Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological difference and an autistic person experiences the world differently. There is no specific cure and medicine is available to treat autism.
Therapeutic interventions are evidence-based practices to meet the special needs of an autistic person. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and structured teaching are the most successful techniques being used now a day.
The recommended therapies include behavior, occupational, physical and speech therapy. This will help to reduce different challenging behaviors.
The basic aim of the intervention is to make the child more independent. It can help children in self-care, social adaptability, communicative and job skills. It also reduces the severity of maladaptive and inappropriate behaviors.
There are no proven researches that Autism can be treated with Diet. The whole body is a shell where 90% of cells live in our gut flora and the remaining 10 % in the rest of the body.
About 90% of people on the spectrum have gut issues like diarrhea, constipation, food intolerance, food allergies and severe bloating.
There is a strong connection between the gut and the brain. Although no specific research concludes the link between the diet and autism but parents and therapists dealing with such persons have reported changes in behavior while adding and eliminating certain food items.
So generally, it is considered that there might be a connection between gastrointestinal discomfort, leaky gut and autistic behaviors.
Diet can help in reducing the problematic behaviors of an autistic person to some extent. At the same time, it is important to realize that every autistic person is unique, and any single formula can’t be applied to all.
Parents can add/eliminate a few things in diet and observe the changes in behaviors themselves for better management. Variations in the diet will not harm the child but will surely improve his behaviors if proved successful. Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Food for Autism
An appropriate diet could help in better management by reducing autism symptoms. Nutritional therapy can bring positive change in behavior. The best way of designing a diet is to work with a registered dietitian and a doctor.
Certain things should be added and removed from the diet after carefully monitoring the response. Dr.Karl Ludwig Reichelt claims that he has found peptides from casein and gluten that worsen the autistic symptoms.
Autistic persons are mostly picky eater and their food choices are very limited. They should be gradually introduced to the following food items which have been reported to show positive results in management.
Important Food items For Autistic
- Various fruits in the form of shakes, juices.
- Raw or steamed vegetables.
- Bone broth
- Camel Milk
- Milk substitutes like almond, rice and coconut milk
- Flour substitutes
- Organic diet
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals and assist to meet the deficiencies. A strong reinforcement can be used to introduce new fruits and vegetables. In the beginning, a small quantity should be given and then increase gradually.
Bone broth is a food that can make a great difference in the child’s behavior. It heals the gut tissues and improves the immune system. It also reduces inflammation. It can easily be made by gently boiling bone for a longer period on low flame.
Bones release gelatin in the broth which contains minerals such as phosphorous, amino acid protein, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.
A real broth is like a gel when cooled and liquid when heated. Bone broths should be prepared from a grass-fed organic animal that hasn’t been given any hormones.
Excess of everything is bad so parents can introduce and check how their child is responding. They can adjust the intake of bone broth according to the child’s need.
Recommended byLeft Coast Performance
Camel milk is unique in solving gut issues as it is a natural prebiotic. It is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins, proteins, potassium, and fats. It doesn’t contain the same protein that is found in cow’s milk like casein and lactoglobulin and is well tolerated by those with dairy allergies.
Many kids have shown considerable improvement in behavior once they are switched to camel milk. It improves autism symptoms.
The child may exhibit better eye contact, increase in vocabulary, improvement in interaction with peers, better sleep patterns and less aggressive behavior.
The gastrointestinal functioning will improve, and his motor planning and spatial awareness may increase. It can be safely consumed for the child on the spectrum as there is no harm in using it.
Recommended by Desert Farms
Almond Milk Recommended by Califia Farms
Rice Milk Recommended by Kirkland Signature
Coconut Milk Recommended by Coconut Dream
Wheat flour contains gluten instead of flour substitutes like Rice flour, Almond flour, Flaxseed flour, lentil flour, buckwheat flour, potato flour, sweet potato flour, Quinoa, and Sorghum flour may be used. It will help them in getting different nutrients.
An organic diet can help in the development of the brain. Taking high protein breakfast and snacks in the morning will assist in focus and concentration. Taking complex carbohydrates in dinner will result in better sleep.
Food to Avoid for Autism
Certain foods need to be avoided to improve autism symptoms. Many studies have shown that child on the spectrum shows severe allergies to certain food groups. Food allergies or food sensitivity can be expressed through different behaviors.
Fatigue, restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, depression, seizures, anxiety, irritability, lack of concentration, headaches, brain fog, migraine, skin irritation, muscular pain, stomach pain, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, vomiting and chronic gastrointestinal issues are common symptoms and vary from child to child.
Many parents have reported that eliminating gluten and casein from the diet improves symptoms associated with autism. Avoidance of the following food could benefit the autistic behaviors
- Refined sugar
- Energy or fizzy drinks
- Processed foods
- Foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Many studies have shown that refined sugar is a major culprit for undesirable behaviors. It will increase hyperactivity, restlessness and aggressive behaviors. Sugar can be replaced with natural sweeteners. Increased intake of sugar makes the environment of the intestines acidic and people on spectrum experience worse symptoms.
Energy or fizzy drinks
Energy drinks or fizzy drinks should not be given. It should be replaced with plain water. It dilutes harmful substances in the body and detoxifies our body.
Preserved or processed food should also be avoided as it normally contains preservatives and artificial flavors. All food additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, which is found in packed juices, flavored milk, ice creams, candy, sweets, and chocolates should be avoided.
Foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate)
These children mostly have gut issues and show sensitivity to Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and using it in food could increase problematic behaviors.
Parents can go for an allergy test and seek medical help in case of any allergies and food intolerances. Sometimes instead of these allergy tests, it is recommended that specific antibodies (IgG ) test should be conducted.
Supplements That Help in Managing Autism
One of the most important features for a child on the spectrum is his gastrointestinal issues like leaky gut. Their propionic acid levels are much higher due to bacterial overgrowth.
Dr. Nemechek strongly recommends the use of Inulin. It is an over the counter prebiotic that come from natural plant sources. It doesn’t kill the intestinal bacteria rather it nourishes healthy bacteria found in the small intestine and heals intestinal track. For this purpose, NOW brand inulin can be used.
Recommended By Now Foods
OMEGA 3 fish oil is one of the commonly used complementary and alternative practices in children with autism.
Three types of omega 3 are DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA is the only omega-3 fatty acid that helps in repairing brain damage caused by inflammation, reduce hyperactivity and stereotypic behaviors.
The high concentration of DHA fish oil is recommended. For this purpose, NOW FOODS DHA OR NORDIC NATURAL ULTIMATE OMEGA is the most trusted and commonly used brands.
Recommended By Nordic Naturals
Magnesium supplements can improve symptoms like hyperactivity, restlessness, body rocking and fidgeting. Magnesium can reduce stress, improves sleep and concentration. It supports muscle and nerve function.
Recommended By Now Foods
Epsom salt plays an important role as it contains magnesium and sulfate which is mostly deficient in children with autism. It helps the body in removing toxins and heavy metal.
Epsom salt bath is an easy way to increase magnesium intake of a child. Reduce anxiety body pains. For more details please visit.
Recommended By Epsoak
Olive oil helps in reducing inflammation and healthy brain development. Consuming 2-5 ml of extra virgin olive oil daily is recommended besides cooking of all food in it. It is recommended that extra virgin olive oil should be approved by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).
Recommended By California Olive Ranch
Presently there is no cure for autism but early childhood therapeutic interventions, regular physical activities and ensuring a healthy diet routine can make a big difference. Diet and supplements should be tailored made according to the child’s needs and responses.
Sharing is Caring!
Related Article: Best Diet for Autistic Children