Food Allergies: Can Gluten & Dairy Affect Kids Mental Health?

by Sese Kittre
Food Allergies: Can Gluten & Dairy Affect Kids Mental Health?

Food plays a very important role in development of children. They provide the much needed nutrients which is essential especially in the early years of development. With that being said, not everyone is able to enjoy different variety of food particularly due to food allergies and this is quite apparent with children. Parents can have a hard time dealing with food allergies making it problematic to some. A common question that often arises to several parents is regarding food allergies. Can Gluten & Dairy Affect Kids Mental Health?

You will find wheat and related grains, including barley and rye to be full of gluten which is a mixture of proteins. Its primary role is to gives elasticity to dough which in turn helps it rise and keep its shape. As a result, a chewy texture is often produced in the final product. Not everyone however is able to enjoy gluten particularly ones with celiac disease.

Celiac disease is known is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Pain and discomfort in the digestive tract, chronic constipation and diarrhea, failure to thrive (in children), anemia and fatigue are included in their symptoms however, these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described. This can make auditory processing disorder and learning difficulties quite a challenge for some parents especially since food intake is limited to children.

Another issue is with dairy products as there are some people who are quite allergic to them as well. The inability of adults and children to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent dairy product causing side effects is known as lactose intolerance.  Also, there are some cases in which babies have congenital lactase deficiency, preventing them from being able to digest even human milk. Symptoms may include abdominal bloating and cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, rumbling stomach, or vomiting after consuming significant amounts of lactose in most cases.

The need for supplements is the real problem that many lactose intolerant people who consciously or unconsciously avoid milk are not aware of. Calcium deficiency which leads to osteoporosis is one of the important long-term health consequences of lactose intolerance. However, calcium and vitamin D supplements can help prevent both of these health issues.

“Let Food Be Your Medicine and Medicine Be Your Food” as quoted by Hippocrates. This is indeed quite true and many consider this to be the best medicine when battling depression. With that being said, due to food allergies not everyone is able to enjoy a huge variety of food as their dishes can get limited. Children do feel that they are being deprived with regards to the food that they want which can affect their mental health. This is the reason why parents need to make sure that their kids understand the situation that they are in providing the love and attention that they require.

If your children have food allergies, don’t make them feel that their food selection is limited. There are indeed a lot of options with regards to dairy free as well as gluten free products that are available in the market as well as in several restaurants.