Does your child have trouble slowing down or sitting still? Take a closer look if there are items in their diet that could be causing this hyperactivity. Read on for foods that cause hyperactivity and the right nutrition to calm them down.
The type of diet that your child eats will affect their mood. For example, there is increasing evidence that food additives are responsible for hyperactivity in children. Artificial food colourings, preservatives and other additives are becoming more and more implicated in excitable behaviour in youngsters. In one recent study, researchers found that removing food additives from the diet of a group of 3-year-olds caused a reduction in the hyperactive behaviour that had been reported by their parents. When the food colourings and preservatives were added back into the children’s diets, the parents reported an increase in hyperactivity. The study proved to be far from conclusive, but the researchers felt that if the findings were confirmed by further studies, the removal of food additives from children’s diets might help to reduce their long-term risk of behavioural problems.
It’s not just additives that can make children behave in a hyperactive fashion. Foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, such as white rice and white flour products, have what’s known as a ‘high glycaemic index.’ The glycaemic index measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels and those foods that are high on this list are more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. This can cause a quick rise and then decline in blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycaemic index, including whole grains, are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream and have a more gradual effect on blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels have dropped after high glycaemic foods have been eaten, it triggers the release of counter ‘stress’ hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can produce feelings of restlessness, anxiety and irritability. In children who are naturally energetic by nature, the result can mean outbursts of hyperactivity.
If you are worried that your child is developing signs of hyperactivity, before heading off to the doctor’s, you should try and change aspects of their diet to establish whether food could possibly be the cause. Try the following steps to see if you can help calm your hyperactive child down:
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