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Common Food Triggers of Behavioral Issues


Child behavior and food have been found to be closely linked. Studies show that certain foods can cause or at least worsen behavioral issues like ADHD and other learning disorders. While changing a child's diet might seem like a daunting task at first, many parents end up feeling relieved when they see positive changes in their child's behavior, because it could reduce the need for medication and other treatment options. For this reason, parents whose children have behavioral disorders should consider this list of common food triggers of behavior problems.

Dairy and Behavioral Issues

Food for the Brain reports that dairy is the most common food allergy among children, and for those who have ADHD, hyperactivity and food with dairy products seem to be associated with each other. This means that some children act out more than usual after consuming milk, cheese, yogurt, or other food with lots of dairy. Kids with a dairy sensitivity often become congested, bloated, and tired, but those are just the physical symptoms. They might also become irritable, depressed, anxious, and unable to concentrate.

Gluten and Irritability

According to ADDitude, gluten is another of the food triggers that can lead to bad behavior in kids. Gluten is mostly found in wheat, which means most types of bread, cereal, and crackers contain this common ingredient. Hyperactivity and food with gluten seem to go hand in hand in children with some sensitivity to this food. Irritability and aggressiveness are other bad behaviors that gluten can trigger.

Artificial Food Dyes and Hyperactivity

Undesirable child behavior and food dye are also often related. According to Disease Proof, food dyes are found in most processed foods, including cereal, juice, and candy. The dyes that are known for causing symptoms include Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Red 40. Hyperactivity and food dyes have been linked in studies. That's probably why synthetic food dyes are actually banned in some countries, such as the UK, but most of the processed food in the US still includes them.

Clearly, some food triggers behavior problems, but the good news is that certain foods can actually improve these issues. For example, according to WebMD, the best foods for people with ADHD to eat include meat, nuts, and beans for protein. Complex carbohydrates, which can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, are also recommended. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids can help with behavior problems, and these can be sourced from salmon, tuna, walnuts, and olive oil. Including these foods in the diet and avoiding the ones that commonly cause bad behavior can make a noticeable difference for many children.

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Based on years of working with children who struggle with learning challenges, we are confident that the Balance 360 System makes a difference in helping your child’s brain and body function according to healthy standards. Just ask our parents! The Balance 360 System is a step-by-step approach, designed to help parents customize a nutrition plan to fit a child’s lifestyle and needs. Learn more about our plan for clean eating!

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.

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