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High Incidence of Autism in Sweden and Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

The prevalence of autism in the United States is close to 2% of children. Children with autism have high levels of inflammation, gastrointestinal diseases, and abnormalities in mitochondria function, which are the energy-producing organelles inside the cells.

A recent study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental disorder estimated that the incidence of autism is 3.66% in a community of immigrants in Sweden (1). This incidence is significantly higher than when compared to the United States. Lack of nutritional education and adequate resources or suboptimal birth conditions may be a factor in this study.

There are Benefits of Eating Healthy in Children With Autism:

*Children with autism who consume higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flax seeds, nuts, and many other foods have a higher amount of good bacteria in the gut (2). A healthier gut function means a better brain function.

*Low fiber intake increases the abundance of harmful bacteria in the gut of children with autism (2). On the contrary, an increase in fiber intake decreases the frequency of gastrointestinal disorders in autism. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent way to increase the amount of fiber in children with autism. Better gut function means a healthier brain function. Smoothies are an easy way to add fruits and vegetables to children with autism. You may need help from a therapist in adding healthy foods in children with autism, but this step is crucial for an optimal brain function.

"Think you can or think you can't; either way, you"ll be right."

Henry Ford

There is hope for Autism!!

David Rivas, RPh, MSc, CCN

Pharmacist and Clinical Nutritionist/Consultant


(1): Linnsand, P., Gillberg, C., Nilses, Å., Hagberg, B., & Nygren, G. (2020). A High Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Preschool Children in an Immigrant, Multiethnic Population in Sweden: Challenges for Health Care. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-12.

(2): Tomova, A., Soltys, K., Kemenyova, P., Karhanek, M., & Babinska, K. (2020). The Influence of Food Intake Specificity in Children with Autism on Gut Microbiota. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(8), 2797.

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