For those with ADHD nutrition is often an overlooked part of treatment. We all know about popular ADHD treatments such as medication (Ritalin, etc.), but simple dietary changes can also relieve ADHD symptoms.
It is also important to remember that ADHD medications such as Ritalin are not perfect: they often result in nasty side effects, they can lose their effectiveness over time, and sometimes they are simply ineffective for some ADHD sufferers.
Think about how foods affect your own mood and energy levels. You know from experience that eating too much sugar, greasy and fatty food usually makes you tired, less focused, and leave you with a "brain fog."
This is important because foods that make us feel less focused should be avoided by those with ADHD.
Conversely, consuming healthy proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables typically results in better energy levels, better brain performance, and improved mood.
For these reasons, it is vital to consider diet as part of an overall treatment regimen not only for ADHD, but for overall health. That said, let's take a look at some foods that can help alleviate ADHD symptoms.
In general, what is good for the brain is good for treating ADHD. With that in mind, foods rich in protein are important for a healthy, focused brain.
Protein rich foods include cheese, beans, lean meats, fish, lentils,
nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, pine nuts,
pecans, etc), flax seeds, spinach, kale, eggs, tofu, sesame seeds, and
You remember that old adage that fish is "brain food?" This is true. Fish oil is rich in Omega-3, which has been shown to enhance overall brain health and help elevate mood.
In addition, an often-cited Australian study found that Omega 3 may improve literacy skills, improve attention, and improve behavioral problems in children with ADHD. The same study also found that high levels of Omega 3 in the blood were connected to less anxiety and shyness.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is commonly found in tuna, salmon, most cold-water white fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. (Omega-3 is also available in supplement form.)
For vegetarians or those who dislike fish, flax seeds or flaxseed oil are great alternatives.
The good news is that even for picky eaters, there are sure to be plenty of healthy options from which to choose.
to the above foods, there are dietary supplements you can use to
relieve ADHD symptoms. They can be used alone, but they are most
effective in relieving ADHD symptoms when used in conjunction with
healthy dietary suggestions listed above.
When discussing ADHD nutrition guidelines, it is also important to eliminate the foods that have been proven to worsen ADHD symptoms.
can go a long way in relieving ADHD symptoms and improving overall
health by eliminating the following from your diet: simple, processed carbohydrates such
as candy, corn syrup, processed honey (raw is ok), sugar, products made from white flour,
white rice, and potatoes without the skins.
In addition, it is important to eliminate processed foods with artificial colors and preservatives which are linked to increased hyperactivity and possible worsening of ADHD symptoms. These include most candy, junk food, and snacks such as cheetos, jello, doritos, sugary cereals, candy bars, pop tarts, etc.
The importance of getting enough sleep and regular exercise have also been shown to relieve ADHD symptoms. These, in combination with the ADHD nutrition guidelines listed above, will go a long way in helping ADHD sufferers become more alert, focused, relaxed, and feeling good.