What if it’s certain types of foods that make kids aggressive? Nowadays, we are more and more concerned about our brain chemistry. The chemistry that gives birth to our feelings of happiness, fulfillment, joy and enthusiasm, as well as those of despair, depression, aggression and loneliness.
We live during times when the incidence rate of ADHD is constantly rising. A coincidence or not, the choices we are offered regarding our plates are also rapidly increasing.
Nowadays we have shelves and shelves of unhealthy, processed food choices, many of whom come with labels that promise to add quality nutritional values to your diet. Given that many children are falsely diagnosed with ADHD, we are obligated to make sure it’s not the food intolerance that pushes your kid over the edge. There are foods that make kids aggressive, cranky and irritable, especially if their diet includes at least 2-3 of them, more than once or twice a week.
The Food-Mood Connection
If you expect to start feeling cheery right after eating an apple, you’re reading the wrong Healthy Living book. It doesn’t work like that, in fact, you are probably going to feel a lot worse before you feel better. Just like it takes fats, years and years to damage your cardiovascular system, your body needs months, even years to work with the new nutritional “installation”.
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The study results are different, but the majority of them show there’s a connection between the foods we eat and our moods. There are foods that make you aggressive, that disrupt the usual work of our bodily functions, that exhaust our body and make us cranky. Mixed results is all we’ll ever get from studies, but the ones showing the effects foods have on our behavior are pretty scary. Read on to see which might be the foods that make kids aggressive, and you may even locate the guilty party for your bad mood.
Foods That Cause Bad Moods
When it comes to the food mood connection, there is a whole page of studies which prove that there are certain foods that cause irritability, depression, aggression, and an overall negative state of mind and body (and spirit). Here are the top 5 groups:
Known as the sugar rush, is the fleeting feeling that you can do anything. But this feeling is just that – a fleeting reaction, and a physical one at best. What’s left is a bulk of energy you can’t properly use, so it starts to interact with your brain, your fat deposits and the work of your internal organs. All parents know too much sugar will keep your child up later than their bedtime. With candy during the day, the storyline gets even crazier. Your child gets irritable because they have all this extra energy they can’t waste in a healthy outlet like sports, so they run around, acting crazy and you wonder if a full-time babysitter will make your life a little easier. The bad news is: sugar is in almost everything we eat. The good news is: there are healthy sugars. Replace the white sugar that comes with candy and chocolate with fruits, and you’ll get the right amount of sugar your body craves.
Sugary foods always look delicious. Their bright and yummy colors never come from the ingredients. Manufacturers use artificial colors to lure us into their candy stores. But artificial colors are nowadays banned in many countries. When parents think their child is hyperactive because of too much sugar, the real culprit may be the dangerous artificial coloring. The chemicals used to make the candy colorful are known to cause behavioral changes, like ADHD and anxiety and well as headaches.
When we do our weekly shopping we rarely take a closer look at all the labels on our products. We make sure our juice has the recommended amount of real fruit in it and that it does not contain artificial colors. But what about preservatives? They are in every type of food that is meant to have a longer shelf life. That means all packaged products, including juices, deli meats and healthy snacks. Manufacturers use nitrites, nitrates and sodium benzoate to preserve their goods, and MSG or monosodium glutamate is what makes the juice boxes stay on shelves for months without spoiling. All these are known to change brain chemistry, cause headaches and hyperactive mind and body. Of course, we can’t avoid all of these products altogether, but we can try to limit their intake to a minimum.
Intolerance to dairy is often blamed for a child’s aggressive behavior. Allergy to the proteins in dairy and lactose intolerance can change a child’s mood and behavior. Many kids with these conditions, especially before they are diagnosed, can be cranky and irritable, sometimes even aggressive. Babies with dairy intolerance are colicky and upset and toddlers can become inconsolable and easily irritable.
Just because a food allergen doesn’t cause a noticeable physical symptom, like a rash, it doesn’t mean it’s not changing your kid’s bodily chemistry. The most common allergens are eggs, nuts, corn, soy and dairy, so try to eliminate them if you notice your child is becoming cranky after eating them.
The Food-Mood Link May Be In Your Head
If you’re on board on the healthy eating train, imagine eating a whole bag of chips, with fried onion dip. Then a sandwich laced with mayo, and delicious deli meat. Get your hands covered with sugar from eating a bunch of donuts and follow up with a huge glass of coke. You probably feel depressed already, without even touching the stuff. Now imagine eating lettuce wraps, made out of chopped pieces of lean meat, steamed artichokes, corn, spinach and a spoon of moist feta cheese, to bind them all. You probably feel healthier, happier and more relaxed knowing you’ve made the healthier choice.
If eating unhealthy will damage your health in the long run, just imagine how many health issues you will avoid if you regularly supply your body with vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients from healthy foods. Of course, the connection between food and our mood is not just wishful imagery. Your mood will improve just by making the decision to take care of your body and the health of your family. You will lift your moods when picking the right foods, cooking them and then sharing them with your family. Teach your kids about the differences, so they can train their mind to accept the healthy choices as positive choices. Of course, we can never avoid certain unhealthy foods, because unfortunately, kids love them. But we can always follow up with healthy meals and foods that make up for our unhealthy choices.