Can ADHD and Nutrition Be Related?
You may not know this but we realize more and more that adhd and nutrition are related. Diet may affect your child's brain functions and behavior and a proper adhd diet could reduce symptoms of adhd and improve your family life.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADD:hyperactivity is not present) is a neurological condition, a complex disorder. It's difficult to define a particular cause but heredity, abnormal functionning of neurotransmitters, contact with toxic substances such as drugs, alcohol, PCB, lead during pregnancy and diet are all factors that can promote the emergence of adhd.
It affects about 5% of children, more frequently in boys. Symptoms start at an early age but are rarely diagnosed before school entry.
Here Are The Symptoms and Behaviors Associated With Each
- Inattention...no attention to details, don't follow instructions, don't finish tasks asked, day-dreaming, losing things, be distracted..
- Impulsivity...interrupt others, can't wait for turn, disorganized...
- Hyperactivity...loud when playing, squirm on his seat, talk too much...
Many of these behavior will lead to learning difficulties. If your kid do poorly in school, it's not good for his self-esteem. Anger, anxiety, sleep disorder and even symptoms of depression can be present.
With prescribeb medications, you'll see signs of improvments for sure and if your kid takes Ritalin or another drug it's important to follow your doctor's recommendations.
However, you should know that drugs are only a temporary solution, a "band aid" to the problem, and it can lead to side effects in the long run (lost of appetite, difficulty falling asleep and sometimes headaches, stomachaches).
Knowing that your child's brain will develop rapidly throughout the first year, that symptoms start before school age and realizing that adhd and nutrition are more and more related I'm pretty sure you will give it a try...
A change of your kid's diet may not solve all the problems but if it can help why not...especially if you suspect adhd from an early age...and you want to avoid medication...
What Can We Say About ADHD And Nutrition
- It's important to begin with a healthy breakfast. The first meal should supply your child with long-lasting energy. Proteins are important because if your child is hungry, it's going to be difficult to concentrate and he can be more irritable
- Feed your child with organic whole food (no pesticides,toxins..)
- Some studies tell that sugar has no impact on children's behavior....my sons don't have adhd but I can tell you sugar spikes their blood sugar levels giving them more energy!!!...and more energy = more active = not under control
- Some children are sensitive to food additives such as artificial colors (such as Yellow No 5), flavors, preservatives (such as sulfites) and sweeteners
- Some kids are also sensitive to gluten, a plant protein found in wheat, rye, barley. In the long run small intestine (which is very important because it absorbs and digests all the nutrients) can be injured. This can lead to a lot of problems including learning problems and attention deficit
- Others are sensitive to casein which is a protein
found in milk.
****during digestion, proteins are broken down(into peptides)and down again into what it called amino-acids. If the number of digestive enzymes is not enough, gluten and casein peptides will accumulates, pass the intestinal lining, get in the bloodstream and cause allergic reaction. Sometimes these peptides can reach the brain, activate the innapropriate neurotransmitter which can lead to adhd symptoms****
- Avoid cola drink. It contains caffein and your active child doesn't need it!
- DHA, which is a polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid plays a key role in your kid's brain functions. Good sources are seafood, algae, eggs, meat, cold fish water (salmon, sardine, herring) and breastmilk
- Include ground flax seed...another omega3 source
ADHD and Nutrition...and Nutrients
ADHD children are mineral deficient especially in magnesium and zinc. These minerals can help a child to focus better.
- Zinc is the most present element in the brain.
Food sources: beef, turkey, chicken, pork, crabmeat, lobster, salmon, dairy products, beans, cereals(whole grains), rice(brown), potatoes
- Magnesium is used in many ways. It helps, among other, to maintain a good functin of the nervous system.
Food sources: whole grains, oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter, beans, spinach, wheat germs
Iron defiency may also lead to memory problem, attention deficit and learning difficulties.
- Food sources: red meat, fortified cereals, cream of wheat
Vitamin B6 is also very important. Your kid's brain needs vitamin B6 for his proper functioning and development.
- It helps in making serotonin and norepinephrine, two hormones which influence mood
- Food sources: whole grain cereals, vegetables,potatoes, dairy products, eggs, fish, meat
we can say that adhd and nutrition are related.
Be aware that many behaviors occurs in all children at particular ages....tantrums around 2 years old....etc..
Children are chidren, they have to move, to run, to express themselves, to learn rules of life...some behaviors ARE NORMAL...even stubbornness is a proof of intelligence...that means your little one has his own point of view...but I know, as parents we don't always see it this way!
So before knocking in your doctor's door, please try to make some changes in your child's diet...
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