Can Foods Cause Anxiety In Your Child?

Apr 10, 2023

Can Foods Cause Anxiety In Your Child?

Yes! Food that quickly raises and then drop his/her blood sugar can cause anxiety. A few examples include:

  • Fruit juices that are low in fiber
  • Toast or other sources of highly processed white flour
  • Soda and Coffee or other caffeinated sources
  • Frosting or other sources of sugar that are loaded with transfats
  • Fried foods or other sources of high transfats
  • Condiments like Ketchup that contain artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial colors or Natural flavors found in many foods marketed to children

What Foods Can improve Anxiety?

Many foods can be used as medicine. Some of the following can help specifically with anxiety:

  • Asparagus because it is high in fiber, potassium, and other elements with anti-anxiety properties
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Fatty fish like Salmon and Tuna because they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eggs and Avocados because they are high in B vitamins and healthy fats that protect the brain

What Other Natural Things Can Help Anxiety?

THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL! While we know medication can be life changing and life saving, it should never be the ONLY intervention for any type of health condition. If the following are not optimized, your child's anxiety and health will be in flux:

  • Nutrition: Avoid high and low blood sugar, avoid anemia, avoid dyes/additives. Elimination diets may need to be tried to see if there are any potential triggers upon reintroduction.
  • Daily activity
  • Hydration: Ideally you should consume 67% in body weight in ounces of liquid per day
  • Natural sunlight: At least 20 minutes a day of sunlight exposure helps maintain a normal circadian rhythm and optimize vitamin D levels
  • Sleep: Aim for 8-10 hours per night, some children/adolescents may need more and some may need less
  • Meditation/Prayer: One study in children with ADHD show a significant reduction in anxiety sleep problems (both often common in children with ADHD) after using a digital meditation application. Another recent study in adults showed that regular meditation was as effective as anxiety medication! 
  • Talk to a counselor: And/or use music, art or equine therapy as outlets
  • Kid-friendly books: Like Captain Snout or What To Do When You Worry Too Much

What To Do During an Acute Attack?

Teach your child deep breathing exercises and model them (this is a bonus for you too as it helps regulate your nervous system as well!):

  • Diaphragmatic or Belly Breathing. Put a toy or a book on his/her stomach, and ask him/her to make the book move up and down. 
  • Box Breathing : Breathe in through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out of the mouth slowly for 4, then hold for 4.

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