As parents, we want the best for our children, including making informed choices about their food. While we wish kids would always prefer fruits and veggies, the reality is that sugary snacks often tempt them (and us!). Balancing their wants and needs becomes even more challenging when raising a child with autism and ADHD. That's why we're here to provide valuable insights on nourishing foods for children and highlight which ones to avoid for ASD and ADHD. Let's embark on a journey of nutritious eating for our kiddos together.
Top 8 Toxic Foods to Avoid with ASD and ADHD
Many food products marketed towards children can be toxic to their brains and bodies, particularly for those with ASD and ADHD. Here are the top 8 foods to steer clear of:
- Artificial colors and flavors: These are chemicals made from petroleum that can impact behavior problems, particularly in children with ASD or ADHD who are sensitive to the high levels of phenols in these substances. They can also be toxic to the central nervous system and exacerbate autistic behavior.
- Artificial sweeteners: These chemicals, which are many times sweeter than regular sugar, are neurotoxic and can aggravate behavioral symptoms. They come with the potential for serious health risks, including cancer.
- Artificial preservatives: Some of these preservatives can cause various health problems, such as respiratory problems and cancer. They can also aggravate ASD and ADHD symptoms.
- Hydrogenated oils and trans fats: These toxic fats can raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, and increase the risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): This flavor enhancer is an excitotoxin that can excite brain cells to death. It can become toxic to neurons, creating inflammation in the brain and actually kill brain cells. It is also quite common for kids with ASD to become addicted to this substance and crave only foods that contain it.
- GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms): GMO foods are created by inserting DNA from viruses, bacteria, or any other DNA fragment to grow plants that are pest and disease resistant and can also withstand high levels of pesticides. Although the high level of pesticide doesn't kill the plant, it can be harmful to humans who eat it.
- Pesticides: Children, especially those with ASD and ADHD, are vulnerable to these toxins. With less than optimal detoxification pathways, these kids can't properly process and excrete pesticides leading to toxic build up in the body that can impair brain development and function.
- Refined sugar: Excessive amounts of refined sugar can have a negative impact on behavior, attention, hyperactivity, aggression, mood, and mental function. Consumption of sugar causes a spike in blood glucose that is typically followed by a drop in blood sugar that triggers adrenaline and other hormones to raise the blood sugar back up.
Best Foods for ASD and ADHD:
Now, let's explore some of the best foods and snacks to include in your child's diet:
- Protein-Packed Foods
Protein supports brain health and helps in the production of neurotransmitters. It also prevents blood sugar spikes that may contribute to hyperactivity.
Foods rich in protein include:
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Beans and lentils
- Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates prevent sudden blood sugar fluctuations and keep you feeling full for longer. This can help reduce cravings for sugary snacks.
Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Buckwheat noodles
- Brown rice
Super Fruits & Veggies - A delicious and convenient nutritional shake packed with beneficial nutrients from berries, fruits, vegetables, and greens for balanced nutrition.
- Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Certain micronutrients, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B-6, and vitamin D, may play a role in autism. Including these nutrients in their diet is essential for overall health.
People can find these nutrients in the following foods:
- Iron: Beef, liver, kidney beans, tofu
- Zinc: Meat, beans,
- Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach
Multivitamin mineral plus - contains essential vitamins, minerals, and active compounds to support the developing nervous system and bridge nutritional gaps.
Immuni-D Liquid - It delivers a targeted amount of vitamin D in an odorless, tasteless liquid that can be added to any beverage.
Super Mag Powder - provides Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate for Optimal Absorption and GI Comfort.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are important for brain and heart health, and individuals with autism may have lower levels of these essential fats. Increasing omega-3 intake has modest benefits for symptoms.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
Super Omega - a molecularly distilled, high concentration fish oil sourced from the cold, fresh waters off the Chilean coast.
By making informed dietary choices for children with ASD and ADHD, we can positively impact their symptoms and overall health. By avoiding certain foods that may exacerbate symptoms and incorporating nourishing options such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish, we can support their well-being. Remember, My Spectrum Heroes is here to provide valuable resources, support, and high-quality nutritional supplements designed specifically for children with autism. Together, let's nurture their growth and development by prioritizing their nutritional needs.