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ADHD and Diet: What’s the Connection?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder─ADHD─is an increasingly common behavioral issue that affects up to 10% of school-age children. ADHD is characterized by an inability to pay attention/concentrate on tasks. Symptoms may also include restlessness, impulsive behavior, anxiety and/or depression. ADHD affects children, teens, and adults. While there is no “cure” for this disorder, a growing body of evidence suggests that nutrition can have a very positive impact.

Along with certain food additives, ADHD appears to be caused in part by suboptimal levels of nutrients including zinc, iron, magnesium, pycnogenol, and omega-3 fatty acids1. One study revealed that after 12 weeks of consuming essential fatty acids, magnesium and zinc, most subjects showed a considerable reduction in ADHD symptoms.2

Another study confirmed that ADHD, dyslexia, and autism are often associated with a lack of omega-3 fatty acids, and that a substantial reduction in ADHD symptoms is achieved when these crucial fats are given to children facing this disorder.3

Daniel Amen, MD, brain researcher and author of Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD recommends these key dietary changes:

• Emphasize healthy protein─especially for breakfast─to improve concentration and focus.
• Minimize simple carbs like white-flour based items, sweets, white rice, sugary drinks, etc.
• Boost your complex carb intake, such as green/non-starchy veggies, and low-glycemic fruit like apples, pears, grapefruit, etc.
• Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, nut and seed oils, and fish oil capsules.
• Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement daily to fill in dietary gaps.

All this research again confirms some key messages, not only for ADHD and other disorders, but also lasting weight loss, immune health, and disease prevention across the board. Start smart with lean protein, healthy fat and green superfoods in the form of a morning whey protein shake─a daily ritual for a growing number of people committed to optimal health/fitness on every level.

Additionally, keep those omega-3s coming in every day through wild salmon, sardines and fish oil capsules. And lastly, don’t neglect your daily multiple vitamin/mineral supplement or children’s multi-nutrient blend to help boost overall wellness and minimize the risk of numerous health challenges.

References
1 Nutr Rev. 2008 Oct;66(10):558-68
2 Lipids Health Dis. 2010 Sep 24
3 Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Feb;169(2):149-64. Epub 2009 Aug 12

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Author Gerry Morton

President & CEO at EnergyFirst. High energy, action oriented leader committed to helping others live their best lives. Lives in Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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