Foods to feed and to avoid w/ your ADHD child{ren}

  1. TO FEED:
    Foods to Feed Your Child With ADHD
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    Foods to Feed Your Child With ADHD
    Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

    Here is one fat you want your child to have: DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, is the key to unlocking an ADHD child’s brain. Studies have found that children with learning disorders, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, often have an EFA deficiency.

    The right kinds of fat are needed to help the brain fire information efficiently from synapse to synapse. An ADHD child experiences a miscommunication between brain cells, says clinical nutritionist Marcia Zimmerman.

    A message is fired, but not received, “so then it gets sucked back up into the neuron that sent it in the first place,” says Zimmerman. The EFAs help the brain cells receive the messages sent between synapses, thus eliminating the chatter and preventing the sending neuron from scooping up its own message.

    Fish, flax seeds and nuts are great sources of EFAs. The specific EFA to look for is the omega-3 essential fatty acid DHA that’s found in fish and some algae. Fish oil supplements are an efficient way to help your child get the amount he needs. DHA omega-3 eggs and other foods with DHA added to them are also good sources. EFAs from flax seed and other sources can work too, but the body needs to convert it into the form most advantageous for one’s body, so it is a less efficient source.

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    Vitamin B Complex

    The B vitamins have been linked to improved neural activity and are great at reducing stress, both useful for children with ADHD. While most B vitamins are safe, two do have potential side effects so consult with a medical provider before selecting a supplement for your child. Vitamin B3, also commonly known as niacin, can cause skin flushing and, in a time-released form, has been associated with liver damage. High doses of vitamin B6 can cause numbness and tingling.

    Good food sources of the B vitamins are nutritional yeast, liver, whole-grain cereals and breads, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meats, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables and soy.
     
  2. Foods to Feed Your Child With ADHD


    Foods to Feed Your Child With ADHD

    Protein

    If you’ve ever traded your afternoon caffeine fix for a couple bites of salmon then you already know: Protein evenly sustains your energy. The same holds true for children with ADHD—eating small portions of protein throughout the day evens out their energy, too.
    “I have always told parents they need to plan a protein lunch,” says clinical nutritionist Marcia Zimmerman. “Make sure the child gets protein for breakfast, too.”

    Serving a protein meal doesn’t mean you have to cook. Offer your child string cheese wrapped in whole grain bread. Feed him an egg, or low-fat plain yogurt blended with a banana for sweetness.

    Zimmerman suggests mixing protein powder into a smoothie that you serve your child for breakfast, and offering a protein-rich smoothie as a snack when your child returns from school. Throughout the day, offer nuts and seeds, brown rice cakes spread with hummus, or any nut butters such as cashew butter.

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    Calcium and Magnesium

    Give your child a tall glass of milk or lots of green veggies. While calcium is known for helping build strong bones, Zimmerman says it also supports cell membranes and aids the nervous system, especially in impulse transmission, which could improve a child’s behavior.

    Magnesium also has a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, and is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have responded positively to supplementation from calcium and magnesium—both of which are found naturally in many foods.

    Milk and milk products are a main source of calcium. Green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and collard greens, and whole grains and cereals are additional sources. Green veggies such as spinach are a great source of magnesium, as are beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

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    Trace Minerals

    Trace minerals are micronutrients that are needed by the body every day, but in small amounts. Trace minerals that would help an ADHD child include zinc, and iron. Studies have shown that children with ADHD have low levels of zinc in their bodies, when compared to children without ADHD. Iron helps regulate the neurotransmitter dopamine and may help children with ADHD, though studies have been inconclusive. Trace minerals are found in fruits, vegetables, and animal products but many nutritionists recommend supplementing with a sugar-free multivitamin.


    Jean Weiss is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colo. She writes regularly about nutrition and healthy living.
     
  3. FOODS TO AVOID:

    Foods to Avoid With Your ADHD Child


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    Foods to Avoid With Your ADHD Child

    Sugar

    Sugar is an ADHD child’s downfall because it robs your body of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes and increases hyperactivity by preventing blood sugar levels from remaining stable.

    It doesn’t matter if you use refined white sugar or rich dark molasses—all sugars are created equal when it comes to their negative effect on the ADHD child. There may be slight nutritional benefits to some sugars: Sucanat, for example, is pressed cane juice that leaves the fiber behind, so you get the minerals from the plant. Also, honey offers pollen that helps with allergies, molasses contains trace minerals, and Agave metabolizes more slowly. Still, you should curb your child’s sugar intake and get savvy to hidden sugars in foods such as breakfast cereals, energy bars, sweetened drinks, soymilk and other foods. For example, did you know that a serving of flavored yogurt might contain as much sugar as a serving of ice cream? When looking at a label, along with the obvious “sugar” tag, avoid all artificial sweeteners and foods that contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose and fructose.

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    Foods to Avoid With Your ADHD Child

    Additives

    Blue bubblegum, pink and yellow cake decorations, goldfish crackers dyed the color of the rainbow—all are a visual delight for any child. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several hundred food additives designed to improve flavor, taste, and appearance, but this doesn’t mean they are healthy for your ADHD child, Zimmerman cautions. Steer clear of all artificial dyes and flavors. Zimmerman specifically mentions food coloring, such as red and yellow, and monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. And don’t assume, just because several years ago you read a lot about it in the media, that unsafe dyes are off the shelves. When possible, go natural with your food products.
     
  4. Hydrogenated Oils

    Bad fats aren’t just the nemesis for your weight loss; they also inhibit healthy nerve function. “The wrong kinds of fat don’t feed the brain, instead they interfere with the brain,” Zimmerman says. “The membranes of the brain have to be very fluid and if you are putting those saturated fats in there, cut back.”

    The wrong kinds of fats are the trans fats and saturated fats, generally the ones that harden at room temperature. Manufacturers have become savvy to trans fats, so you’ll rarely find those on a label, but you’ll still find sat fats. Healthier oils include flax seed, canola, and olive oils. Another tip to avoid hydrogenated oils: Stick to the grocery store’s perimeter. “I always tell parents to stay out of the middle of the store” where foods are more processed and likely to contain unhealthy fats, Zimmerman says.


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    Caffeine

    Caffeine pulls minerals out of the bone, when your body lacks the natural level of minerals it needs to function. Coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks are acidic and lower the natural PH of the body, says Zimmerman, making it work harder to find a natural balance. This means that an ADHD child who’s consuming too much caffeine—sometimes found in chocolates, desserts, and carbonated beverages—may be losing the minerals he needs to assist his nerve function.
     
  5. Foods to Avoid With Your ADHD Child

    Salt

    Some snackers forgo sugar in favor of salt, but sodium is another nutrient to avoid in excess. Many of us know that sodium can cause high blood pressure, but too much can interfere with your child’s internal equilibrium when it comes to ADHD, says Zimmerman. Similar to caffeine, salt can lead to a depletion of the minerals needed to keep the neurons fire in a healthy manner. Saying sodium “interferes with a child’s mineral balance,” Zimmerman suggests trading tortilla chips, pretzels and other snacks high in salt for potassium-rich fruits and vegetables. Processed foods tend to be high in sodium, so watch for it on the labels.


    Jean Weiss is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colo. She writes regularly about nutrition and healthy living.
     
  6. I posted this because it's not only for ADHD children, it's also a good preventative for children w/ any behavioral issues.
     
  7. very informative article...thanks! more reasons to buy "omega-3 eggs";)
     
  8. There is a lot of truth to this, also. My mother is a retired teacher, and she did a ton of research on this for her own personal interest. There is a red dye and yellow dye in particular she feels really is bad for hyperactivity. Also, when I found out this baby I am carrying could have Downs,I discovered a lot of information on the Internet about DHA supplementation. My doctor has prescribed it for me to take, so that if he does have it the effects of Downs could be less severe. DHA works wonders on many different brain issues.
     
  9. ITA:yes:
    There's also special diets for children w/ autism or autism like traits. My neighbor across the sreet has twins a year older than mine and they both are autistic. Her DD is compeltely functional now, you'd never know she was once considered autistic, and the boy is much better. This is after a year+ of chelating/special diet and breathing treatments.
     
  10. Great Posts! Thanks for sharing the information~!:tup::heart:
     
  11. wow, thanks so much for sharing. I knew about the sugar, I mean affects even me when it comes to attention. lol. Thank God I dont have this problem with DD, but its good to be informed. Thanks Swanky
     
  12. Thanks for this post.

    I am such an advocate for putting healthy things into our children. We use fish oil supplements (I buy the strawberry flavored and mix it in a sugary yogurt that I would never give them otherwise. It masks the flavor of the oil.) We also add ground flaxseed to cereal.

    When my kids have refined sugar or soda they become completely different little people. Frazzled and angry. One of my sons seems to have a hypersensitivity to dye and it is in everything!! Trader Joes has toothpaste, vitamins and most snacks that leave the dyes out.
     
  13. People used to come into my store (back in the day) and ask about supplements for ADHD and I would always first point them to the omega fatty acids...there are actually formulas specifically for children, etc. Not only is it the best thing for ADHD but I also take flaxseed oil daily to get it myself because it improves brain function. so moms, you should take it too! I believe since it's a good fat it also helps lower cholesterol, but don't quote me on that.
     
  14. ^sooo many benefits, I take a flax seed oil and a fish oil in addition to my daily, everyday.
    Kids are SO much smaller than us, it makes sense that if anything possibly affects us, it's only magnified when our children ingest it.
     
  15. thanks for the informative article. It's great to read and great for first time mums as well.