Saturday, January 7, 2012

Learn the Truth About ADHD and Diet

ADHD, otherwise known as Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, can create several problems for those diagnosed. Difficulty focusing on specific tasks, particularly those that require concentration, disorganization, difficulty in paying attention to conversations and tasks at hand, and restlessness are just a few of the symptoms that individuals with ADHD experience.

The disorder can affect children, adolescents, and adults. There is no cure, so if a child is diagnosed with ADHD, the likelihood is that the disorder will carry on into adulthood. This can make focusing on the job and in relationships difficult during adulthood. Generally, ADHD is treated with medication and other types of therapy. However, many individuals wonder if the right diet could alleviate the symptoms often experienced with ADHD.

While the thought is not too far off, the research on ADHD diets is very limited and rather contradictory. Essentially, while an ADHD diet will not harm anyone who is on it, it may or may not help with symptoms of ADHD. However, experts believe that diet does play a role in alleviating symptoms associated with ADHD. The decision to go on an ADHD diet is something that only the individual can make with the help of their physician. Results are not guaranteed and any results experienced may also fluctuate from one person to the next.

What Does an ADHD Diet Mean?

Essentially, an ADHD diet should help the brain function better and help increase the functionality of certain chemicals in the brain that create the symptoms experienced with ADHD. These symptoms should lessen or be less severe when the diet is adhered to.

There are three basic types of ADHD diets. Individuals can implement parts of each one, use them all, or just stick with one type of diet to see which works best. This can vary, depending on the individual.

First, overall nutrition is important, not just for those that have ADHD but for everyone. Overall nutrition is the food that you eat every day. It is the foods that can make ADHD better or worse. Second, there are supplementation diets for ADHD. These diets assume that, by adding certain nutrients to the body, the brain will function differently. This assumes that the symptoms are created by nutrients that are lacking within the body. Lastly, there are elimination diets for ADHD. These diets would involve the removal of certain foods that may worsen the symptoms experienced with ADHD.

Using an Overall Nutrition Diet for ADHD

According to experts, having a healthy overall diet may help increase brain function. This diet includes eating a high protein diet, reducing or limiting simple carbohydrates like sugar and sweets, eating more complex carbohydrates, particularly fruits and vegetables, and increasing omega-3 fatty acids.

A high protein diet requires you to still watch for fat. This is important to future health and can help prevent heart disease. A high protein diet should be full of beans, nuts, sprouts, tofu, soy products, and can include a limited amount of cheese, eggs, and meat. It is said that a high protein diet may help to increase the efficacy of ADHD medication and proteins should be consumed early in the day and in the early afternoon for a snack.

Simple carbohydrates can include more than just sugar. Other products to avoid include white flour, potatoes, honey, and white rice. These foods may cause an increased hyperactivity in individuals with ADHD.

Complex carbohydrates are often missing from the average American diet and are extremely important. While whole grain products are considered complex carbohydrates, the majority of carbs should come from vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit. If consumed right before bed, they could help reduce restlessness at night and promote healthy sleep.

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely good for the brain. This can be taken as either a supplement or achieved through natural food sources like tuna, salmon, olive oil, canola oil, or Brazilian nuts.

ADHD Nutritional Supplements

According to some researchers, because the American diet is rarely what it should be, individuals should take a complete multivitamin every day. However, this ADHD diet should be used with caution and with the close advisement of your doctor. Since symptoms from one person to the next can vary greatly, so can results. Additionally, for adults, certain health conditions can make taking nutritional supplements dangerous.

Elimination Diets for ADHD

Elimination diets require you to be sensitive to your body. You have to learn how to recognize the severity of your symptoms and determine if a particular food could be contributing to your symptoms. To use an elimination diet, you have to first determine a food that you believe might be causing or adding to your symptoms. This assumption can be made because of how you feel after you eat a particular food. Once you have identified the food, you need to eliminate the substance from your diet completely. You then need to observe how you feel over the next few weeks. If you notice that your symptoms have lessened in severity, you have probably identified a food that you need to avoid.

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