Nutrition and ADHD

Nutrition and ADHD

Can a clean, natural diet help combat symptoms of ADHD? Adults and parents of children with ADHD are finding out that diet changes do make a big difference. Nutrition and ADHD go hand-in-hand.

Studies show that protein promotes alertness in the brain. Carbohydrates do the opposite and artificial colors and flavors are even worse. Which may explain why food that is filled with sugar, gluten, and starch are so awful for your child with ADHD.

Research shows that what you feed your body has a direct correlation to how your brain functions. Diet and nutrition impact cognition, attention, sleep, and mood. According to the Harvard Health Blog, studies show that people who eat “clean” or “whole” diets high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and lean meats, are more likely to experience better emotional health and 25 to 35 percent less likely to experience mood disorders.

Poor diet and eating habits are a main cause for some misdiagnosis. And when it comes to controlling impulsivity, inattention, and other symptoms, getting help is a push in the direction of success.

Still, adults and parents of children with attention deficit have long reported a connection between the kinds of foods they eat and their behavior and symptoms. Now, science is creating knowledge and awareness to those observations.

In essence, the better you want your brain to perform, the more unprocessed foods, proteins, vegetables, and fruits you should eat.

Two studies show a relationship between diet and ADHD symptoms. One, published in Pediatrics in 2010, organophosphates (insecticides), found on fruits and vegetables may be linked to ADHD. The higher the levels of the compounds detected in a child’s urine, the more likely he or she is to be diagnosed with ADHD. The only answer here is to eat organic! Another study, published in the Journal of Attention Disorders in 2010, showed that a Western diet (processed meats, fast foods, high-fat dairy products, and sugary foods) doubled the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis, compared with a healthier diet.

  1. Brain cells, like other cells in the body, need proper nutrition to carry out their functions.
  2. The myelin sheath, which covers the axons of brain cells, as insulation covers electrical wires, needs the right levels of nutrients to speed transmission of the electrical signals between brain cells.
  3. Neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) are also dependent on diet for proper functioning.

If the right nutrients aren’t accessible to the brain, its circuits misfire causing the symptoms above.