Parents may find themselves a lot calmer after their child’s been on a good diet for a few weeks. First of all, they have a less disruptive child to contend with. Second, they may have been a little hyperactive themselves and not realized it.
While most hyperactive behavior appears in children, adults aren’t immune. After all, we eat a lot of the same foods. (In fact, one of the very first people whom Dr Feingold noticed reacting to food additives was a twenty-six-year-old woman.) The only difference between us adults and our children may be that we’ve learned to modulate our behavior.
How can you tell if you’ve been a little hyperactive? Well, you probably couldn’t concentrate on your work for more than five or ten minutes at a time. You didn’t sleep well. You were easily irritated and always a little excited. In fact, a lot of the impatient, aggressive ‘Type A’ behavior exhibited in people at high risk for heart disease and other stress-related disorders may be a reaction to foods to which they are allergic. So if you tend to be fidgety and impulsive, you should take a serious look at what you’ve been eating, too.
That’s especially important for mothers of hyperactive children who are expecting another child. Dr Feingold told us that there’s a good chance that exposure to hyperactivity-triggering foods during pregnancy plays a big role in determining whether or not the child will be hyperactive. Breastfeeding is the best insurance you can take against food allergies of any kind.
Child or adult, however, a successful response to a change in diet reinforces good behavior: once behavior improves, and when an individual feels better about himself or herself, self-esteem goes up and hyperactive behavior fades away into a bad memory. It’s a real joy to see the face of a disruptive, moody child transformed into one that says, ‘Color me happy’.