The goal of an ADHD diet is to reduce the symptoms of ADHD by improving the function of the brain. Moreover, a carefully planned diet for children and adults suffering from ADHD also meets their overall nutritional requirements.
ADHD Diet For Children And Adults
Elimination Diet For ADHD
Although the exact cause of ADHD is often unclear, several observational and scientific studies suggest that certain foods substances may trigger hyperactivity. Identifying the specific ADHD triggers and eliminating them from the diet of ADHD sufferers can help ADHD patients lead a normal healthy life. The food factor in triggering behavioral problems was first proposed by Benjamin Feingold in 1975.
Following observational studies, Feingold suggested that eliminating additives from the diet could reduce hyperactivity in children. The effectiveness of the elimination diet in preventing behavioral problems has been reported in several studies in recent years. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also recommended elimination of artificial flavors, food colorings and preservatives from the diet of ADHD children.
Eliminating Artificial Food Colors And Preservatives
Eliminating artificial food colors, especially yellow and red, can cause significant improvement in the symptoms of ADHD. Several studies have linked food additives such as monosodium glutamate, nitrites, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sodium benzoate to hyperactivity.
Other Foods That Trigger ADHD
While reviewing the effect of different food substances on the behavior of children with ADHD, researchers found that artificial food colors and preservatives were not the only substances that provoked hyperactivity. Children sensitive to these substances are also sensitive to foods with salicylate such as orange, tomato and grapes and even non-salicylate foods such as eggs, milk, wheat, chocolate, corn, soy and legumes. Some studies claim that sugary foods may aggravate the symptoms of ADHD.
However, the diet factor in ADHD is a debatable issue. Nonetheless, parents and caregivers are advised to follow an elimination diet when an ADHD patient does not respond favorably to conventional ADHD medications. Maintaining a food journal and monitoring the behavior of the patient through trial and error method can help to identify food sensitivities.
Balanced Diet For ADHD
Researchers at the Judge Baker Children’s Center at Harvard Medical School have reported in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition that malnutrition during infancy and childhood causes persistent attention deficit problems in adult life.
Therefore, a healthy diet is essential for alleviating the symptoms of ADHD. Adding plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates to the daily diet helps to meet most of the nutritional needs of people suffering from ADHD. Eating a complex carbohydrate snack before bedtime is recommended for improving sleep.
Protein In ADHD Diet
A high protein diet is recommended for ADHD patients. The healthy proteins are believed to improve concentration. By keeping the person full for a longer time, they also help the ADHD medications to work for a longer time.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids In ADHD Diet
Adding omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts and olive might benefit ADHD sufferers. These essential fats are necessary for the health of the brain.
Although a balanced diet is expected to meet all the nutritional requirements of an ADHD patient, in some cases, physicians recommend nutritional supplements to reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies.