Children with autism often have deficiencies of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folic acid. These deficiencies can lead to further health issues and need to be addressed with a balanced and healthy diet. The diet also has a direct effect on the child’s learning abilities.
It has been found that certain recommendations for diet in autism have helped children to improve their quality of life. Some of these diet recommendations are:-
- Gluten Free and Casein Free Diet
This diet is one of the most recommended diet for autism. Its benefits are based on the hypothesis that people on the spectrum have difficulty in digesting gluten and casein. Children with autism, process peptides and proteins in foods containing gluten and casein differently than others do. This difference may exacerbate severe symptoms. According to another hypothesis the brain treats these proteins like false opiate-like chemicals, thus the reaction to these chemicals affects the child’s behavior. The idea behind the diet is to reduce these symptoms and improve social and cognitive behaviors, and speech.
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Complex sugars and starches should be avoided completely. Only include natural sugars such as honey or fruit sugar. This autism diet does not entirely eliminate carbohydrates but only includes a selective few. Meat, eggs, fish, nuts, some beans, all starch-free vegetables and fruits are included in this diet.
- Body Ecology Diet
This diet for autism is based on the concept of three elements; the addition of cultured food, healthy fats and a significant reduction of complex sugars and carbohydrates. The principles of this diet can be followed simultaneously with other diets that suit the requirements of your child. Fermented foods are a great source of healthy bacteria which keeps the digestive system healthy and strengthens the immune system.
- Lutein-Free Diet
Lutein is a nutrient pigment which has been found to cause allergic reactions in children with autism. This diet also eliminates soy and soy products and a restriction on gluten and casein.
Few Points to Remember:
- Processed food is a complete NO.
- Make raw fruits and vegetables a part of the diet.
- Small and frequent meals are highly beneficial.
- Do not forget to give lots of water to keep the body hydrated.
- Skipping meals should be avoided at all costs.
Every child has specific requirements and needs, get in touch with a dietician and a therapist to understand the best diet for your child.