Stuttering is a speech disorder in which a person’s normal flow of speech is disrupted. This disorder can be quite distressing. Often characterized by behaviours such as rapid blinking of the eyes or slight lip tremors accompanied by prolonged or stretched use of any particular sound or syllable, stuttering can make communication quite difficult, and affect the quality of life.
Speech is controlled by certain coordinated muscular movements, including breathing and production of voice through articulation of the throat, tongue, and lips. Causes of stuttering can be developmental, psychogenic, or neurogenic (nerve signal problem) in nature. Help for stuttering includes cognitive behavior therapy with regular sessions of voice modulation and rhythmic speech, as well as anxiety-reducing methods with a speech therapy expert. Like all diseases and disorders, maintaining good nutrition by eating a well-balanced diet provides support to various interventions adopted for people who stutter. Nutrition and diet can affect an individual’s mood and behavior patterns, and they play a significant role in proper brain development, especially in early life.
Diet as Stutter Therapy
There is no "cure" for stuttering. However, many approaches may significantly alleviate associated symptoms. Some people respond well to medications, some to behavioral interventions, and some to nutritional therapy. On the other hand, many respond to a combination of the above. Speech therapy along with dietary interventions may result in improvements in school and work performance, social relationships, and self-esteem.
In the case of stuttering, medical treatment is adapted based on the patient’s case history. Although there is no special diet specified as part of the treatment, let’s look at how the diet plays a role in stuttering. Here are a few pointers:
· Instead of starting the day with sugar-rich cereals and fat-laden snacks, opt for power-boosting, protein-dense breakfast options. Anti-stuttering foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and good fats, along with lean proteins.
· Flax seed and flax oil are the richest plant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy childhood behavioral and language development.
· Avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives; these build up toxins in the body, which affect language-learning skills, especially in children.
· A diet for stuttering must include adequate levels of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) through natural and supplemental sources because they are essential for the synthesis of vital brain chemicals including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
· A change in the stutterer’s environment, brought about by actively modifying their social and family interactions, along with the provision of speech training, usually helps.
· Alternative techniques such as hypnotherapy, regular relaxation through yoga, and meditation are particularly helpful as antistuttering therapies. These treatments alleviate stuttering and offer help by instilling a sense of control in day-to-day activities and by increasing self-esteem and decreasing stress.
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