The Link Between Autism & Food

Often with autism, we see concurrent digestive complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, gas and discomfort. For many Autistic people, especially children, certain dietary tweaks not only bring gastrointestinal relief, but also improvements in other aspects of life. The following suggestions below are based on clinical experience and research and are best implemented with the guidance of a Naturopath / Nutritionist.

  • Eat protein rich foods with every meal and snack. For example hummus with veggie sticks, nuts with fruit, ‘eggs and soldiers’ and seeds sprinkled on cereal. Protein is great for everyone, but especially those effected by autism because of how exhausting the symptoms can be. Protein helps stabilise blood sugar levels, energy levels and mood.
  • Completely cut out artificial flavours and sweeteners in food, as well as artificial perfumes in toiletries and cleaning products. These chemicals can affect biochemical pathways in our body causing all sorts of symptoms such as mood drops, headaches, hyperactivity, hormone disturbances and gut issues, just to name a few. Again, this is a suggestion that’s great for everyone – but especially those who are highly sensitive.
  • Utilise natural essential oils topically for their therapeutic effects (eg. lavender for calming and peppermint for soothing) as well as for cleaning (eg. lemon, lime, pine, eucalyptus).
  • Consider Western Herbal Medicine for internal consumption of herbs as it’s evidence based, personalised and complementary medicine. Did you know that herbs are great for children as well as adults? There are hundreds that work on healing the digestive tract, nourishing the nervous system and balancing neurotransmitters. Two of my favourites include chamomile for its calming effects on digestion and the nervous systems and Ashwaganda to help people thrive. It’s best to work with a Naturopath / Herbalist find the right herbs for you and your loved ones.
  • Embark on an elimination diet with the guidance of a Naturopath / Nutritionist as food intolerances are so common in people with autism. For example, gluten from wheat and casein from dairy products can seep through the lining of a damaged gut wall and cause havoc in the body. Symptoms vary from ‘brain fog’ and anxiety to joint pain to asthma and eczema. Although there are tests out there for intolerances, often they’re inaccurate. I believe an old fashioned elimination, done properly, can be more effective and will cost a fraction of the price.

What is a Naturopath you ask?

A naturopath is a complementary health care practitioner trained in at least two modalities and united by underlying philosophy and principles. These include: First do no harm, doctor as teacher, health promotion, disease prevention and wellness. For more information click here

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