We’ve all heard the phrases “go with your gut instinct” and “to have butterflies”, but have you ever wondered what they actually mean? The relationship between our body and mind is exceptionally complex, with the gut-brain connection being especially powerful. So powerful in fact, that nourishing your gut can directly improve your mental health! For people on the Autism spectrum, prioritizing mental health is absolutely essential. So, how exactly can autistic people support all facets of their health? I want to share my own story with you, some natural remedies for autism, including foods that help my autism m symptoms such as IBS and joint pain, and in doing so, hope to inspire fellow neurodivergent minds!
Growing up, I always knew I was different. Not only were my interests unique to those of my peers, but the way I perceived the world and managed myself was often hard for others to grasp. I have always had an intense desire for predictability and routine, and a strong aversion to change and surprises. I was an incredibly picky eater, and found comfort in knowing that tonight’s dinner would be the same as it was yesterday. A heightened awareness of what was to come gave me a sense of trust in the world, a concept that is often unfamiliar to autistic people.
Many autistic individuals go through life feeling like they need to hide the very parts of themselves that make them unique. We put on a mask of who we believe we should be, which results in exhaustion and crippling anxiety. To counteract these feelings of unease and fear, we become obsessed with our rituals, routines, and interests. In a world that is constantly changing, at least we can always trust these parts of our life will stay the same.
Of course, there’s only so much unease the mind can handle before it manifests physically. Research has found that neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine are not only produced in the brain, but also in the gut! Autistic people tend to have abnormal levels of neurochemicals, which can cause imbalances in the gut. The result is a variety of gut issues such as IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and other types of intestinal inflammation. Unfortunately, the inflammation doesn’t stop there. When I polled my community on Instagram, the majority of Autistic people reported struggling with joint pain.
As someone who knows first-hand how frustrating it can be to deal with inflammation in what seems like every part of your body, I also know how important it is to have people speaking up about solutions! I am Autistic and will forever have a unique brain, but being Autistic does not mean you have to suffer from painful digestive issues or joint pain forever! When I learned to fully embrace my neurodiversity and started to experiment with holistic methods of healing my body, I became obsessed with the power of nutrition. I now want to share a bit of that obsession with you, and how I have healed my gut issues and joint pain with some natural remedies!
- YOGA: A very important part of my morning routine is a gentle yoga flow. Not only does a regular yoga practice improve joint flexibility and function, but it can also lower stress levels and overall tension in the body! Furthermore, the movements involved in yoga promote gut motility, which can aid in reducing painful digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.
- COLLAGEN: A food that helped my autism symptoms was Further Food Collagen! In fact, a morning MUST is my daily scoop of Further Food collagen! Collagen is the most abundant source of protein in the body, with endless benefits for people on the spectrum. Its unique amino acid profile can aid in healing the stomach lining and reducing gut issues, as well as maintain the cartilage necessary for strong, healthy joints. Not to mention, Further Food has a wide range of flavored collagen, which truly epitomizes nutritious AND delicious! 😉
- TURMERIC: A spice that has been used for centuries due to its distinct flavor and healing properties, turmeric is a great spice to add to your diet as an autism natural treatment. Its most active compound, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can soothe symptoms of joint pain. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. When combined with black pepper (which contains the compound piperine), however, curcumin’s bioavailability increases by approximately 2000%! Further Food’s Superfood Turmeric contains a blend of turmeric, black pepper, and other warming spices which can be used to literally spice up any recipe!
- FIBER: Consuming enough fiber each day is absolutely essential when it comes to a healthy and happy gut! Dietary fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which optimizes digestive processes and minimizes symptoms of IBS. My favorite high-fiber foods are flax and chia seeds, oats, psyllium husk, and sprouted whole-grain bread!
- WATER: Did you know that over 60% of the human body is made up of water? Drinking plenty of water aids in digestion by encouraging the breakdown of nutrients, and simply keeps things moving with its fluid properties! Furthermore, drinking enough water keeps the cartilage around your joints hydrated, which maximizes cartilage’s shock-absorbing properties!
Through the power of holistic nutrition and tapping into your body’s unique needs, you hold the power to unleash your full potential! I hope my story and tips have provided you with hope that your pain does not have to last forever, and your mess will become your message! I have learned so much about my body and mind through all of the obstacles I have overcome, and continue to learn about myself each and every day; the obstacle is the way!
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