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33 Foods that Help Quell Disruptive Autistic Symptoms


Remedies for autism are not perfect by any means, but certain herbs and foods have been found in non-traditional medicine to help immensely in different departments. With the holidays coming up and so much to consider, from autism-appropriate gifts to family gatherings, meltdowns and aggressive behavior will only serve to add to your stress levels. Perhaps Oriental medicine might come in handy in fighting off some of the worst symptoms, giving you a moment of reprieve.

At the moment, over 1 in 88 children are diagnosed under the autism spectrum, showing symptoms of classical autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Rhett's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS). Symptoms such as aggression, irritability, hyperactivity, negativism, volatile emotions, temper tantrums, short attention span, and obsessive-compulsive behavior also manifest in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the DSM-V (simplified).

Though strange to the Western world, in Chinese medicine Autism is known as the Syndrome of 5 Delays, where areas of standing, walking, hair growth, teeth eruption and speech are all delayed and all other dysfunctions are classified under an imbalance of body functions. Emotional influence on the organs is top in Chinese medicine that believes the mind and the body are part of the same circular entity.

Reason and awareness are ruled by the heart, kidney and spleen according to this form of medicine.

  • Emotional state and short-term memory are ruled by the heart
  • Studying, memorization and concentration are ruled by the spleen
  • Long-term memory is ruled by the kidneys


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One Great Remedy from the Far East

Yokukansan, which is a combination of seven different traditional Japanese herbs, has been found to help curb irritability, tantrums, and aggression in children diagnosed with PDD NOS. It is comprised of:

  • Atractylodes lancea rhizome: traditionally used for gastrointestinal disorders
  • Poria sclerotium: Chinese mushroom traditionally used to treat memory loss, anxiety, tension, nervousness, dizziness, and insomnia
  • Cnidium rhizome: traditionally used for rashes and libido
  • Uncaria: traditionally used medicinally to fight inflammation and anxiety
  • Angelica root: used to treat heartburn, nervousness, insomnia, and loss of appetite
  • Bupleurum root: used to treat respiratory disorders, insomnia, digestive disorders, and depression
  • Glycyrrhiza (licorice): used to treat digestive disorders and adrenal gland problems

Autism specialists also recommend the use of Omega-3 fatty acids in an autistic individual's diet. According to Autism Speaks, this can help quell autism-related symptoms such as repetitive behavior and hyperactivity, as well as improve socialization.


Knowing that certain foods actually serve to make autistic symptoms worse, a perfect diet according to Chinese medicine includes:

  • Warming foods lightly cooked or steamed, such as dry ginger and garlic
  • Root vegetables, including acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, radishes, carrots, button mushrooms and scallions.
  • Grains, including brown and white rice, amaranth, millet, barley and quinoa
  • Legumes, including lima , navy, adzuki, kidney and lentil beans
  • Protein meat, including chicken or turkey that is without additives, hormones and antibiotics.

Ten Foods to Avoid

  1. Whatever that is cold and raw
  2. Soy products
  3. Dairy
  4. Sugar
  5. Peanut Butter
  6. Citrus fruits and bananas
  7. Eggs
  8. Wheat
  9. Fried or greasy foods
  10. Chilled or frozen foods

I know children are picky eaters. Here are some tips to help make feeding time easier on you. More options can be found here. I hope that this list helps parents with their autistic children's disruptive behavior and provides a healthy alternative to the foods they eat.



Focus on diet was a definite aid in helping my son throughout his later school years. Unfortunately as an adult he's now shifted his eating focus to the items he used to gorge on such as candy, white bread, peanut butter, etc., and symptoms are starting to shift back to where they were when he was younger
I'm so sorry! maybe get the healthy versions of each thing? like vegetable chips?
I have a 18 year old high function Autistic son he loves peanut butter jam and crackers every day how can I change this and he eats a lot of citrus fruits and lots of green vetables and carrots
I have a don ..hes 11 ..he has autism . I've been looking for toys to promote hes learnings skills.. to bring hes tantrums down..and calm himself...some of the toys i need ..would be good to make him sleep at the time he need.. ..he love shes ipad..bug i dnt like him to b using all day everyday. I want to toys to use hes hands. Hes Creations...thanks for help
I found giving my 6 year old a warm shower at night works wonders.He starts yawning right after.What also helps is massaging him with bengay or any essential oils appropriate for kids.such as lavendar.A good place to find educational games for special needs are beyond play, lakeshore there are more if you google online.