Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a tendency that disrupts a child’s focus making them restless. It not a disease, but a behavior related issue that can be treated. Apart from the usual treatment suggested by any child doctor, the intake of the food also has a strong impact. Some foods might trigger the ADHD kid while some may alleviate the irritation, which is so common among ADHD kids.
Parents with the help of their family doctor can make a ‘To-eat’ and ‘Not-To-Eat’ check list of sorts that can be very helpful. Food provided cannot cure ADHD but promises to tackle any of the carbohydrates that are affecting a child’s mood. The things that our child eats contribute to the symptoms of ADHD.
Parents cannot keep tab on their ADHD child who is constantly moving and unable to sit calmly at one place, but they can definitely take charge of what they’re eating.
What to eat?
1. Protein rich food:
Protein helps the brain to be alert. Goat cheese is rich in protein content and can be added to the diet if the child is allergic to the cow’s milk cheese. In fact cow cheese, beans, eggs and chicken are known to increase concentration and help the ADHD medications do its job. Proteins are also known to curb the restlessness and irritability caused by the medications during ADHD treatment. Around 24 to 30 grams of protein is needed for kids, which further varies as per the age.
Giving a breakfast that is balanced in protein is highly recommended for ADHD kids.
2. Vegetables and fruits:
Fruits like apples and pears are known for their complex carbohydrates (which are good), help a lot. Other fruits like orange, Kiwi, grape fruits are recommended to add in your kid’s diet. These fruits have lower sugar levels and when consumed the fiber in those fruits helps in absorption of fruit sugar. Thus, making these fruits brain friendly.
Coming to vegetables doctors are asking to include lots of leafy things in diet and the topmost one is spinach.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids:
The essential fatty acids are found in fish. However, one has to keep in mind to not to consume fish that has high mercury levels. Salmon and white fish have low mercury levels and can be eaten. Mercury is one of the toxic metals on the earth and should be avoided at any cost.
Nuts are another great source for omega-3 fatty acids. By giving this to the child on a daily basis he/she will be getting the essential fatty acids for the day. Tuna is another great source, by trying to include that in your kid’s breakfast can do wonders!
4. Drink loads of water
Around 80% of the brain is water, and in order to ensure smooth functioning of it give your child water from time to time.
What not to eat?
- Sugar and soda: Sugar is known to increase the activity of the body which is disastrous for kids having ADHD and soda consists of artificial colors which is a big no.
- Caffeine and chocolate
- Corn and chips are known to trigger someone with ADHD
- Swordfish: It has high mercury levels that decrease concentration levels. One can opt for other alternatives like shrimps and white fish.
- Processed food items
- Fast food and red meat
- Artificial sweeteners
- Dyes and preservatives
- Dairy products like ice cream and yogurt.
It is not in any way that we can cure ADHD only via food, medications are mandatory with respective behavior therapy. However, to help child cope with certain emotions like restlessness food can abate certain chemicals in brain that try to push a child to act extremely.