Did you know, 8.7% of children age 3-17 years, suffer from ADHD according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention?
So? What is ADHD? Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is thought to be caused by developmental differences in the brain that affects the parts controlling attention, concentration, impulsivity, activity levels and memory.
Symptoms can include, over looking or missing details or handing in homework that is not done. Having difficulties paying attention or remaining focused during class or lengthy reading. Often seems not to listen when directly spoken to or their mind is elsewhere even when there is no distraction. School work can be a chore, they start fast, then lose interest and get side tracked. Is their desk or backpack a mess and disorganized? Do they suffer from poor time management? Does your child avoid or dislike school work? Do they lose things, such as homework, glasses, keys or phone? Do they get easily distracted and forget to complete chores? Does your child have difficulties sitting still or waiting to take turns? Do you find that your child is always interrupting you or talks excessively? If so, you might want to get checked out by a Doctor. ADHD seems to be on the rise, the question is why?
Doctors and parents have begun to turn to nutrition. What you feed your children on a daily basis can have a huge impact on the severity and frequency of ADHD symptoms. Foods that contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, saturated fat, caffeine and processed foods like deli meats have been linked to triggering ADHD symptoms in children.
Studies have shown that foods high in vitamin B, protein, calcium and trace minerals have actually reduced symptoms on a regular basis.
It has been found that foods high in protein like, eggs, beans (navy and soy), goat cheese, and chicken can help a child’s concentration. High complex carbs like, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and grapefruit have been known to aid in sleep. Foods high in Omega 3’s also help in treating symptoms, like, salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, walnuts, brazil nuts, and almonds. Also, foods rich in trace minerals such as spinach, kale and watercress or whole grained cereals and breads.
The studies have shown the WORST foods you can give you child with ADHD are the following: ice cream, yogurt, cow cheese. Why the dairy products? They have found that kids with ADHD tend to have an intolerance to cow’s milk which can trigger ADHD symptoms. Try to remove dairy products from your child’s diet for 6-8 weeks to see if it helps lessen the symptoms. If so, you can change to soy or nut products.
Besides dairy products, sugar is also on the hit list. Sugar strips the body of the vitamins, enzymes and minerals required to help stabilize moods. Stay away from sweets which include fruit juices. Make sure the juice you buy is 100% juice with no artificial sweeteners, colorings or flavorings
Coffee, chocolate and pop also contains caffeine which is a stimulant that triggers symptoms. Not to mention, pop contains artificial flavorings and colors. Chips also fall into this category.
Frozen pizza is a real danger. All the ingredients are triggers for symptoms. The processed meat, the flour in the crust, the cheese….Frozen pizza or pizza bites are not healthy for anyone! If you want pizza, make it at home and use natural ingredients.
Last but not least, watch out for “yellow” vegetables such as corn and squash. Yellow vegetables have been known to trigger symptoms.
If you have a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD or have symptoms go back and do a food log of what your child has been eating over the course of the week. If they have been eating processed meats, milk, pizza, pop, chocolate…..you might want to try changing their diet. After all, if you can make your child feel better why wouldn’t you?
Good luck and healthy eating