Diet and Nutrition for Those Dealing with ADHD
When coping with any therapeutic regimes, including those with ADHD, busy schedules and distractions abound, sometimes making it difficult to concentrate fully on what you are eating and ensuring you get proper nutrition for good health and energy. However eating enough of the right foods, avoiding some other foods and maintaining balanced nutrition are very important to balance energy levels, help with focus throughout the day and promote overall good health. Below are key diet and nutrition tips to help support therapeutic practices for children and adults dealing with ADHD and associated symptoms. While it may not be realistic to strictly adhere to these principals, working to focus on the tips below can help support therapeutic efforts.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Be sure to include: DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid in your diet. Studies indicate that children with learning disorders, including ADHD, are EFA deficient. Certain fats are required to help the brain transmit information through its synapses-EFAs. A person with ADHD experiences a miscommunication within the brain, where a message can be transmitted but not received. Therefore, augmenting these functions through ensuring EFAs are included in a balanced diet is crucial to support treatment strategies.
High amounts of EFAs are contained particularly in fish, nuts and seeds such as flax seeds. Omega-3 essential fatty acid is one of the most beneficial EFAs and is most prevalent in fish and some algae. Fish oil supplements can also be used to help boost EFA, particularly if a deficiency is noted.
Include Vitamin B Complex
The B vitamins are linked to improved neural responses and are also known to help reduce stress, which benefits both youth and adults with ADHD. However, some B vitamins can have potential side effects, so do check with your physician before using. For instance, vitamin B3, niacin, is attributed to skin flushing and has even been associated with liver damage. High doses of vitamin B6 have caused numbness and tingling of extremities. These side effects are mostly attributed to supplements, and therefore, eating foods rich in B vitamins is the preferred method of ensuring you receive proper doses of these vitamins. Good sources, then, of B vitamins are nuts, milk, eggs, leafy greens, fruit, soy and nutritional yeast.
Protein Fuels Energy
Nothing sustains energy better than protein. Compared to a quick caffeine fix that boosts you high than leaves you crashed and drained, protein in the form of nuts, beans, yogurt, meat and fish, etc. can help super-charge your energy while evening it out through the course of the day. To help maintain energy levels, include protein-rich meals and snacks, and pay particular attention to breakfast, lunch and mid afternoon.
Protein powders can also be a great addition for snacks and even help boost protein levels in breakfasts such as smoothies and protein pancakes. Hummus, nuts and seeds, almond or peanut butter and cheese are also quick protein-filled snacks or additions to meals.
Sometimes diet alone cannot help in the support of individuals with ADHD. There are numerous supplements that can help. Checkout some recommendations on our Natural Products page.