According to researchers, there are specific foods that have been shown to relieve symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The good news is that there is a wide variety of delicious and healthy foods that have been shown to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD, so there is sure to be some that your child will enjoy eating.
Try modifying your child's diet to incorporate more of these foods, and then make some behavioral observations. Keep a log of the results; see which foods works best.
A healthy brain requires essential fatty acids (EFA's), particularly Omega-3 which is abundant in fish oil. For vegetarians or those who dislike fish, flax seed oil is a good alternative.
Research studies have shown that fish oil improves ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional and defiant behavior, and conduct disorders. Some researchers suggest that children with ADHD may have an Omega-3 deficiency, and compared with results of studies testing popular and mainstream ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Concerta, they found that fish oil was more effective.
Good sources of Omega-3 are tuna, salmon, other cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, olive and canola oil. This makes them great ADHD foods. See these great guides to the benefits of fish oil and flax seed oil.
Studies have shown that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have lower levels of zinc in their bodies compared to children without ADHD. In addition, Zinc deficiency is associated with severity of ADHD symptoms.
Research studies indicate that children taking Zinc supplements experienced improvements in ADHD symptoms compared to children that were only taking ADHD prescription medications. In addition, children who consumed foods rich in Zinc exhibited an improvement in ADHD symptoms faster than children who only took Zinc supplements.
Zinc is a natural booster of neurochemicals and neurotransmitters. Foods that contain Zinc include oysters, shellfish, soy, wheat, bran, beef, lamb, pork, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, brown rice, clams, pumpkin seeds, beans, potatoes, salmon, milk, yogurt and cheese.
A significant percent percentage of children with ADD/ADHD have a magnesium deficiency. In one study conducted 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 children who were given a magnesium supplement of 200 mg/day for six months exhibited a significant decrease of hyperactivity compared to the control group which had not been treated with magnesium.
As an additional benefit, Magnesium also has a calming effect on the nervous system. Magnesium is commonly found in green veggies such as spinach, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which are all great ADHD foods.
A 2004 study suggested that iron deficiency may contribute to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) in children, and that children with ADHD who also have iron deficiencies exhibit more severe symptoms.
In addition, past research has linked iron deficiency in infancy to slower brain development and poorer school performance later in childhood.
Similarly, animal studies have linked iron deficiency to restlessness.
Iron helps regulate the neurotransmitter dopamine and other brain chemicals. Iron is a trace mineral that is found in prunes, raisins, red meat, egg yolks, dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens), cereals, grains, oysters, clams, scallops, turkey, chicken giblets, beans, lentils, chick peas, soybeans, liver, and artichokes.
According to research, the B vitamins have been linked to improved neural activity and enhanced overall brain health in both humans and animals.
In addition, vitamin B has been associated with numerous health benefits including improving mood, reducing stress, and is even good for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Good sources of B vitamins include nutritional yeast, liver, whole-grain cereals and breads, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meats, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables and soy.
This is good news for picky eaters because vitamin B is found
in a wide range of foods. As a result, there is bound to be vitamin B
rich foods that even the most finicky eater will enjoy. This is also helpful for parents of children who notoriously finicky about their diet.
Protein is important for healthy brains. Genetic researchers and anthropologists maintain that is was a protein rich diet that enabled human brains to evolve into the supercomputers they are today.
Protein can be found in eggs, whole grain bread, nuts, seeds, brown rice cakes, etc. Also, you can make a protein shake for breakfast or a protein smoothie for a snack.
Also, start the day with some type of protein. Consuming some type of protein within 30 minutes of waking will help start your day focused and energized.
In addition to eating healthy ADHD foods, remember to avoid sugar, additives, hydrogenated oils, caffeine, and salty foods. Make a habit of reading food labels in order to examine what is in the foods you and your family regularly consume. Read this article about the ADHD Food Link.
The Gluten Free Diet For ADHD
Get Dr. Kensington's FREE ADHD Newsletter!