Mood swings, erratic outbursts, kicking, biting, learning issues or hyperactivity. Does this sound like your child?
Sure, all children “act-up” from time to time, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, perhaps there is something else going on? Something like a sensitivity to the everyday foods that they are eating.
Today we are exposed to so many different food chemicals in our diet, such as artificial food additives, colourings, sweeteners and preservatives, not to mention the naturally-occurring compounds found in lots of healthy fruits and veggies such as salicylates. Environmental allergens or the chemicals in toiletries may also be adding to their toxic burden.
Often the foods that are causing the most issues are those that they either crave or tend to eat a lot of. Some children react to gluten and dairy too.
So, what can you do about it? Here are 5 simple tips that you can do initially:
1. Keep a food and symptom diary to see if you can make a connection between what they are eating and their behaviour.
2. Eliminate all processed and packaged foods from their diet. This might be a bit tricky at first so start by avoiding those foods with lots of ingredients, especially the unpronounceable ones! For example, look out for plainer varieties of crackers or choose natural yoghurts and add fresh fruit, rather than buying the additive-laden varieties.
3. If you suspect that they might be reacting to the gluten in wheat (also found in rye, barley and oats) try using alternatives.
4. If the protein in dairy is causing a few issues, then first see if your child improves on A2 milk products; if there is no change then trying dairy-free alternatives such as nut-milks and coconut milk may be the next step.
5. As salicylates are a group of natural chemicals that more and more children are reacting to, see if any of these very-high salicylate foods make their symptoms worse:
These are just some general tips. To make sure that your child is getting all the nutrients and foods that they need for growth and development. It might be worth speaking to a health professional qualified in nutrition and food sensitivities.