ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common psychiatric disorder that afflicts nearly eight to ten percent of all school age children. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD may suffer from extreme behavioral problems which include – but are not limited to – negative traits like extreme impulsiveness, hyperactivity, inattentiveness and disruptive behavior. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in turn can drastically impair a child’s ability to function emotionally, socially and even academically.Medical research has shown that boys are more likely to suffer from this neuro-developmental disorder than girls. The best way to manage this particular psychiatric disorder is to follow a combination of lifestyle changes (particularly dietary modifications), take specific medications and have intense one on one counseling sessions with a certified therapist. Some important dietary changes which can benefit children with ADHD are mentioned below.
Best Dietary Changes For ADHD
Increase Protein Intake
Children who are diagnosed with ADHD should consume plenty of protein rich foods. Eating a protein rich diet can aid the brain to produce more neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are basically chemical messengers which transmit signals between neurons and others cells in the body. Furthermore, eating protein rich foods can also help to curb sudden spike in blood sugar levels. A sudden surge in blood sugar levels has been linked to disruptive behavior among children who suffer from ADHD. Children who have ADHD are advised to eat protein rich foods like eggs, nuts, soybeans and lean meats.
Maintain Iron Levels
Iron plays a significant role in controlling the numerous symptoms which are associated with ADHD. Medical research has also revealed the fact that children with ADHD have significantly lower levels of iron (ferritin), despite not being anemic. To raise the average levels of iron in the body, children with ADHD are advised to eat iron rich foods. Children suffering from ADHD should be given plenty of iron rich foods like red meats, turkey, shellfish and green leafy vegetables like spinach.
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Reduce Sugar Intake
Children diagnosed with ADHD should control their sugar intake. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to a sudden surge in blood sugar levels. A sudden spike in blood sugar levels can in turn lead to elevated energy levels. Excessive amounts of energy can actually cause children with ADHD to intensify their disruptive behavior. Too much sugar in the system can also interfere with a child’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand. So, parents are advised to gradually cut back their child’s sugar intake to control the symptoms of this particular neuro-developmental disorder.
Increase Intake of Complex Carbohydrates
If your child suffers from ADHD, make it a point to give him or her plenty of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are macronutrients which supply energy without spiking blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates should comprise nearly sixty percent of the diet of a child with ADHD. Complex carbs help to reduce the negative behavioral symptoms associated with this particular disorder. Green leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits are all good sources of complex carbohydrates.
Increase Intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Eating Omega 3 fatty acid rich foods can control negative symptoms associated with ADHD like poor concentration, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and disruptive behavior. Omega 3 fatty acids help to improve overall brain function and control different kinds of neuro-developmental and psychiatric disorders including ADHD. Since children with ADHD have lower levels of omega 3 in their system (as compared to normal kids), these children should be fed omega 3 rich foods for six or more months, in order to manage ADHD symptoms better. Flax seeds, salmon, soybeans and walnuts all contain appreciable amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.