ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnoses within children have been on the rise in recent years and is now one of the most over-medicated and misdiagnosed conditions. Many factors may contribute to this including increased awareness, changes in diagnostic criteria, and changes in the environment and lifestyle.
Typically pegged as a negative trait, some people with ADHD may struggle with focus, organization, and impulse control. However, they may also have strengths like creativity, spontaneity, and the ability to think outside the box – so is it really something to try and completely abolish? The important thing is helping children with ADHD learn how to harness their unique qualities while supporting their bodies to function optimally without exacerbating some of the more negative aspects associated with ADHD.
One of the best places to start support is with diet and environment, especially as we are headed into the holiday seasons, kicking off with Halloween (candy, candy, and more candy).
Here are some ways in which diet can affect ADHD and moods in general:
- Sugar and Artificial Additives: Some individuals with ADHD may be sensitive to sugar and artificial food additives, which can lead to increased hyperactivity and inattention. It’s important to monitor and reduce the intake of these substances, especially in children.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseed, and walnuts, may have a positive impact on ADHD symptoms, as they are essential for brain health.
- Protein and Complex Carbohydrates: A balanced diet with sufficient protein and complex carbohydrates can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, potentially reducing mood swings and hyperactivity.
- Food Sensitivities: In some cases, individuals with ADHD may have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. Identifying and avoiding these trigger foods can help manage symptoms.
- Caffeine: Caffeine, found in coffee and some soft drinks, can have mixed effects on individuals with ADHD. While it may increase alertness in some, it can worsen anxiety and restlessness in others.
- Mediterranean Diet: Some research suggests that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, similar to the Mediterranean diet, may benefit individuals with ADHD.
- Artificial Dyes: Research has show that food dyes can cause an increase in hyperactivity in children and have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn
It takes some work, but adjusting diet and environment can have profound impacts on children with ADHD. Make some changes with what your children are eating this Halloween and throughout the holidays, and help them enjoy the upcoming festivities with less stress and less toxic load on their bodies and minds.