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Natural Cure

How A Natural Diet Helps In Relieving Autism

Nutrition & Plant-based diet for alleviating symptoms of autism

1 in 68 children across the globe suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) &

Approximately 10 million people in India have autism ~ Experts

These statistics highlight the increasing prevalence of autism and the need for widespread awareness about it. It is essential to recognize the disease in its early stages so that the children suffering from it can have a happy, loving, emotionally stable, and dignified childhood. 

Diet plays a crucial role in managing the symptoms of autism and to a large extent helps improve the social and cognitive behaviors in autistic individuals.  

So, let’s discuss what Autism really is and how the right diet can alleviate its symptoms.

What is Autism?

Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder whose traces can be found in early childhood or infancy. Generally, signs of autism are diagnosed in early childhood that involves difficulties with social skills, restricted interests, speech learning, delayed development, and repetitive behaviors.  Many autistic children might be oversensitive or under sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, touch, taste, and balance.

However, autism is a spectrum disorder which means its symptoms vary in different individuals. Every single individual with autism will have distinct sets of challenges, needs, and strengths.

Symptoms of Autism

Symptoms of autism can be easily diagnosed as early as the first year of life, but are usually overlooked by parents. It’s important to keep a close eye on your children’s behavior and not to ignore abnormal manners or actions. Following are the most common tell-tale signs of autism in children:

  1. No babbling or laughing along with parents by 1 year of age

  2. Not pointing to objects of interest by 14 months of age

  3. Difficulty in saying first words till approx 36 months of age

  4. Difficulty in communicating and interactions

  5. Lack of joy and happiness

  6. Lack of facial expressions

  7. Lack of sensory sensitivities

  8. Fixation on certain objects

  9. Avoiding physical contact

How A Natural Diet Helps In Relieving Symptoms of Autism 

To date, there is no fixed treatment for autism, and no medical diagnosis. However, researchers have proved time and again that diet and nutrition can make a big difference in children with autism.

A natural and healthy diet not only helps in promoting healthier growth but also helps in maintaining blood sugar levels, preventing food allergies, and nutrient deficiency. There are compelling reasons for autistic children to switch to organic and natural diets. Let’s analyze some benefits of a natural diet for autistic individuals:

1. Balances Sugar Levels

Many children with autism develop intolerance to refined sugar. Their bodies cannot handle sugar intake, and maintaining a balanced level of sugar becomes quite a challenge. So in many cases, it is recommended to cut down sugar intake and switch to natural sugars like jaggery and dates. 

Recommended Diet - A diet filled with protein and fiber is one of the best options to ensure a slow sugar release. Include more legumes, pulses, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Also, reduce carbohydrates or serve unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains) to ensure balanced blood sugar.

2. Improves Digestion

Many individuals with autism suffer from bowel irregularities. This is mainly because of the undigested gluten and casein that later get mixed into the bloodstream, affecting the nervous system. 

Recommended Diet - To improve digestion and relieve constipation, reduce consumption of foods like wheat, barley, rye, dairy products, and milk. Switch to naturally gluten-free foods like potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain rice.

3. Cures Fat Deficiencies

Fat deficiencies are common in people with autism. Researchers believe that children with autism have an enzymatic defect that leads to the removal of essential fats from brain cells. Due to this, an autistic child needs a higher intake of healthy fats, such as omega-3.

Recommended Diet - A diet rich in omega-3 helps manage hyperactivity, inflammation, and improves the overall wellness of autistic individuals. Natural and plant-based sources of Omega-3 fats are walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. 

4. Provides essential Vitamins and Minerals

According to Dr. Bernard Rimland of the Institute for Child Behavior Research, San Diego, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Magnesium significantly ease the symptoms in autistic individuals. 

Recommended Diet - Regularly eat fresh fruits and vegetables (with peel, for maximum benefit), nuts, seeds, chickpeas, beans, and whole grains for a natural dose of vitamins and minerals. Avoid processed and deep-fried foods. 

Challenges in serving a proper diet

Autistic individuals develop narrow and restricted interests or food choices, which affect their nutrition. This can become a challenge for many parents. The main reasons behind such type of behaviors are:

1. Lack of focus: Kids with autism face a hard time focusing on one task which makes it impossible for these kids to sit down patiently and eat.

2. Limited food likings: An individual with autism can be sensitive to taste, smell, and color. This might limit their interest in certain foods.

3. Improper digestion: Most of the time, autistic kids are scheduled on prolonged courses of antibiotic drugs for hearing and respiratory infections. These antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the gut (microbiota) which leads to constipation or other gastrointestinal conditions. 

Strategies to Feed Nutritious Diet to Autistic Kids or Individuals:

An autistic child may need intense care depending on the severity of the condition. Many parents get circumstanced and find it tough to follow proper routines. The strategies enlisted below can help parents or caregivers provide optimum nutrition to autistic kids/ individuals:

1. Make a mealtime routine: Even slight changes in the light conditions, furniture, bowls, and food color can be potential stressors for an autistic child. It’s best to serve meals in the same tableware, at the same place, and possibly at the same time every day. This will remove the mealtime struggle of making them sit and eat well.

2. Stay calm & patient: Looking after an individual with autism requires a lot of patience. Due to their hyper or hypo sensitivities, it is hard to introduce them to a new diet or food. The best way to tackle this situation is to let them be comfortable with the food first at their own pace, and not forcing your decisions on them. Give them time to explore the taste and texture of any new food.

3. Seek guidance: Consult a dietician, get your child regularly checked for food allergies and other limitations before making any changes in their food habits. Always stay in touch with a professional to avoid any risks.

Wellcure’s e-learning programs Everyday Dairy Free Delights & Indian Healthy Rasoi will guide you in a step-by-step manner on making gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and tasty recipes, along with the tips on transitioning to healthier food options.

Autistic children need special care while growing up. It is essential for their development and well being that they are given adequate time, care, love, and regular diagnosis. Simple changes in diet and food habits can show tremendous improvements in their symptoms. So, choose better and act wisely.

 

 



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.

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