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Cerebral Palsy & Dietary Issues Print

Cerebral palsy is the general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination.

Neurological conditions are caused by problems in the brain and nervous system.

Specifically, cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.
  • Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood.
  • Population-based studies from around the world report prevalence estimates of CP ranging from 1.5 to more than 4 per 1,000 live births or children of a defined age range.
Causes of cerebral palsy include:
  • an infection caught by the mother during pregnancy
  • a difficult or premature birth
  • bleeding in the baby’s brain
  • changes (mutations) in the genes that affect the brain's development


Cerebral Palsy sufferers have abnormal muscle tone and function. This can interfere with their chewing and swallowing of food. Since a balanced diet is important, food preparation and appearance are of great importance.

Pureed food, porridge and soups, etc. are easy to consume. Ensure that they are not only nutritious, but palatable and presentable for children especially.

Energy intake should match energy requirements. However, people with cerebral palsy may find it difficult to consume food. Therefore choose food which are high in nutrients and energy, to ensure maximum benefit from small quantities.   

Calorie rich smoothies to the daily diet containing high calorie fruits (bananas, dates, mangos, avocados) and green leafy vegetables along with powdered greens for extra vitamins are recommended.

Healthy fats such as nut butters, coconut milk, and coconut oil will also instantly increase nutrition and calorie count and can be added to smoothies. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collards can be added to smoothies and also shredded and added to almost any food: meatballs, pasta, casseroles and sauces.

Leafy greens will add extra vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and bulk which can help with constipation.
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