There are a lot of considerations when it comes to an ADHD diet for children. This write-up provides dietary guidelines for children affected by this condition.
ADHD, known as ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’ is basically a neurochemical developmental disorder. Children affected by this condition are hyperactive and find it hard to concentrate. The contributing factors can be a combination of biological and genetic problems. There are several symptoms that might be observed in children and even adults. The symptoms can be divided into ‘inattentiveness’ and ‘hyperactivity’.
Some major symptoms include carelessness, inattentiveness, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, fidgety behavior, nonstop talking, impatience, constant restlessness, loud behavior, etc. To bring some ‘peace’ and balance into the lives of the children affected by this condition, the treatment should be coupled with a proper diet.
Diet for ADHD
If the children affected by this condition follow a proper diet, it helps the child be more focused and organized. The ADHD diet must comprise nutritious foods. The diet must also be free from all the food allergens, as consuming those food items has an adverse effect on the development of the child. The allergens can differ as per each individual kid.
The common allergens include milk, eggs, fish high in mercury, food ‘treated’ with coloring, flavoring, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food additives like salicylates and sodium benzoate, etc. Foods that are rich in sugar content and chocolates must strictly be excluded from the diet. It would be best to give them organic foods. Fruits and fruit juices with high sugar content should be avoided.
The eating tantrums get doubled when it comes to children affected by this condition. One thing that you can try, for instance, is fill small ice cube plates, with foods that are contrasting in colors, like green and orange. Kids will get attracted to such foods and it will save the parents, a mountain of troubles! Here are several important factors that should be taken into consideration.
Balancing Carbohydrates and Proteins
A high protein low carb diet might work well. The diet should be low in sugar. Eating high protein foods like beans, eggs (if not allergic), nuts and meats, especially in the breakfast, is very effective.
Vegetables and fruits (apples, pears, kiwis, tangerines, oranges, etc.) that are rich in complex carbohydrates can be given. These must be given to the children at night, as the complex carbohydrates induce sleeping and will be helpful to provide some rest to the children.
Never provide them with the simple carbohydrates like candies, white rice, sugar, flour, potatoes with skin, etc., as these add to the sugar content of the body.
Including Ample Nutrients
Nutrients like omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals must be included in the daily diet of children with ADHD. It is also important to avoid fish that are high in mercury. It would be better to provide white fish, tuna and salmon, rather than mackerel, tile fish, swordfish, and sharks. Olive oil, walnuts, fresh legumes, Brazil nuts, canola oil, etc., can be used.
Serum vitamins and minerals that will improve the red blood cell count, iron, ferritin, amino acids, organic acids, vitamin B complex (especially B6 and B3), zinc, magnesium, etc., must be provided in adequate form. It is also important to include healthy fats in the diet. Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, along with gamma linolenic acid, etc., are very beneficial.
Eliminating Food Allergens
This is the biggest factor as far as this diet is concerned. As each child has his own food intolerance level, there are no specific norms and dos and don’ts. A change in the routine diet can cause food allergies in children with ADHD. It is very necessary to keep the children away from such foods.
Some common foods that can cause food allergies in the ADHD children are peanuts, eggs, wheat flour or refined white flour, cheese, milk and dairy products, sugar, chocolates, rye, corn, eggs, oats, barley, and soy. Other things that can create havoc in the behavior of children with ADHD are food additives, artificial colorings and artificial flavoring products, that one can not have any control over. The best thing is to avoid all the packaged foods, beverages, and foods that are causing allergies to your kid.
One can also plan for a special, personalized ADHD diet for his/her child. The biggest deciding factor here will be the respective doctor who has been prescribing drugs for the treatment and keeping constant watch over the development of the child. Always, mark for the results and changes in the behavior patterns of the child and make the changes accordingly. Make sure that the child gets enough sleep and plate the food in such a way that the child would be tempted to eat.
Several simple ‘attentive’ efforts from the parents, is all that is expected from the parents. The biggest help for parents is to acquaint the child with relaxation exercises, several meditations, yoga sessions, deep breathing techniques, and have the child practice them for at least half an hour for more than 5 days of the week and never losing PATIENCE! ADHD cannot be ‘cured’, but it can definitely be controlled with proper medication, dedication and TLC for your bundle-of-joys.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.