Through intuition parents know the impact of certain foods on their child’s behaviour and mood. For example, we all know that sugar can cause hyperactivity. But sugar is not the only mood altering ingredient. There are other snacks and meals that do the same. The following foods may affect your child’s mood and behaviour.
Dairy can cause mood and behaviour changes in your child, particularly if they are lactose intolerant or allergic to proteins found in dairy. Children with dairy allergies tend to suffer from colds and ear infections. Babies may show colicky symptoms. Toddlers and older children may become irritable.
The Chemicals in artificial colouring may have detrimental effects on children. They are linked to ADHD, anxiety, hyperactivity, behavioural changes and headaches in children. Artificial colouring is often hidden in unexpected foods such as bread and yoghurt. Avoid products with yellow No. 5, red No. 40, and blue No. 1, if you’re worried about your child’s mood swings after consuming food with artificial coloring.
Sugar can cause a child to be hyperactive. Unless they’re eating a whole foods-based diet, sugar is in just about everything the average child eats. Sugar has been shown to cause long-term health damage, and a diet high in processed foods has been linked to depression, cognitive delay, and sleep problems.
Several preservatives may cause behavioural problems in children. They include but are not limited to nitrates, nitrites, and sodium benzoate. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer that also causes mood and behaviour changes, including headaches and hyperactivity. Sodium benzoate is commonly found in juices specifically marketed toward kids.
Common food allergens are dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, and corn. When a child has an intolerance or an allergy to a particular food, it can cause significant health and behaviour issues. It is hard to tell which allergen is causing your child’s sickness. It is a good to consult an allergist in such situations. A food allergy is often missed and a child is instead diagnosed with ADHD.
Consider keeping a food journal where you track all the foods that your child consumes. Try to eliminate all the suspicious food sources to see if your child’s behaviour changes. Make sure that your child is not suffering from something that can be easily fixed before getting worried about your child’s behavioural problems.