How does ADHD and Nutrition Connect?

ADHD and Food For Children

The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) has taken the world by storm. According to the CDC, there are 5.2 million children diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 17.  Up to 70 percent of these children will continue with symptoms to adulthood.  These numbers are staggering.

ADHD is normally defined by the inability to maintain attention by impulsive behavior. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. ADHD can also be associated with additional psychiatric conditions such as learning disabilities, anxiety, depression and later in life, substance abuse.  There is a laundry list of symptoms for this disorder and  a diagnosis is typically made when a child is experiencing at least 6 of these symptoms.

Symptoms of Poor Attention

Does not have attention to detail

Difficulty in maintaining focus when playing

Has a hard time listening

Often looses things that are necessary

Easily distracted

Symptoms of Impulsive Behavior

Often fidgets with hands or feet

Talks excessively

Blurts out answers before question is completed

Often interrupts others

Has difficulty awaiting their turn

ADHD and The RIGHT Food For Children

There is array of symptoms out there for this illness but standard treatment is often the same. Typical treatment to start are stimulant drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall. These drugs have significant side effects such as irritability, headaches, nausea, additional anxiety and most recently found are issues with heart rhythms.  Antidepressants and behavioral therapy are also standard treatments. A very realistic and conservative approach can be replacing television or video games with exercise.  Exercise plays a very important role in children with ADHD.

According to new research among pediatricians, children who play significant amount of video games are more likely to develop ADHD.

The place for nutrition has played a controversial role in treatment for ADHD. Now subsequent studies reveal that diet does play a role in ADHD. Ridding children of the toxic additives in their diet and replacing with dairy alternative and whole plant based food is an outstanding avenue to take. In the typical western diet, children are eating more processed food that are toxic in nature. The levels of toxic food  have risen extensively over the last 3o years.

Parents often have a problem with “depriving” their children of the foods they enjoy. Children are much more receptive then we give them credit for. There are many wonderful hearty and healthy foods that are packed full of nutrients with no sugar or caffeine that children enjoy. I say it often, but their is an alternative for virtually everything out there.

Many parents swear by a dietary change as their only source of improvement for their child. Children are exposed to so many food allergens daily. Since dietary induced inflammation is one of the primary irritants in ADHD, cutting out certain foods are imperative.

Replacing dairy products with non dairy products such as soy cheese and almond milk is a good place to start. Then, replacing all of the processed and frozen foods with foods that are rich in phytonutrients, minerals and amino acids could be next. Depending on the amount of changes, ADHD can be significantly reduced and in some cases has been reversed.

Working with children has become a strong focus of mine, due to the fact childhood obesity and ADHD is rising out of control. Prevention is our best alternative.

Call me today and we can get started with changing your habits together, and as a family. We can all benefit from a little change.

Contact Me

Gabrielle Hungate

Holistic Nutritionist

Richmond, VA