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Diet and Behavior: 3 Changes to Make Today

Food Sensitivities, Dyes, and Antibiotics May Contribute to Behavioral Issues in Kids

Kids with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other behavioral issues often benefit from simple diet changes. Many parents are asking what's the connection between diet and behavior, and what changes should I make now for my child? Learn more about the connection between diet and behavior below, and consider making the following three changes in your family's diet today!

3 Changes to Improve Diet and Behavior

Go Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free - When a child has food sensitivities, it can mean that certain foods are not fully digested in the stomach and can get through the lining of the gut, triggering an immune response in the body and brain. Chemicals produced during this immune response can affect a child's behavior and learning ability. Kids with food sensitivities may also experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to malabsorption. This problem, which is often referred to as leaky gut syndrome, should be addressed through food elimination trials. While any food can be a culprit, gluten and dairy are common sensitivities among kids with behavioral issues, so eliminating them is a great first step. 

Eliminate Food Dyes - A 2010 report from the FDA suggests that while artificial colors are not the cause of ADHD symptoms, they can exacerbate symptoms in kids who struggle with inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. Eliminating food dyes from your family's diet may be helpful for susceptible children, and some parents anecdotally report an immediate change for the better. Read more from one mom who, after eliminating artificial colors from her son's diet, said, "We saw amazing results at school, we saw amazing results in his attitude, he was happy; no more meltdowns at all." She is now petitioning a major U.S. candy manufacturer to stop using dyes altogether!

Buy Organic Meat and Dairy - While switching to only organic foods can seem like a daunting task, we recommend beginning with small steps for your child's health and behavior. Non-organic meat and dairy contain antibiotics, and a recent study showed that eating them caused a nearly immediate change in gut flora. Gut flora are "good" bacteria that are responsible for extracting energy from food, building the body's immune system, and protecting against infection and inflammation among other tasks. While taking high quality probiotics and eating certain foods like yogurt can help offset some of these changes in gut flora, consuming only organic meat and dairy is a great place to start to help your family avoid the over-use of anitbiotics and transition to a more natural diet over time. Click here to learn more about the connection between gut flora and mental health.

While the link between diet and behavior is still being investigated, parents can certainly make changes today to improve the health of their entire family. It's important to note that diet changes, although helpful to manage behavioral symptoms, are only temporary if the underlying imbalance in the brains is not addressed. To learn more about The Brain Balance Program, which combines sensory motor, academic, and nutritional objectives, we invite you to visit your local Brain Balance Achievement Center. Contact us today to find the center nearest you!

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