For many, the start of a new year is marked with many personal health and fitness goals. With fad diets coming in and out of trend, many are now questioning their dietary choices. For individuals on the spectrum, consuming balanced meals may be more challenging than expected. Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more likely to have complex dietary restrictions including food allergies, sensitivities, and aversions.
Studies have shown that failure to adhere to a proper diet contributes to the worsening of ASD. Furthermore, roughly 90 percent of individuals with ASD will experience a form of dietary concerns or challenges, with significant food allergies being the most common.
For the limited ten percent who may not suffer from significant allergies or dietary restrictions, food challenges typically stem from “picky eating” or refusal. While nutrient deficiencies may be addressed by utilizing vitamin supplements, nothing fully compares to deriving nutrients directly from the natural source.
So how can we ensure our loved ones are receiving the vital nutrients to thrive?
Dietary balances will vary from individual to individual. However, finding the right, unique food plan is essential in managing ASD. The steps listed below can provide a great starting point for those seeking to improve their dietary habits to regulate their ASD symptoms:
- Locate Triggers – Spend time devoting special attention to foods that are consumed when ASD is worsened. Common triggers include: dairy, gluten, and processed foods. Once triggers are identified, actively remove these items from the diet.
- Select Aligned Diet – Once triggers are identified and removed from the diet, study common diets that align with these restrictions. Some popular diets that have shown success in supporting ASD include: Gluten-free, dairy-free, and ketogenic diets.
- Monitor Symptoms – Once the new diet has been implemented, monitor symptoms on a daily basis. Specifically, monitor the symptoms that worsened when trigger foods were consumed.
This is not a battle that you have to fight alone. If you are concerned about your diet and nutrition intake, please consult with your doctor to find the best ASD aligned diet for you.