Nutrition is an important factor in controlling the symptoms of ADHD. There is no wonder food or a magical vitamin that tempers impulsivity, hyperactivity or attention deficit, but studies show that avoiding certain unhealthy foods and eating healthy positively influences the child’s behavior.
Being more and more widespread among children, ADHD is usually treated with drugs and behavioral therapy aimed at adapting to a certain daily routine. However, neither parents nor doctors are generally pleased with drug therapy, preferring to find more natural alternatives that can improve the symptoms of ADHD. Normally, a special diet for a child who is affected by ADHD should help the brain to overcome certain negative effects of the symptoms of the disease. The diet also includes indications of the foods to be consumed, the necessary supplements, and indications of prohibited foods.
Food forbidden to children with ADHD
Studies show that some unhealthy foods increase the effects of ADHD symptoms, creating a predisposition of children to this syndrome. These include fast foods, red meat, processed meat, potato chips, high-fat foods, sweet drinks.
The Feingold diet, proposed in 1975 by allergologist Benjamin Feingold, is one of the strictest that is often recommended for children with ADHD. It is based on the idea that artificial flavorings, dyes and preservatives in foods lead to hyperactivity and therefore the foods they contain should be removed from the daily diet. On the other hand, there are studies showing that small amounts of caffeine can help remove symptoms of ADHD.
But experts warn that removing certain foods from the diet or taking hypoallergenic diets is not always helpful. Elimination of dairy, sugar, etc. takes a lot of time and can get frustrating to find alternatives and should be put into practice only in cases where it is proven that there are adverse reactions to these foods. What parents should do, however, is to follow the child’s diet and reactions to certain foods. Depending on these reactions, certain foods in the daily diet should be removed or not.
Here are some tips to follow in terms of nutrition beneficial to children with ADHD
– It is advisable to eat high-protein foods (eggs, cheese, beans, nuts etc.) in the morning and immediately after school hours to improve concentration.
– Simple carbohydrates (such as candy, honey, sugar and flour products, rice or potatoes) should be replaced with complex carbohydrates (vegetables and certain fruits such as oranges, mandarins, pears, apples, grapes, kiwis, etc.). Eating carbohydrates in the evening could improve sleep.
– Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as tuna, salmon, hazelnuts, olive oil) should be supplemented.
It should not be forgotten that the diet is only an adjuvant in the treatment of ADHD. Doctors warn that, especially in children who have severe forms of ADHD, often associated with anxiety and depression, the diet should be correlated with medication. Diet itself cannot be a healing method, but only a factor that can positively influence treatment. And if it does not have the expected effects on the symptoms of ADHD, at least it has positive repercussions on the physical development of the child, reducing the risk of obesity or the occurrence of other diseases associated with an unhealthy diet.