Diet and ADHD

Dr. Eric Herman, D.C. with BioVeda of Bethlehem, recently wrote about the importance of diet and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children on his BioVeda of Bethlehem Blog:

Many studies have shown positive outcomes in reducing the symptoms of ADHD simply by changing your child’s diet. In my practice I have observed drastic positive changes in children’s behavior by adding essential nutrition and removing toxic and empty caloric consumption from a persons eating habits.

The following are what I have observed to be the most important dietary modifications if you want to improve your attention, focus and emotional stability.

ADD THESE TO YOUR DIET:

1. Essential fatty acids(EFA’s) – studies have shown that children with learning disorders, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, often have an EFA deficiency. The right kinds of fats are super important to ingest on a daily basis. among many other functions good fats are needed for proper brain function. That is why they are called essential fatty acids because your body can not make them and without them we would die!

The following are foods that are good sources of EFA. Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna and trout, flax seeds, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables, and grass fed meats and eggs. Good oils to use are Molecularly Distilled (gets rid of toxic mercury) fish oil, olive oil, krill oil, sunflower oil and flax seed oil.

2. Vitamin B complex – the B Vitamins improve neural activity and are great at helping the body cope with stress. Good food sources of Vitamin B are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cereal grains, milk, legumes & fresh vegetables.

3. Protein – eating small portions of protein throughout the day evens out your energy. Here are some helpful tips for protein snacks for you children. String cheese wrapped in whole grain bread, a hard boiled egg, plain whole fat yogurt blended with a ripe banana for sweetness or simply mixing some protein powder in your child’s favorite smoothly.

4. Calcium and Magnesium – calcium in addition to building strong bones also supports a healthy nervous system which could improve a child’s behavior. Magnesium also has a calming effect on the nervous system helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function and is involved in energy metabolism. Many studies have shown children with ADHD who supplement with calcium and magnesium have responded positively. Foods that are good sources of calcium and magnesium are, green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and collard greens as well as whole grains. Spinach, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are great sources of magnesium.

5. Trace minerals – trace minerals are micronutrients that are needed by the body every day, but in small amounts. Trace minerals that would help an ADHD child include zinc and iron. Studies have shown that children with ADHD have low levels of zinc in their bodies compared to children without ADHD. Iron helps regulate the neurotransmitter dopamine and may help children with ADHD. Trace minerals are found in organic fruits and vegetables. I recommend taking a good mineral supplement every day.

6. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. The brain is about 80% water, and increasing your water intake to 7 to 10 glasses per day might be very helpful all by itself. Sodas, Gatorade, teas, icees, etc., do not count as water. Only water counts as water.

THINGS TO AVOID

1. NO DAIRY PRODUCTS, especially cow’s milk. Instead try Almond milk, Rice milk, or Better Than Milk.

2. NO JUNK FOODS.

3. NO FRUIT JUICES.

4. CUT SUGAR INTAKE

5. AVOID NUTRASWEET.

6. NO PROCESSED MEATS and NO MSG.

7. AVOID FOOD COLORINGS WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

1 Comment

  1. I have a 3 yr old son with some very aggresive behavior spikes. Not sure if it’s actually ADHD but definitely gonna try your suggestions. His behaviors and his dialect remind me of soooo many friends and family that do have ADHD. I am trying my hardest not to have to resort to medication. I am very opposed to that idea. I will check back and let you know what if anything has changed etc. Thanks so much for the info.

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