ADHD and Diet: Can a Change in Diet Help Manage Symptoms?
ADHD and Diet: Can a Change in Diet Help Manage Symptoms?

ADHD and Diet: Can a Change in Diet Help Manage Symptoms?

ADHD and Diet have been linked since the Feingold diet in the 1970’s, but it’s still not fully understood how.

As many as 6.1 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and it can be a challenge to manage the symptoms of this condition. While there are many treatment options available, including medication and therapy, recent research has suggested that diet could play a role in helping to manage symptoms of ADHD.

If you or someone you know has ADHD, it’s worth considering the role that diet plays in managing symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about ADHD and diet.

The Link Between ADHD and Diet

While it’s not yet fully understood how diet impacts ADHD symptoms, there is some evidence to suggest that certain foods can exacerbate symptoms. For example, high-sugar foods, caffeine, and artificial colours and flavours have been linked to hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating in children with ADHD.

On the other hand, there is also evidence to suggest that a healthy diet can help to manage symptoms of ADHD. In particular, diets that are high in protein and low in sugar have been found to be beneficial. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, nuts, and seeds, have been shown to improve focus and attention in children with ADHD.

Making Healthier Choices

If you or someone you know has ADHD, making healthier food choices can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Cut down on sugar: Try to limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and opt for healthier snacks like fruit and nuts instead.
  • Increase protein intake: Incorporate more lean protein sources into your diet, such as chicken, fish, and beans.
  • Eat more omega-3s: Try to eat more fish, nuts, and seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avoid artificial colours and flavours: Look for foods that are free from artificial colours and flavours, which can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD.
  • Consider supplements: If you’re struggling to get enough omega-3s in your diet, consider taking a fish oil supplement.

While changing your diet may not be a cure for ADHD, it’s worth considering as a way to help manage symptoms. By making healthier food choices, you can improve your overall health and potentially reduce the severity of ADHD symptoms.

The role of additives in ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an estimated 6.1 million children in the United States. The exact cause of ADHD is still unknown, but research has suggested that additives in food may play a role in the development of this disorder.

Additives are substances added to food to improve its taste, texture, appearance, or shelf life. These substances include artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners, and preservatives. While the FDA has deemed these additives safe for human consumption, research has suggested that they may have an impact on behaviour, particularly in children with ADHD.

The Impact of Additives on ADHD Symptoms

Studies have found that certain food additives may exacerbate symptoms of ADHD in children. For example, artificial colours have been shown to increase hyperactivity and reduce attention span in children with ADHD. Additionally, some preservatives, like sodium benzoate, have been found to increase hyperactivity in children with ADHD.

The exact mechanism by which these additives impact behaviour is still unclear. However, some researchers believe that these substances may cause an immune system reaction, which can lead to inflammation in the brain and subsequent changes in behaviour.

How to Reduce Exposure to Additives

If you or your child has ADHD, it may be worth considering reducing exposure to food additives. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Read labels carefully: Look for foods that are free from artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives.
  • Choose whole foods: Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are less likely to contain additives.
  • Cook at home: Cooking meals from scratch can help you avoid processed foods, which are more likely to contain additives.
  • Consider supplements: If you’re concerned about getting enough nutrients, consider taking a multivitamin or other supplements to fill in any gaps in your diet.

While it’s not yet clear exactly how additives impact ADHD symptoms, there is evidence to suggest that reducing exposure to these substances may be helpful. By choosing whole foods and reading labels carefully, you can reduce your intake of additives and potentially improve symptoms of ADHD.