There has been a lot in the news about ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) this week. The statistics are that in the US, 4% of children aged 4 to 8 and 9.7% of children aged 9 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. That translates to around 4.5 million young people who have trouble paying attention and finishing tasks. In classrooms and at home ADHD behavior can appear rude, obnoxious, and disruptive because these children have trouble controlling impulsive behaviors.
In my experience, I have found when parents chose healthy nutritious foods for these kids, they notice a difference in reducing the number of behavioral problems and improving academic performance. Diet changes include, drinking juice diluted with water, eliminating sodas, candy, pizza, burgers, tacos and fries foods. Instead of eating lots of processed foods with excess carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, more protein dishes, and entrees free of chemicals and additives can be offered. The changes can be dramatic.
Parents have shared that their kids appear more calm and well-behaved and discipline problems are less after about 3-4 weeks of being on a low carb diet. I also recommend that parents give there kids L-theanine (I use a supplement called Celepro from Metagenics) which is a natural substance found in green tea. This helps kids focus and therefore concentration to study is improved.
The traditional medical treatment for ADHD has been medication. In fact, at least half of these children are taking powerful psycho-stimulant drugs like Adderall or Ritalin to control their symptoms. While these synthetic chemicals are effective at controlling hyperactive and aggressive behavior, there is often side effects that come from these drugs, including dizziness, insomnia, confusion, and an irregular heart beat.
What if these kids are off balance because there body is getting a toxin load from chemicals and processed foods, too much sugar, and dangerous additives that affect neurochemistry? Doesn’t it make sense to try a healthy food plan!
Adderall is a cocktail of four different amphetamines. High-dosage and long term use have been linked to erectile problems and other sexual dysfunctions. Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant.
Let’s continue to pay more attention to nutrition as the first line of therapy. Start making better dietary changes at home. Stop buying junk food and spend the money on organic produce and grass-fed meats.