diet for adhd blog

The ADHD Diet

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral and developmental disorder. People that have ADHD have inattention, impulsivity, distractibility and hyperactivity. In general, symptoms are important enough to cause problems in everyday life.

Can the diet help attention, focus, or hyperactivity?
There’s no clear scientific evidence that ADHD is caused by diet or nutritional issues. However, some foods may play a certain role in affecting symptoms in a small group of people.

What is an ADHD diet?
ADHD diet includes the foods you consume and any nutritional supplements you may take. Your eating habits can help the brain work better and reduce symptoms, such as restlessness or lack of focus.

Eat Nutritious Food
What you drink and eat may help ease symptoms even though data is limited, and results are mixed. Whatever is great for the brain is likely to be great for ADHD. You may want to eat:
A high-protein diet. Beans, cheese, meat, eggs, and nuts are good sources of protein. Consume them in the morning and for after-school snacks. It may improve concentration and probably make ADHD medications work longer.
More complex carbohydrates: Load up on vegetables and some fruits, including oranges, pears, apples, grapefruit, and kiwi. Eat this kind of food in the evening, and it may help you sleep.
More omega-3 fatty acids: You can find these in salmon, tuna, and other cold-water white fish. Walnuts, olive, and canola oils are other foods with these in them. You might also take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
Check this article for more brain foods that help you concentrate.

Foods to Avoid With ADHD
Simple carbohydrates. Such as:
– Candy
– Honey
– Sugar
– Corn syrup
– Products made from white flour
– White rice
– Potatoes without the skins.

Elimination Diets for ADHD
To follow one of these, you choose a particular food or ingredient you think might be making your symptoms worse. Then you cut anything with that in it. If the symptoms get better or go away, then you continue avoiding that food.
Food additives: It is recommended that people with ADHD stay away from these substances:
Artificial colors especially yellow and red.
Food additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame, and nitrites. Some studies have related hyperactivity to the preservative sodium benzoate.
Sugar: No evidence suggests that eating sugar is a cause of ADHD, though. For the best overall nutrition, sugary foods should take a little part in anyone’s diet. But you can try avoiding them to see if symptoms improve.
Caffeine: Small amounts of it might help with some ADHD symptoms in children, but the side effects of caffeine might outweigh any potential benefit. That’s why it is recommended that people eat or drink less caffeine or simply avoid it.

Nutritional Supplements for ADHD
While multivitamins may be OK in case children, teens, and adults don’t eat balanced diets, mega-doses of vitamins are toxic. ADHD symptoms differ from person to person, that’s why working with your doctor closely is essential if you’re considering taking a supplement.

Exercise
Regular exercise eases many ADHD symptoms. It helps kids focus and can boost their mood, too. Exercise may even help make it less likely that your child does dangerous things like speeding while driving, or abusing alcohol. Even short bursts of physical activity can increase levels of brain chemicals like dopamine. Activity helps with sleep as well. If your child often doesn’t get enough sleep, it can make ADHD symptoms stronger.

Read about this topic in French. 

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist



 

Author Info

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian

Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian dedicates some of her time to address us through the various media outlets and provide answers to our questions. As a prominent professional in the field of dietetics, Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is frequently hosted on several local and international television and radio stations to offer up to date advice and tips on health and nutrition. Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian is a writer and nutrition consultant for a variety of written publications, both print and online magazines and newspapers.