|Practical ADHD diet for the family|
ADHD DietA high-protein, low-sugar ADHD diet can help improve ADHD symptoms in children. Parents of children with ADHD are overwhelmed with dietary advice that is often time-consuming and disruptive to the household. However, this need not be so. Research shows it is feasible to incorporate an ADHD diet as part of an ongoing ADHD treatment program. Medication with behaviour modification is the backbone of ADHD treatment. A practical diet can be incorporated into the family routine to supplement ADHD treatment.
High ProteinFoods rich in protein - poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, mutton and low-fat dairy products (milk, paneer, cheese) - may have beneficial effects on ADHD symptoms.
Protein-rich foods are used by the brain to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Protein can prevent surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity. Giving your child protein for breakfast will help his body produce brain-awakening neurotransmitters. Combining protein with complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre and low in sugar will help your child manage ADHD symptoms better during the day.
Low SugarEating simple processed carbohydrates, like white bread and jam, is almost the same as feeding your child sugar! Sugar surges are shown to increase inattention in children with ADHD. The body digests these processed carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) so quickly that the effect is virtually the same as eating sugar from a spoon.
For children with ADHD symptoms serve breakfasts and lunches high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fibre — like cereals, dalia, upma with vegetables and nuts, and a glass of milk. Peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread would also be good. The sugars from these carbohydrates are digested more slowly, because protein, fibre, and fat eaten together result in a more gradual and sustained blood sugar release. The result? A child can concentrate and learn better at school.
SupplementsAdditive-free and oligoantigenic or elimination diets are time-consuming, disruptive to the household, and impractical. They have no proven role in ADHD treatment. Iron and zinc are best supplemented in children with known deficiencies. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements may be tried in some children with ADHD.
Greater attention to a healthy diet while omitting food that predisposes to ADHD symptoms, is perhaps the most effective and practical ADHD diet.
- Millichap JG1, Yee MM. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/2/330.long The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):330-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2199. Epub 2012 Jan 9.
- Howard AL, Robinson M, Smith GJ, Ambrosini GL, Piek JP, Oddy WH. http://jad.sagepub.com/content/15/5/403.abstract?ijkey=d7ce9f17e13e896d1e6b00f2684ad29523c1c5a9&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha ADHD is associated with a “Western” dietary pattern in adolescents. J Atten Disord. 2011;15(5):403–411
- Wender EH, Solanto MV. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/ijlink?linkType=ABST&journalCode=pediatrics&resid=88/5/960 Effects of sugar on aggressive and inattentive behavior in children with attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and normal children. Pediatrics. 1991;88(5):960–966.
- Yehuda S. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/external-ref?access_num=3305401&link_type=MED Nutrients, brain biochemistry, and behavior: a possible role for the neuronal membrane. Int J Neurosci. 1987;35(1–2):21–36