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Bad mood food: Avoid these grumpy baddies!

Other than providing the body’s building blocks, the food our children eat also influences the way they behave. Avoid or limit including these bad mood foods in your child’s diet.

The age-old belief that a healthy body equals a healthy mind could not ring truer than it does today. With the rise in the amount of junk and processed foods we are feeding our kids, we have to wonder how much this has to do with the subsequent rise in behavioural problems.

Of course, in most cases, the causes are multifactorial, and each child needs to be looked at holistically – from an emotional, social, medical, and nutritional standpoint. Still, the role that diet plays can be powerful in helping children overcome their issues.

Identify your child bad mood food triggers


Several dietary ‘negative’ behavioural triggers have been identified. Your child may be reacting to none, one, or all of these. The best advice is to monitor your child and try and identify his own personal triggers.

An irritable, anxious child is often just suffering from hypoglycaemia (or low blood sugar). After a meal, all food (carbohydrates, in particular) gets broken down into a usable form of energy for the body – glucose. It’s the main energy source for cells, and more importantly, for growing brains. Insulin is the hormone responsible for ultimately getting the glucose shuttled into our cells to be used for energy. A subsequent rise in insulin levels follow a meal, glucose gets taken into the cells, and blood sugar drops to normal. However, when the body receives a huge glucose load, the rise and fall in blood sugar becomes more pronounced, and blood sugar can fall too low.

Avoid these foods as much as possible:

  • Refined carbohydrates: Processed cereals, pastries, white, and other refined products are the main culprits. So, feed your child a sweetened, refined bowl of cereal in the morning, and chances are he’ll be cranky by 10:00.
  • Sugar: Excess consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates has been scientifically linked to behavioural disorders, problems with concentration, and mood disorders.

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