The Importance of Nutrition in ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is what ADHD stands for. This is a medical condition which can be disrupting your normal life. It is, thus, important to choose medical treatment for this disorder. This disorder can be easily managed with few changes made to your life-style and diet. You need to be aware that deficiencies in specific types of foods can worsen the ADHD symptoms. The brain function can be optimized by adding specific foods from your diet and eliminating some foods.
What is ADHD?
Research has proved that genetics play an important role in this ADHD disorder. Other factors which lead to this disorder are toxicity of the environment and poor nutrition during the early years. The attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome originates from having low levels of noradrenalin and dopamine in that region of the brain which manages self-regulation.
With these functions being impaired, an individual struggles to perceive time, complete tasks, curb behavior which is inappropriate and stay focused. The quality of life suffers as ADHD affects their ability to maintain relationships, do well in school or even work.
Nutrition and ADHD:
There are certain foods which do affect the symptoms of ADHD. For example, chocolate consumed can affect the mood of an individual, caffeine can affect the alertness and consuming alcohol can affect the behavior.
Deficiencies in nutrition also play a role in affecting the symptoms of ADHD. Following the tips listed can help in managing the symptoms of ADHD to a great extent.
- Complex Carbohydrates:
Intake of carbohydrates helps in preventing spikes of the blood sugar in those suffering from ADHD. The individual tends to feel full for a longer period of time and thus does not consume snacks which are full of sugar. Besides which, carbohydrates can also help the individual in sleeping better. Some foods which contain the complex carbohydrates are
*whole grain pasta and bread
* lentils and beans.
- Foods rich in Proteins:
Protein is required for the production of brain chemicals which are called neurotransmitters. This is essential for the health of the brain. This can also decrease the spikes of the glucose level in the blood.
You need to include foods like
*shellfish and fish
*lentils and beans
* poultry products and meat.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
The Omega-3 fatty acid is one type of an essential fat which you need to derive from your diet. This has a direct effect on the brain and the heart health.
There is a possibility of children with ADHD having low levels of these Omega-3 fatty acids. You can include foods like
*fatty fish like salmon and tuna fish.
- Vitamins and Minerals:
Studies have linked low levels of specific micronutrients with this ADHD. You need to include the following foods for this requirement of micronutrients
*for magnesium you can include almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and spinach
*For the required Vitamin B-6 you need to add fish, peanuts, eggs and potatoes
*For the required zinc you need to add shellfish, meat, nuts and beans
*for the required Vitamin D you need to add beef liver, fatty fish, fortified foods and egg yolks.
Foods to Avoid or Limit:
Following a specific diet, which is well balanced with the required nutrition and eliminating specific foods makes managing the ADHD easier. This works out more comfortable for the patient.
A limited intake of caffeine for those with the ADHD helps in increasing the levels of concentration. At the same time, caffeine tends to intensify some effects of the medications taken for ADHD. It is advisable that caffeine be avoided for children and teenagers who are suffering from ADHD. Adults can limit their intake.
Foods which are sugary tend to cause spikes and crashes of the blood glucose. This affects the level of energy. Avoiding sugar is definitely beneficial to the overall health.
- Simple Carbohydrates:
Other simple carbohydrates besides sugar can also affect the symptoms of ADHD. It is advisable to consume these in moderation. These include white bread, candy, white rice, pasta, sodas, chips, potatoes, potato fries and sports drinks.
- Artificial Additives:
Artificial additives can not only affect the symptoms of ADHD but also affect the growth, hormones and development of an individual. It is best to eliminate these from your diet totally. These include fruit punches, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, snacks, cookies and also vitamins specifically for children.
Research has proved that eliminating certain allergens like soy, gluten and wheat can reduce the hyperactivity and improve the focus of an individual with ADHD.
The Few Foods Elimination Diet:
There is a specific method to find out how the individuals with ADHD respond to specific types of foods.
- Elimination: This means the individual with ADHD needs to follow a very restricted diet with foods which have minimum of allergens. If this works well you need to go to the next phase.
- Re-introduction: Foods which are supposedly causing an adverse effect are re-introduced with a gap of 3 to 7 days. If the symptoms re-occur, then this food is considered as ‘sensitizing’.
- Treatment: A protocol for the individual’s diet is prescribed at this time. This eliminated sensitizing foods to minimize the symptoms.
ADHD is treated with different medications which include central nervous system stimulants and non-stimulant medications. Each of these medications has their own set of side-effects and thus, this needs to be monitored by a qualified medical practitioner.
Therapeutic Treatment for ADHD:
You can consult your doctor and find out which therapy can work well for your child if he/she is suffering from ADHD.
*Social Skills training which can help a child with ADHD deal with social environments. This helps the child work and play in a better manner with others.
*Behavior therapy which teaches a child to monitor their behavior and change this in an appropriate manner.
*Psychotherapy gets the child with ADHD open up about what they feel when coping with ADHD.
Managing ADHD can be easier with the listed tips on diet and medications along with the suitable therapy.