Nutrition and diet play a key role in the management of ADHD symptoms and the health of your brain. It is always best to see a medical professional if you have any concerns, however here is a basic guide of what to encourage and what to avoid if you or your child has ADHD.
- Ensure that you or your child drinks plenty of water. This allows your child to learn better, as synapses in their brain will fire more easily since the brain is made up of 80-90% water.
- DO NOT fill up on sugar. When you or your child loads up on sugar, that fast burst of energy can acerbate ADHD symptoms, followed by fast crash. As fruits also contain large amounts of sugar, you should also limit fruit intake. Soft drink and fruit juice are particularly bad.
- Whole grains are rich in fibre, so they help prevent blood sugar levels from bursting, then crashing. Look for slow release carbohydrates and food low in GI.
- AVOID artificial food colouring: Some people find that food colouring may affect some people with ADHD – increasing ADHD symptoms including anger, agitation, impulsiveness, hyperactivity and lack of concentration. Artificial colouring is often found in breakfast cereals so it’s important to read labels carefully.
- Eat more protein (poultry, beans, nuts) and complex carbohydrates (whole grain cereals, vegetables) and avoid simple carbohydrates (white flour, sugar).
- Omega 3 Fatty Acid (Tuna, Salmon, White Fish, nuts) contain Omega 3 which has been shown to helps improve brain development. some studies have found great reductions in ADHD symptoms with taking certain doses of Omega 3 (EPA & DHA). Make sure your Omega 3 is not high in mercury and this can create a whole host of other issues.
- Try and boost dopamine through diet, by including certain foods contain high levels of amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. These foods include ripe bananas, nuts, pumpkin seeds, cheese, fish, chicken, eggs and dark chocolate.
Consider trialling under your health care professional elimination diets that look at sensitivity to salicylates, amines & glutamates in case there are any sensitivities that may contribute to ADHD symptoms.