ADHD Diet for Kids

An ADHD diet for kids can be an integral part of a plan to help children overcome the symptoms typically associated with the disorder, naturally.  Studies confirm that there is a correlation between ADHD and diet.   The editors of ADDitude magazine, in the article, “Strategies and Support for ADHD & LD,” state, “research suggests a strong relationship between ADHD and the food you consume.” An ADHD diet for kids makes sense and can only improve the situation, as long as parents go about it in a balanced way that doesn’t oppress the child. A diet for adult ADHD also makes sense.

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An ADHD diet for kids should be low in refined sugar, low in refined carbohydrates. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates are recommended. For those who can, going organic may be a healthy option to consider.

The founder of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and New York City, psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell, a leading author on ADHD, is an advocate for a healthy diet for children and adults with ADHD. Food for ADHD includes a diet that consists of many servings of whole grains, which are rich in fiber; this should part of one’s daily diet. One of the benefits of eating whole grain foods rather than processed food is in the regulation of blood sugar level; whole grain foods are processed less rapidly than processed foods, which results in the gradual use of blood sugar rather than rapid absorption, as Hallowell states, to “prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and then plummeting.” The benefits of a more-even flow of energy available through the body’s metabolism for a child, teen, or adult with ADHD is obvious.

A properly-balanced diet for ADHD which is composed of fresh vegetables, fibrous carbohydrates, as opposed to refined carbohydrates, different kinds of fruits, and abundant protein plays a role in controlling or regulating the behavior of children with ADHD. A balanced, healthy diet for ADHD should be recommended not only for children with ADHD but for all children, especially during their growth years. With the proliferation of fast foods, junk foods, soft drinks, and the like, the health of all children, not just those with ADHD, are at stake.

According to recent research conducted in the Netherlands and Belgium, dietary intervention significantly improved the behavior of children with ADHD. The results of this study, the Impact of Nutrition on Children with ADHD (INCA), were so dramatic, that they were challenged by ADHD expert, neurologist Russell Barkley. The Netherlands researchers responded to Barkley in a letter that can be read here.

The authors recommend that all children with ADHD should be considered for dietary intervention, encouraging parents to implement a restriction elimination diet for at least five weeks so that its value can be determined; close parental and medical supervision should be maintained.

ADHD researcher Joel Nigg, PhD conducted a meta-analysis of clinical studies conducted on restriction diets and their affect on ADHD symptoms, published in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. He concluded that available research indicates that “an estimated 8% of children with ADHD may have symptoms related to synthetic food colors.”

On the other hand, a Harvard Mental Health Newsletter states, “Traditional research finds no support for radical diets like the Feingold diet — which eliminates nearly all processed foods as well as many fruits and vegetables — for the majority of children with ADHD.” One simple solution for parents is to consider an all-organic diet for their families or children. While potentially doubling the cost of one’s food bill, it does eliminate additives from a child’s diet.

Although a well-balanced diet plays a significant role in influencing the behavior of children diagnosed with ADHD, as previously proven, it does not necessarily prove, at this point, that certain foods or diets cause ADHD. More clinical studies and research are needed on the positive impact of dietary intervention in ADHD treatment and an ADHD diet for kids.

References – ADHD Diet for Kids



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