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Avoiding and preventing mental disorders in children such as depression, ADHD, and more by Mirna Sabbagh, Nutritionist and IBCLC (lactation consultant) at myPediaclinic in Dubai

Mirna Sabbagh, nutritionist and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at myPediaclinic (Voted best pediatric clinic in Dubai) discusses the link between nutrition and mental health in adults and children in the following article in addition to an interview at the bottom of the post.

How does nutrition affect mental health?

A Vit A nutritional deficiency not only causes weak eyes, but can also lead to blindness and death. By the same token, other nutritional deficiencies such as Vit E, Vit D, Zinc, folate, and omega 3 and omega 6 can cause mental disorders. The exact mechanism is still not known as the research is now compiling on the topic. Many mental disorders are being cured simply with vitamin and mineral supplements as we speak. What we know for sure, optimal brain health needs optimal nutrition starting from pregnancy, infancy, and beyond. At myPediaclinic we advise all mothers to do nutrition counseling during pregnancy on optimal nutrition and the avoidance of chemicals as part of our disease prevention program. In addition to continuing to educate parents on optimal nutrition starting the very first bite of food that goes into the baby’s mouth.

Sugar, addiction, depression and ADHD

We also know that white sugar and refined grains (white sugar, white rice, white flour) cause peaks and drops in blood sugar level, causing hyperactivity followed by quick withdrawal making the child feel sad and upset. A child’s attitude and excess movement can be explained many times through their fluctuations in blood glucose levels. So can their attention span. Sugar intake has also been linked to depression and more likelihood of schizophrenia. A key to a calm child or individual is regulated blood glucose levels. New research is also pointing to the fact that sugar is addictive, as sugar turns on the same areas of the brain as cocaine.

Chemicals and mental disorders

Highly processed foods also contain a list of ingredients and chemicals half of which even health professionals do not know their role or have heard of their name. Evidence is emerging that shows that  pesticides are causing mental disorders especially exposure under the age of 15. Many questions arise when it comes to mental health and nutrition and new research will only bring more and more insight. As parents however, seek help with a nutritionist knowledgeable about the topic and make sure you are getting all the nutrients and minerals during pregnancy, and also for your child starting 6 months.

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