Health and Fitness
Embracing A Natural Appetite Stimulant For Elderly Wellness

Embracing A Natural Appetite Stimulant For Elderly Wellness

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appetite stimulant for elderly

Naturally, as we age, our lifestyle and diet preferences transform. For better or worse, this change is a progression of signals used to communicate with us! We all know the saying, ‘We are what we eat,’ right?

Today, let us listen to what our bodies are saying and explore natural approaches to stimulate appetite while weighing the potential of safe, regulated options.

An overview of appetite stimulants for elderly citizens

When we think of appetite stimulants, most naturally, our thought tags itself to drugs, medications, or supplements. Yes, while in certain situations, medical professionals do recommend stimulant medications for seniors when it comes to boosting appetite, isn’t a natural way better for the body?

Embracing a natural method stimulates appetite and promotes overall health and well-being in elderly individuals. It also reduces the risks associated with medication or drugs.

A natural appetite stimulant for elderly

Listed below are some natural means of boosting the appetite of seniors:

  • Herbal teas: Herbs like ginger, peppermint, and chamomile have digestive properties and can stimulate appetite.
  • Aromatherapy: Scents like citrus, lavender, and rosemary enhance appetite when diffused or used in massage oils (that includes mixing with edibles).
  • Nutrient-rich foods: Combining nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds into meals can naturally boost appetite.
  • Spices and seasonings: Adding flavorful spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric to dishes can stimulate taste buds and increase appetite.
  • Frequent physical activity: Regular exercise can improve digestion, metabolism, and overall appetite.
    Hydration: Staying well-hydrated by drinking water, herbal teas, or natural juices can also help regulate appetite. Seniors may take small drinks between meals to help moisten food during digestion.

The best appetite stimulants for elderly individuals

Determining the best appetite booster for seniors involves considering individual preferences, dietary needs, and potential side effects (which align with pre-existing underlying conditions). Drugs like Megestrol and Dronabinol can be effective in promoting appetite, but at the same time, they are also associated with risks and adverse reactions.

As a result, the best approach is to try food groups that are naturally stimulating for the appetite.

The natural way

Natural stimulation is the best approach to getting seniors to eat. Here’s a list of different forms of food for those who have lost their appetite:

  1. Finger foods (i.e., chicken nuggets, fish sticks, steamed or raw vegetables, meatballs)
  2. Cheese sticks or string cheese
  3. Calcium-rich or full-fat yogurt
  4. Lean proteins like beans, peas, and lentils (avoid if purine can increase gout flare)
  5. Finely chopped or ground meat
  6. Whole milk or chocolate milk
  7. Diced fruit (dried may be optional, depending on medical advice)
  8. Salt-free crackers with peanut butter or cheese (avoid if lactose intolerant or allergic)
  9. Healthy milkshakes or smoothies
  10. Nutritious soups
  11. Hot cocoa
  12. Full-fat cottage cheese
  13. Full-fat milk
  14. Fiber-fortified cereal and bread
  15. Vitamin D-rich fish and eggs

Are appetite stimulants for the elderly safe?

Appetite stimulant drugs for the elderly can be found in every corner of the country, be it Walmart or the local pharmacy. While they are FDA-approved, such medications or artificial drugs tend to have side effects (as with any medicine).

Here are the pros & cons of using stimulant drugs when it comes to boosting your appetite:


  • Can quickly address severe appetite loss.
  • It may be necessary for underlying medical conditions (depending on what the doctor orders).


  • Generally, it has the potential for side effects like drowsiness or other digestive issues.
  • It may interact with medications seniors are already taking (which can lead to other problems.
  • Does not address the primary cause of appetite loss in seniors.

Irrespective of whether you are trying to use medications or FDA-approved drugs to boost your appetite, it is imperative to hear what the doctor has to say!

Top appetite stimulant medication for elderly

There are numerous medications available in the US that help promote the stimulation of appetite in seniors. However, while we again stress that the natural means is the better approach, there may be a situation when seniors will require medication use. As a result, here are 3 FDA approved stimulants for elderly to help with their appetites:

FDA Approved dietary supplements

Examples include fish oil, zinc, and vitamin B1 (thiamine). Dietary medications are the safer choice when it comes to appetite stimulants. Zinc and vitamin B1 deficiency has been linked to appetite loss, making supplementation a practical approach for restoring appetite levels.
Unlike conventional medications, which may come with side effects, these natural supplements offer a milder approach to enhancing appetite and promoting wellness.

Note: While some FDA-approved appetite stimulants like Megestrol (Megace ES), Dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros), and Oxandrolone (no longer available in the US) have shown efficacy in promoting weight gain and nutritional intake, there has been research by the American Geriatric Society that suggests potential drawbacks.

Get yourself into senior living

We have tried to ensure a core focus on why natural methods are the best way for appetite-stimulating strategies. However, let’s recognize that how retirement communities can help even better in this regard!

1. Structured meals and social interaction:

In senior communities like assisted living or independent living, mealtimes are social events that encourage residents to enjoy dining together and naturally stimulate appetites.

2. Nutritional guidance and personalized menus:

Dedicated dietitians work with residents (especially in a nursing home) to create tailored meal plans, ensuring both nutrition and enjoyment.

3. Emphasis on social engagement and activities:

Various activities foster connections among residents, reducing loneliness and reigniting interest in food.

4. Encouragement of physical activity:

Fitness programs and community trails promote exercise, enhancing overall health and appetite in senior living communities, especially memory care facilities, where it is vital.

5. On-Site medical support:

Healthcare professionals are always available to address any medical concerns, ensuring residents receive timely support and personalized care.

Under home care, older adults rely on professional caregivers to attend to their daily needs, including meal and medication management. Caregivers need to recognize the importance of stimulating the appetite of the elderly.

This means custom meal planning to ensure their clients receive the best nutritional sufficiency that helps boost their appetite.

Final thoughts

By being in tune with what our body is communicating, let’s take the natural approach to responding back and promoting a healthier lifestyle choice, especially for seniors.


What medications increase appetite in elderly?

Mirtazapine is one of the most common and well-known medications that help boost senior appetite. Older adults may also use supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and Vitamin B-1 to help stimulate their appetites. It is essential to point out, however, first to consult a medical professional or dietician.

What is the most effective appetite stimulant?

It is essential not to be too heavily reliant on medications or artificial stimulants to boost appetite. The most effective appetite stimulant for seniors would have to be by natural means or food groups rich in natural digestives.

Which syrup is used for appetite for elders?

Firstly, it must be stressed that any syrup that is used for appetite stimulation in seniors should be prescribed by medical professionals. You can find appetite syrups (in Walmart) rich in vitamins that help promote healthy weight gain in seniors.

How do I get an elderly person to eat?

Offer seniors small, frequent meals all throughout the day. Making mealtime enjoyable with engaging conversations or social activities makes it easier for older adults to eat. While there are drugs to increase appetite in the elderly, it is always best to approach this the natural way.

What is a good appetite stimulant for elderly?

Turmeric is surprisingly a great natural appetite booster for older adults. Ginger, fennel, and rosemary are also great additions that help make food digestible. Try adding such herbs and powders to food as it helps break it down the digestive system. At the same time, small quantities of water should be consumed between meal intakes as it helps saturate the food.

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