Have you ever wondered if what you are feeding your child is affecting how they behave?
Many parents are starting to notice the difference that removing food additives, colourings and preservatives can make – but for some children, the problem is more extensive than that.
Some children react to naturally occurring food chemicals that can be found in many healthy foods. Reactions can occur up to 48 hours after exposure, making it difficult for parents to connect the behaviour to the foods eaten.
Children who react to food chemicals may display symptoms such as:
- poor bladder control (including bedwetting)
- digestive problems
- eczema or other skin conditions
- headaches or migraines
- aggressive behaviour
- sleeping problems
Salicylates, amines and glutamates are three food chemicals that may cause issues for children.
Salicylates are the most common of the three to cause problems. They are found in many foods, including a large number of fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, honey and yeast extracts. They can also be found in cosmetics, flavourings and some medications (such as aspirin).
Amines are in fermented foods, cheese, chocolate, canned fish, bananas, avocados and tomatoes.
Glutamates occur naturally in foods such as tomatoes, yeast extracts, soy sauces and cheeses, and are also added to foods in the form of MSG.
Isolating the problem foods can be very difficult as children may react to more that one group of food chemicals, and many foods are high in multiple food chemicals. If you suspect your child may have a food intolerance problem, it is always best to seek the advice of a qualified health professional before removing any foods, as they can advise you on how to ensure your child is still getting a healthy, balanced diet.
By Rebecca Milham, Naturopath/Nutritionist, The Natural Health & Wellness Clinic