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What Sort of Diet Can Improve ADHD Symptoms?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 11/15/2010

Following a strict diet of avoiding certain foods while making sure you have plenty of others is a great way to help manage your ADHD symptoms. This article will outline just a few of the many diet options that those with ADHD have when it comes to their nutrition.

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    Can You Custom-Build Your Diet?

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an illness that affects both children and adults. This illness is believed to be caused genetically and shows signs of being connected to the brain. The average instance of ADHD symptoms are often treated through a combination of medications and therapy.

    However, experts do admit there can be diets custom-built to alleviate symptoms. These ADHD diet options are broken down into three categories. These categories include an Overall Nutrition Diet, a Supplement Diet, and an Elimination Diet. The following sections will discuss how each ADHD diet is thought to benefit an individual suffering from this illness.

    It should be noted that diet alone is not believed to be the cause of ADHD. So it should not be a surprise that eliminating every food substance that demonstrates a connection with ADHD symptoms will not cure the person’s illness.

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    Overall Nutrition Diet

    The research behind diets and ADHD is limited and inconclusive. However, experts do admit there is probably a connection between diets and the illness. Since no solid data exists, they recommend adding foods that will improve your brain’s health. Other ADHD studies sxc.hu 278050 supermarket by CKForic have found correlations between the brain and ADHD, so the assumption that brain food helps is well founded.

    There are a number of things to look for when finding foods that help your brain. These factors include: eating more foods high in protein, eating less simple carbohydrates, eating more complex carbohydrates, and eating more omega-3 fatty acids. All these food characteristics have been shown to improve brain activity if eaten on a regular basis.

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    Supplement Diet

    Often in today’s world, we don’t have the time or money to prepare all the ideal foods that we should eat. In addition, some people may have allergic reactions to certain foods, thereby preventing them from receiving a particular element they may be lacking.

    In order to solve this problem many people have turned to supplements. Supplements are a fast and easy way to target key elements like omega-3 fatty acids to complete an ADHD diet we would otherwise find impossible.

    Experts do warn that supplements can still cause adverse reactions in some people. Therefore, before deciding on these supplements by yourself, it’s usually best to get the advice of your doctor. They will be able to point out specific supplements and amounts that will best suit the one suffering from ADHD.

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    Elimination Diet

    The third ADHD diet is the Elimination Diet. This diet suggests that you should remove certain foods that may be causing ADHD symptoms. The research on what these foods are is still ongoing. However, one study did show some results in certain food coloring agents as well as a single preservative. A gluten-free diet has also been shown to have some positive effects in those with ADHD. Further research still needs to be done for further verification on these facts.

    This does not mean you can’t have an Elimination Diet. If you suspect a certain food is causing ADHD symptoms, you can experiment by removing the food in question from the diet. It is important that you track symptoms both before and during this change in the diet.

    The key in implementing this particular ADHD diet is in tracking the symptoms. If there is no change in the symptoms, you can probably resume having that particular food. If you do note a reduction in ADHD symptoms, continue avoiding that specific food. Sometimes you may see a rise in symptom activity. In these cases, you should once again start eating the food you were testing.

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    Resources

    National Institute of Mental Health: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    WebMD: ADHD diets for children and adults. Retrieved at http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-diets.

    Image Credit: sxc.hu, CKForic