One of the amazing systems God created in the human body is the circulatory system, which includes the heart and blood vessels. Your body can direct more or less blood to different parts of the body as needed, depending on the activity or situation. For example, if you are studying or taking a test, your body needs a little extra of your blood to supply oxygen and fuel to the brain. The blood vessels in your brain dilate or get bigger, and some of the rest of the blood vessels in your body constrict or get smaller. This allows the blood to go to the area with the greatest need. When you exercise, the blood goes to your muscles. When you eat, it goes to your gut to digest the food. That is why you sometimes feel sleepy after eating—there is not as much blood in your brain! The more you eat, the sleepier you become.
When you become sick or injured, the blood will go to the area affected by the attacking virus or injury. That is why wounds swell and become red. As a result of the body’s attempts to send blood to the sick area, the body will not send a lot of blood to your gut. Likewise, your body balances competing needs for energy. Fighting a virus expends energy, as does digesting food. Therefore, your body will not call for very much food during the time of illness or injury. It does not want to take the precious blood or energy from the area that needs it the most. So naturally, you can expect that you will not be as hungry as you normally are. By understanding that, you can relax and not try to “feed” the fever, illness, or injury. Learn to follow the body’s cues. Pay attention to your fluid intake (thirst), and you will heal faster. Feeding the body when it is not asking to be fed is generally not good. However, for some rare conditions, eating despite a lack of hunger may be indicated. For example, the chemicals ad- ministered during certain cancer treatments may throw the body off balance. Check with your physician and dietitian if you are unsure.