Autism is a physical as well as a mental health condition that seriously affects the sound development of social and communication skills in children younger than 3 years of age.
As it affects very young children, parents find it difficult to deal with the condition. Parents of autistic children have to make ample adjustments like changing their social and professional way of life. They have to deal with intense anxiety as well.
Like obesity and diabetes, autism is a growing cause of concern for people around the globe. Although there hasn’t been any certain cause that could be blamed for autism, causes like diet, changes in the digestive tract, mercury poisoning, the body’s ability to absorb and use vitamins, and lower sensitivity to vaccination have been attributed to the disease.
Of the above causes, dietary changes have been recognized to show vast improvements in children affected with autism. Therefore, planning out a proper diet is of extreme importance and is perhaps the best way to help children recover and fight against autism.
Discovering The Link Between Diet And Autism
Certain foods create problems in the digestive tract. One such food group is bread and grains – owing to their high gluten content. These foods are also highly inflammatory in nature and can cause inflammation in the digestive tract and in the brain, thus decreasing brain functioning.
Let’s take look at some of the foods that we should give to children fighting autism:
Poultry like chicken and turkey contains tryptophan, a type of amino acid that aids the production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. It has been found that people with autism have decreased levels of tryptophan, which can seriously affect brain functionality, development and other activities related to neuroimmune activities.
Foods rich in vitamins and minerals
Research has proved that vitamin B6, vitamin C, and magnesium supplements significantly help reduce symptoms of autism. Vitamin and mineral supplements, in addition to fruits and vegetables, are also suggested to meet their daily requirements.
Probiotics or fermented foods are important to help heal a leaky gut. The body also needs bacteria to help in digestion. Add foods like kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut in your child’s diet. Probiotic supplements that are available in the market can also be taken instead of these foods.
Fatty Fish and fatty oils
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, eggs, dairy, and vegetable oils are enriched with the goodness of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These help in brain functioning and development of the immune system. The human body does not manufacture either of the two on its own and hence we can only get these acids from the foods we eat and supplements.
Along with consuming foods that help fight autism symptoms, there are some foods that should be avoided strictly. Let’s take a look.
Gluten can worsen the symptoms of autism, and it is important to get your child tested for gluten intolerance. Tolerant or not, avoid all foods that have gluten – like bread, pasta, wheat cereal etc.
Avoid giving candies, fruit juices, soda, and all desserts because they contain a lot of sugar. And sugar causes fluctuations in brain function that can further cause behavioral problems.
Soy contains an anti-nutrient called phytic acid that impairs the absorption of certain nutrients in the body and can also cause a leaky gut.
Cow Milk And Dairy Products
Cow milk has a protein called casein that is similar to gluten. To meet your kid’s Calcium requirements, give dark leafy vegetables to your children instead of milk and milk products.
Ultimately, diet is the best solution for most health-related problems. As of now, nourishing and providing the body with the right kind of foods is the only solution for reducing the symptoms of autism. After all, we are what we eat.
An acclaimed dietician and nutritionist, Ashu Gupta is the founder of Ashu Gupta’s Diet Clinic. Her clinic is known for its professional guidance to help overcome different lifestyle disorders. You can make an appointment with her at http://www.dieticianashugupta.com/.