April 19, 2023

How Does My Child’s Diet Impact Their Wellbeing?

Good nutrition is essential for both the physical and emotional wellbeing of children. When children have a well-balanced diet, they get all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals essential for the healthy growth and development of their bodies and minds. Healthy nutrition significantly impacts a child’s mental health, wellbeing, learning, and behaviour.

Poor nutrition is associated with mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, and other mental health challenges in children. A diet lacking in essential nutrients can negatively impact their cognitive function and emotional stability, leading to behavioural challenges. It’s not always easy (or inexpensive) to feed our children nutrient-dense foods; however, the short and long-term benefits regarding their mental health are well worth exploring.

Here are some reasons why good nutrition is essential for positive mental health in children:

Improved Cognitive Function:

Nutrition affects cognitive function, which is responsible for a child’s learning, memory, and attention abilities. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and D, and antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables, can improve children’s cognitive function. These essential nutrients are crucial for brain development and can enhance a child’s ability to focus, problem-solve, and learn.

Better Mood and Emotional Stability:

Good nutrition can impact a child’s mood and emotional stability. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help regulate the body’s serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation. Foods like fish, nuts, and seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, have mood-boosting effects and can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in children.

Healthy Nervous System:

A diet that is high in sugar, saturated fats and ultra-processed foods is a major contributing factor to stress on the body. A body that is not receiving enough nutrients will automatically go into a distressed state – the Red Pathway of fight/flight and this disturbs the healthy balance between the Red (sympathetic) and Green (parasympathetic) Pathways, which we need to function at our best.

Improved Sleep Quality:

Nutrition can also impact the quality of sleep, which plays a crucial role in maintaining good mental health. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats can help regulate sleep hormones and promote better sleep. Children who get adequate sleep have better cognitive performance, emotional stability, and behavioural control.

At Calm Kids, we work closely with Naturopaths and Nutritionists specialising in children’s nutritional and gut health. If you would like to learn more about how your child’s diet may impact their emotional health and wellbeing, please contact us, or speak to your child’s therapist.

With Gratitude