The Benefits of a Well-Balanced Diet for Autism Children
Providing a balanced diet for children with autism is essential to their health and happiness. The simple truth is that your child’s diet and autism are closely connected in more ways than you might realize. All children need to follow a nutritious eating plan, but it’s especially important for children with autism.
Children are picky eaters in general, and those on the ASD spectrum tend to have even more restrictive eating habits. They can be very sensitive to certain flavors, scents, textures, and even colors, and some medications can reduce their appetite, so it may take some time and effort to find an ideal diet for children with autism.
Read on to discover the benefits associated with a well-balanced diet.
Reduce Gastrointestinal Irregularities
It’s quite common for children with ASD to experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including constipation, bloating, chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, food regurgitation, leaky gut syndrome, and more. These symptoms can have numerous causes, including obesity, selective eating, certain medications or antibiotics, and sedentary lifestyles.
Although providing a well-balanced diet may not always cure these common conditions, it can certainly make a big difference, especially if the symptoms are related to or are caused by the foods your child eats.
As you research the best diet for children with autism, be sure to consider a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. Eliminating gluten and casein can reduce inflammation, naturally leading to better gut health. Always speak to a professional doctor or dietician before making any major diet changes.
In addition to improving your child’s diet, you may want to talk to a doctor about providing probiotics and/or digestive enzymes to improve gut health — especially if your child is having bowel irregularities caused by broad-spectrum antibiotics taken early in life to treat respiratory infections before ASD was diagnosed.
Prevent Nutritional Deficiencies
Children with autism are often unwilling to eat nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, favoring highly processed foods that lack nutritional value. As you determine an ideal diet for children with autism, try to find healthy foods that your child enjoys eating. It’s not always easy, but eating a balanced diet prevents vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can lead to more serious health problems in the future.
Regulate Blood Sugar Balance
Diet and autism and hyperactivity are often directly connected. Hyperactive children tend to consume more sugar than other children, and it’s common for them to have an abnormal glucose tolerance, meaning that it’s difficult for their bodies to process sugars and maintain a healthy blood sugar balance. Reducing your child’s sugar intake and providing healthier food options can make a tremendous difference in restoring proper blood sugar levels.
Boost Omega 3 Fatty Acids
When considering a diet for children with autism, you should know that children with ASD frequently require a higher intake of fatty acids than other children. Many children with ASD have an enzymatic defect that causes essential fatty acids to be removed from cell membranes in the brain at a more rapid rate.
In addition to providing more foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, you may want to talk to your doctor about supplementing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA can slow down the enzymatic defect to help slow the enzymatic defect that can lead to omega 3 deficiencies.
Improve Mood and Behavior
Many parents find that adjusting a diet for children with autism can actually improve the child’s mood and behavior, and sometimes even drastically. This may be due to the fact that problematic digestive systems can cause undesirable chemicals and foods to enter the bloodstream, eventually reaching the brain. Reducing gluten and casein is the most common option, but your doctor may be able to recommend specific dietary changes that may improve your child’s mood and behavior.
Shop Quality Supplies at Bright Autism
Learning about diet and autism is a major step towards a happy and healthier future for your child, and in turn, your whole family. You can learn more about choosing the right diet for children with autism by reading books about autism. We also invite you to read our blog for advice on dietary restrictions, as well as many other parenting topics. Contact us to learn more, and order high-quality autism products at Bright Autism today.