Our brains are 60% fat. It goes without saying then, that our brains need fat to function appropriately. However, in the standard American diet, we aren't necessarily getting enough fat nor the right type of fat. Over the years fat got a bad reputation and everyone started eliminating fat and going on low fat diets. However, fat is actually very healthy and essential for us but it has to be the right ones. In this post, we will explore one type of fat that is essential, especially with kids on the spectrum, whose brains need a lot of fat!
Omega 3's are the type of fat that you want to make sure your child is including in their diet. Omega 3's are found in fish; especially cold water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Omega 3's can also be found in avocados, walnuts, grass fed butter and flaxseeds. The human body does not make omega 3's naturally, so therefore we must consume this nutrient. Based on the foods listed above and knowing most kids on the spectrum have food issues, it is safe to say most of these kids are probably deficient in omega 3's. Your pediatrician can run a blood test to see if your child is indeed deficient.
Signs and symptoms of Omega 3 deficiency include:
Lack of focus
Excess ear wax
Keratosis pilaris (chicken skin)
If your child is not eating a diet rich in omega 3's, then supplementation would be required. There are many different ways to get this supplement into your child's diet. You can buy the liquid form, which yes, has a fishy smell and taste. It can then be disguised in their food such a smoothie, pudding, yogurt or juice. Some parents have had success with mixing with honey. As your child gets older, they can take the fish oil in a capsule and just swallow with some water. Talk with your healthcare provider about what type, brand and how much of this supplement your child should be taking.
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