There has been increasing research with respect to aspects of nutrition that may be involved in the successful treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The nutritional management of ADHD is one aspect that has been relatively neglected to date, but food additives, refined sugars, food sensitivities or allergies, and fatty acid deficiencies have all been linked to ADHD.
There is increasing evidence that many children with behavioral problems are sensitive to one or more food components that can negatively impact their behavior.
As a result, diet modification is playing an increasingly important role in the management of ADHD and should be considered as part of the treatment protocol.
The elimination diet for ADHD involves removing foods or ingredients that are suspected of contributing to ADHD symptoms.
A study conducted at the University of Eindhoven, Netherlands, for example, investigated the effect of an elimination diet on children ages 3-7 years old with a diagnosis of ADHD. The elimination diet in this case was based on the Few Foods Diet (rice, turkey, pear and lettuce).
According the results, 62% of the children showed an improvement in behavior according to the Conner's Behavior list and ADHD Rating Scale. Their conclusion is that in young children with ADHD an elimination diet can lead to a statistically significant decrease in symptoms.
* Eliminate dairy products. This is the most important restriction. Almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk are great alternatives to cow milk. (Remember: cow's milk is for baby cows, not people.) Drink more water instead.
* Eliminate yellow foods such as corn and squash. Bananas are ok.
* Eliminate junk foods. If it comes in a cellophane wrapper, don't eat it.
* Eliminate fruit juice because it has high sugar content. Reduce sugar intake by as much as 90%. No chocolate, Nutrasweet, etc.
* Eliminate processed meats. If the meat has chemicals listed that you can't pronounce, don't buy it.
* Eliminate fried foods by as much as 90%.
* Eliminate all food coloring, particularly red and yellow. (See this article about the link between ADHD and artificial food dyes and preservatives called The ADHD Food Link.)
Remember, make the changes gradually one at a time. That way you can test whether the change helped or not. As always, work with your doctor when attempting any ADHD diet.
(For in-depth information about ADHD supplements, visit ADD Natural Remedies.) A supplementation ADHD diet involves adding vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients to make up for deficiencies in one's diet that may contribute to ADHD symptoms.
At the Pomeranian Medical Academy in Poland, the effects of magnesium supplements on hyperactivity in children diagnosed with ADHD was examined in order to test a hypothesis that a magnesium deficiency may be involved in the etiology in ADHD.
The study comprised 50 hyperactive children diagnosed with ADHD, aged 7-12 years, with a magnesium deficiency proven via blood samples.
The children were given 200 mg/day for six months. At the end of treatment, hyperactivity was assessed using the Conner'ss Rating Scale for Parents and Teachers, the Wender's Scale of Behavior, and the Quotient of Development to Freedom from Distractibility.
The children given 6 months of magnesium supplementation exhibited a significant decrease of hyperactivity compared to the control group which had not been treated with magnesium.
In general, a rule of thumb is that whatever is good for the brain is likely to be good for ADHD. World renowned brain researcher and ADHD expert Dr. Daniel Amen recommends these diet suggestions:
* Eat a high-protein diet that includes beans, cheese, eggs, meat, nuts, or protein supplements. They are thought to improve concentration and possibly increase the time ADHD medications work.
* Reduce simple carbohydrates such as candy, corn syrup, honey, sugar, products made from white flour, white rice, and potatoes without the skins.
* Eat more complex carbohydrates such as veggies, fruits (including oranges, tangerines, pears, grapefruit, apples, and kiwi). Eating complex carbs at night may aid sleep.
* Eat more foods rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids which are found in fish oil and flaxseed oil. This includes tuna, salmon, other cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, olive and canola oil. (See these great guides to the benefits of fish oil and flax seed oil.)
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