With Science establishing a link between irritating activity in the small intestine, which makes it more permeable and “leaky,” allowing foreign proteins into the bloodstream, this leaky gut causes either direct poisoning of the nervous system (the proteins essentially act like neurotoxins, as in autism) or creates antibody formation in reaction to these abnormal proteins (which is the process of auto-immune illness). Leaky gut causes a lot of discomfort in children with autism due to these neurotoxins. Based on research, the gut is best healed with a clean diet. Follow these simple steps of ‘DOs’ as a guide to getting your child on a healthy diet and on the road to recovery.
- Do GFCF: The most common of such diets is the Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF). A Parent surveys done by The Autism Research Institute (US) list the GFCF Diet as one of the most Successful Interventions for the Treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Gluten is the protein found mainly in wheat and barley and casein is the protein in dairy products. A GFCF diet will do your child a world of good if you are able to achieve it.
- Do Soups: popularly called ‘pepper soup’ in our culture and chicken soup in western cultures. Soups have been known to have healing remedies in the body and are usually fed to the sick for a speedy recovery. Chicken and meat broths are especially gentle and help in healing the gut. There are however some concerns about fish and other seafood due to the presence of metals in most of them. Avoiding them might be a good idea.
- Do fresh and natural: fruits and vegetables contain a lot of natural unprocessed nutrients good in aiding digestion.
- Do organic: also defined as food produce grown without chemical fertilizers and stored without the aid of pesticides. Animals grazed free range and antibiotics free. Local chicken and other free range meats like beef and goat fall in this category. Where possible, plant a vegetable garden at your backyard for your healthy uncompromising supply.
- Do water: lots and lots of clean good drinking water helps in cleansing and neutralizing some of the effects of unwanted substances in the body.
- Do from scratch: processed and pre-packaged food usually contain additives and preservatives as manufacturers try to enhance taste and to give a longer shelf life. Let your rule of thumb be making everything your child eats from scratch as much as possible. This might not be easy but the results will be worth the effort.
- Do Creative: read wide and learn as much as you can. Be creative and innovative in making your child’s meals. Taking out some foods you are accustomed to might seem to limit your choices but creativity will help in making your seemingly limited range into a wide exciting variety for example, Beans can be made in different ways – porridge, moi-moi or akara.
Healing the gut will reduce discomfort, food sensitivity and allergies thereby improving behavior and learning in children with ASD.