The Science & Healing of Traditional Diets for Autism

Do the foods that nourished cultures for centuries nourish children today? Are their healing aspects and lessons to be learned? 

With our modern industrialized world and the epidemic of autism facing our children, one might wonder if this traditional way of eating is still applicable and appropriate, and if the science is supportive.  

From my extensive research and clinical experience, I say yes. Substantive science, research, and common sense support the role of traditional foods in healing autism.

Autism is a physiological disorder—multiple body systems are affected: digestion, immune function, detoxification, and cellular/metabolic function. This underlying biochemistry adversely affects cognition and behavior. Traditional diets help support these systems for individuals with autism by providing a framework for optimal nourishment, avoidance of chemicals and food additives, reduction of refined carbohydrates and sugar, introduction of fermented foods, and use of traditional farming and cooking techniques.  

These foods and principles aid digestion, reduce inflammation, boost immune function, reduce total toxic load while supporting detoxification, and enhance cellular and brain function for improved cognition and behavior.  Preferred foods include: Pastured meat and eggs, cod liver oil, local produce, lacto-fermented foods, and soaked/fermented grains, seeds, and beans—and help to provide proper nutrition and good bacteria that supports digestive function. 

The principles and practices of traditional cultures and the traditional diets they followed serve as a foundation of a healing diet for autism – they bolster the effectiveness of any dietary intervention, and aid systemic healing for children.  Because of this, I want to lay out the science and research behind these traditional diets and how they support people with autism.

Read my article from the Autism File Magazine, and learn about:
  • A new understanding and model of autism
  • Science of the biochemistry of autism
  • How traditional diets and food support and aid healing of the underlying biochemistry and body systems
  • GFCF diet and Specific Carbohydrate Diet/GAPS diet and their link to traditional diets
Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist, and author of Nourishing Hope for Autism.  Visit: NourishingHope.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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