Can peppermint cause hyperactive behavior in a toddler?

(April 15, 2010)

Hyperactive behavior refers to a physical state wherein an individual is abnormally enthusiastic and energetic. Spontaneous, rash behavior and short attention spans are characteristic of hyperactive individuals. An inability to fall asleep easily and failure to stay asleep are two of the main symptoms of hyperactivity. However, many parents tend to confuse normal energetic behavior with hyperactive behavior. In the initial years of life, it is absolutely normal for a toddler to throw tantrums and to be aggressive, to a certain extent. Most parents cannot cope with the stress and find it difficult to keep up with their toddlers. This often raises the doubt of hyperactivity. Besides, boredom and emotional issues can also lead to hyperactive behavior. Hyperactivity is not a matter of grave concern until it begins to cause harm to the individual or people around.

Hyperactive behavior is often linked with foods in addition to health concerns and emotional stress. Natural salicylates, present in some forms of foods, have the ability to give toddlers a natural high resulting in hyperactive behavior. These have properties similar to that of aspirin and cause an immediate change in behavioral patterns. Peppermint is one such food that has a very high content of salicylates. Hence, if you observe that your toddler begins to exhibit hyperactive behavior on the consumption of peppermint in any form, be it peppermint flavored sweets, mint centered chocolates or even peppermint tea, discontinuing its consumption is recommended.

Another common cause of hyperactive behavior in toddlers is the intake of excess sugar through the consumption of chocolates, sweets, desserts and drinks, especially throughout the day. The high levels of sugar in the blood cause instances of frenzied behavior or aggression. A fall in sugar levels later leads to crankiness, fatigue and irritability. Added colors, preservatives and flavors in various food preparations also have the tendency to cause similar effects in toddlers due to the presence of various chemicals. Processed foods and canned products should be taken off the toddler’s diet. The consumption of meats such as ham, salami and sausages should also be avoided. Coke, coffee and tea are natural stimulants that are not recommended for toddlers. Foods like mangoes, pears, lemons, bananas, dates, coconut and carrots make excellent snacks for children that display hyperactive behavior. Homemade food is the best recommended for hyperactive toddlers as the ingredients can be monitored and the best suitable diet can be followed. Consulting a pediatrician regarding the best possible diet is recommended.  

Submitted by P T on April 15, 2010 at 01:57

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