Preliminary scientific studies have found that altering a child's diet may help him if he suffers from ADHD, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is not to say that an ADHD diet will serve as a cure-all. In fact, statistically speaking, you will probably find that scientists can prove no beneficent effects from going on an ADHD diet. However, what's important to realize is that an ADHD diet is not a solution in of itself. Nor are medication or herbal supplements for that matter. The most effective treatment for this condition is a combination of medication or herbal remedies, along with an improved ADHD diet, a behavioral modification therapy program, and significant lifestyle changes. It is important for parents to understand what ADHD really is so that they can better prepare for productive treatment. ADHD is not presently curable. There are even some sources that speculate whether it "exists", at least in the context that so many believe it to exist, as in a disease that must be thwarted with bottles of prescription medication.
ADHD is a condition that must be worked around and patiently treated with love and discipline. An ADHD diet can definitely help in much the same way that medication can-it helps to control the natural impulses of a child so that he can focus on the productive therapy at hand. What makes a good healthy diet? In general, what is healthy to eat is also very good for ADHD children to eat. A diet for ADHD is actually very similar to any healthy diet you would see for a professional athlete, a person trying to losing weight, or a motivational speaker. Obviously, the first restriction is sugar. Junk food should be avoided like the plague, unless you want your child to skip and jump for a great majority of the day. Experts recommend that you cut the sugar intake down by about 90% at least in the first two weeks, and this also applies to chocolate.
The diet should also avoid fruit juices, since these beverages-while they are healthy-do have high sugar content. If you want encourage drinking otherwise healthy beverages, then make sure it is pure juice, and try to dilute your drink with 50% water. Nutrasweet and other artificial sweeteners should also be avoided, as they merely cause craving for real sugar or cause dieters to over drink.
In a diet for ADHD there might also be the need to avoid other typically "healthy" foods. For instance, some experts advise against drinking too much dairy, as nearly 30% of children are actually allergic to milk. Processed meats and MSG are also known to cause problems. A good rule to shop by is that the more strange chemicals that you can't pronounce on the ingredients list the more your child should avoid the meal. Fried foods should also be significantly cut as should artificial food coloring.
What Should My Child Eat?
Now that you know what should be eaten, next consider what foods are good for the ADHD diet. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure to shop for high protein and low carbohydrate meals. Avoid commercial cereals and think about restaurant-type foods-breakfast meats, toast, eggs and other southern home cooking examples. Water is always encouraged as it is thirst quenching and super-healthy.
After the child gets set into a pattern you can start introducing fruits and vegetables, perhaps even healthy sugar provided that you carefully schedule this for ideal exercise. You can also increase the use of flax seed or primrose oil for an excellent source of Omega-oils, an essential fatty acid that improves brain function.
by Einar Eskeland