender extract has been used through the centuries and its effectiveness has been found in controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials as a form of combating anxiety and depression. St John’s Wort is another natural remedy offering support to those suffering from low mood to mild anxiety.
Important point to note: Talk through with your G.P. before taking any of the above especially if you are already taking other medicines. This is because some vitamin supplements can interact with some medications. Likewise with natural remedies again it is always best to talk it through with your G.P.
Remember that looking after your health through healthy eating, correct vitamins or natural remedies is just as important as engaging in counselling and therapy sessions.
Looking after your own physical health can help with your mental health together with a qualified therapist providing you with sessions to express your feelings over the bereavement of your loved one.