Often children who exhibit a lot of uncontrollable energy – either through restlessness or excessive talking – are labelled hyperactive. If you find your own child constantly bouncing off furniture, talking or yelling all the time or always restless and impatient, you might want to look what your child is eating. What you eat not only impacts physical health but mental health as well. There are some foods that have been scientifically proven to cause hyperactivity in children.
Here are five such foods that your child must avoid:
- Sweets: Whether Indian store bought mithai or western candies, all sweets are loaded with sugar and even food colours. Both sugar and food colouring have been proven to show a marked increase in hyperactivity in children.
- Carbonated soft drinks: When you have a child prone to hyperactivity, try to avoid buying any kind of sugared soda drink. Popular colas have caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and food colouring. Studies have shown that young children who drink a lot of soda are not only more hyperactive but also show a higher tendency towards aggression.
- Fish and Seafood: While fish and seafood are a great source of protein, many fish and seafood have trace amounts of mercury. When eaten, mercury is not easily digested and is accumulated in the brain. Over time, this mercury exacerbates symptoms of hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
- Food allergens: Have you considered that your child might be allergic to certain types of food? If your child is allergic to milk, wheat, eggs, chocolate, soya beans, corn, oranges, etc, he/she might exhibit inattentive and hyperactive behaviours. Test to see what your child might be allergic to by closely observing what foods trigger these behaviours most and then eliminating that from their diet for a week or two.
- Junk Food: As you well know, junk food like chips, cookies, store bought cakes with icing, instant noodles, juices, etc are all very bad for health. Not only can they cause obesity, but more and more people observe that these nutritionally-bare foods can cause hyperactivity in children. This is because these foods contain additives like preservatives, food colouring and flavourings that are known to cause ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) like symptoms.
While it seems like common sense to avoid candy and junk food, we often find ourselves tempting our children to behave and control their hyperactive impulses with the promise of a candy, soda or a trip to a fast food joint. As a parent, plan your child’s meals more consciously. Include greens, loads of fresh fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates. If your child longs for a sweet snack, bake at home or find a good home-baker who can supply you with healthy and hearty cakes and cookies without any additives and a little lower in sugar. Make tasty and healthy easy Indian sweets at home.
Overall, make all efforts to steer your child towards healthy food options and you will slowly observe changes in your child’s behaviour.