Autism and Nutrition | Eating for Better Health

Autism and Nutrition | Eating for Better Health

“You are what you eat” is an expression we’ve all heard countless times. Nutrition does impact your health, and it plays an even larger role in the lives of those on the spectrum. Let’s take a closer look at the links between autism and nutrition, and how the two impact each other.

Autism & Nutrition

As many parents, caregivers, and teachers know, individuals with autism often have food aversions and food sensitivities. This makes mealtimes challenging and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Researchers have found that children on the spectrum overall have a lower than average intake of calcium and protein. These deficiencies can lead to health issues, since calcium is needed to build strong bones and protein is important for mental development and growth. Researchers recommend that families work with their health providers to make sure their loved one’s nutritional needs are met.

Shannon Penrod at Autism Live shares some wonderful tips for families with kids. In her video about Healthy Eating for Kids on the Spectrum she goes over the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15.” Her information and advice will help you improve your family’s nutrition.

Alternative Diets

Many families and individuals have reported that autism symptoms and medical issues improve with changed diets. A lot of this evidence is anecdotal, and more research is needed, but they are still options you may wish to consider and discuss with your health care provider.

Dan from The Aspie World shares his personal experience with changing his diet. While he doesn’t endorse any specific diet, he does share what worked for him and why it worked. He encourages all his viewers to take an active role in choosing a diet that supports a healthy lifestyle.

Current Research

As mentioned earlier, there is still a lot more research needed to conclusively show links between the impact of nutrition on autism. There are several current studies that show a correlation between diet and autism development that families may wish to consider. 

Dr. James Adams of Arizona State University has spent the last 15 years researching the effectiveness of nutritional interventions for autism. He found that children who receive nutritional intervention make more developmental progress than those who did not have intervention. His recommendations could be helpful to families with young children on the spectrum.

Dr. Asma Sadiq has reviewed many of the common diets that are thought to address symptoms of autism. His video review discusses some of the trends, such as the popular gluten-free, casein-free diet, and results. His discussion is relevant for anyone on the spectrum who is dealing with gastrointestinal issues.

Like so much else with life on the spectrum, there are often more questions than answers. Our free video library is a resource that helps you find solutions to the problems that keep you up at night. We have an entire section devoted to nutrition where you can see the latest trends, research, and developments in this important area.

Do you still have questions about autism and nutrition? Our resource guide will assist you in finding help near you. 

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