If you are looking for ADHD natural treatment methods then you will probably realize that these cannot be discussed without addressing the issue of ADHD and diet.
This is such a vast topic that I have devoted this page just to that.
If however you are searching for natural remedies for ADHD to build into a comprehensive holistic treatment plan, then after you have read this page, you will want to read my ADHD natural remedies page where I discuss many different modalities and remedies for this condition.
Also, make sure you check out at my Homeopathy and Flower Essence page for ADHD.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that a Western-style dietary pattern was associated with more than double the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis compared with a healthier pattern, after adjusting for numerous other social and family influences.
Reference: A. L., et al. 2010. ADHD is associated with a "Western" dietary pattern in adolescents. Journal of Attention Disorders, published on-line July 14, 2010.
If your child is suffering from ADHD, then I suggest you try the following dietary approach alongside other measures and ADHD natural treatment that you may wish to adopt, for a minimum of one month but optimally for at least three months.
Some children respond to a change in diet after just a few days but others do need three or four weeks while their bodies are just and eliminate the troublesome substances that have been exacerbating the problem for probably a long time.
This ADHD natural treatment change in diet will allow most children to correct any underlying chemical imbalances.
The body is an amazing thing, and given the right circumstances and the right nutrition it will always attempt to heal itself. ADHD is just one area where it frequently succeeds in doing just that.
I realize that to be buying and preparing natural foods can be a major challenge in today's busy world especially if you are a single parent, have other young children or have to go out to work. However, your efforts with this ADHD natural treatment will be well rewarded and the whole of your family will benefit and not just the child with ADHD.
It is important to note, that although I refer frequently to children with ADHD the strategies described on this page hold true for adults with ADHD also.
As I have already mentioned above, preparing only fresh foods to your child can be a challenge.
However this is the only way to be sure that your child is not exposed to potentially harmful chemicals such as colourings, flavourings and preservatives.
You do not need to prepare special meals just for your child but instead change the approach to food for your whole family as this is not only easier but everyone will benefit from this ADHD natural treatment .
Most young children will join in and eat what everyone else seems to be eating as they want to be grown up too. You can always separate portion off to one side before you add seasonings that you do not want to give your child because he doesn't like them.
You will no doubt be aware that high blood sugar levels and/or unstable blood sugar levels are to be avoided in all children with ADHD.
For this reason it is important that your child does not skip breakfast, but instead starts the day with some healthy, slow release energy food as these will set the tone and balance for the rest of the day.
They will also keep your child's full for longer and consequently help him to resist the urge for unhealthy snacks later in the morning. Organic porridge oats or organic unsweetened whole-grain cereal are fine examples of this ADHD natural treatment approach.
Please be aware however, that most commercially bought breakfast cereal is full of sugar as well as flavourings, preservatives and colourings and so are to be avoided.
Some children and adults do better when they start the day with protein included in the breakfast also. One easy solution is 20 grams of a whey or rice protein shake mixed with almond or hempseed milk. Protein also has the advantage of keeping your child fuller for longer and so helps him to avoid snacking on problem foods.
B vitamins are healing to stressed-out nerves. Good sources include:
Tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin, a chemical that produces a sense of calm. Incorporate the following into meals and snacks where possible
These can be especially helpful in assisting your child to sleep, especially if taken in the evening for dinner or as a snack just before bedtime.
Anyone with food sensitivities or toxicity issues should drink lots of clean quality water to assist the body to cleanse and detoxify itself, although to be frank, this is actually something we should all be doing as a matter of course.
However this simple and inexpensive ADHD natural treatment can make a world of difference to a child with ADHD.
Regularly serve brain-healthy foods that are rich in essential fatty acids. Examples include:
If you have read my causes of ADHD page, then you will already know that many children with ADHD found to have an allergy or sensitivity to a particular food item, and in some cases several sensitivities and allergies.
My belief is that parents know best and so if you have spotted that a certain food item seems to trigger a deterioration in your child's symptoms, even if it is not mentioned here, and even if it does not seem to make any sense, just trust your judgement and eliminate it from the diet immediately. Sometimes you will see changes for the better almost straight away but equally if given that substance, you will often see changes for the worse within minutes.
A particular culprit I have noticed or highly coloured sweets and candies, and sometimes if you are really observant you can actually narrow it down to which particular colour of those sweets that is actually causing the problem.
If you have spotted several things, then eliminate those same several things.
Sometimes it is hard to be sure if there is a trigger or if you are sure then what it is exactly. Since it is so important that you identify these triggers because they are actually harmful to your child, you need to start practising elimination in your ADHD natural treatment.
What I mean by this is eliminate one thing from the diet at a time instead of lots of things. This way you can see which it is that your child responds to.
For example, if you are not sure if it is chocolate or peanuts that your child reacts to because he happens to love Snickers bars, then give him some form of chocolate without the nuts to start with and see if this brings improvement.
Once you know, then switch it and give him peanuts without the chocolate to see if he is also sensitive to peanuts as it may be that he has sensitivities and allergies to both. (Of course it may be a clear sensitivity to the sugar content also but then you will begin to see a theme and consequently can start to address it directly in your ADHD natural treatment).
Once you have established the trigger, you can move onto the next suspected one and start eliminating that.
This may be painstaking and time-consuming but it is essential and is time well spent. Once you know what it is that your child's body cannot deal with then you can teach him how to avoid it for the future.
Of course having food sensitivities and allergies can in the end lead to many other health problems and so by doing this you are not only helping his ADHD but any other problems that he may already have or be in the process of developing that you are as yet unaware of.
Common food allergens include (but are not limited to):
Chemicals are added to food to act as flavourings, colourings or preservatives and are in almost all processed, pre-packaged, canned and packet foods including of course soft drinks, confectionery, convenience foods, TV meals, ready meals, and junk foods.
They are everywhere and extremely difficult to avoid unless you adopt a home-cooked fresh food only policy. This might be difficult to achieve and of course children are exposed to food elsewhere also whether that be school meals, grandparent's houses all while out playing with their friends on the part so it is important that you teach your child what is good for him and what is not.
However he is a child and he will be tempted sometimes. This is only natural and allowances need to be made in your ADHD natural treatment.
Over time however, both you and he will come to realize the types of foods that seem to affect him the most and then you can both work on keeping those items out of the diet even if the ones sneak in at times.
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial published in the journal Lancet tested whether the intake of artificial food colour and additives affected childhood behaviour.
During the six-week trial, researchers gave 153 three-year-old and 144 eight- to nine-year-old drinks with additives, colours, and a common preservative. These included sunset yellow, carmoisine, tartrazine, ponceau, quinolone yellow (E104), allura red (E129), and sodium benzoate.
This combination is similar to commercial drink mixes and additives equivalent to two servings of candy a day. Children in the placebo group received a similar-looking and similar-tasting solution.
Evaluation of the children was done by teachers, parents, and a computer test. Children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive and had shorter attention spans from consuming the drink containing the additives.
Symptoms of hyperactivity were present in some children within an hour of consuming the artificial additives.
Reference: D., et al. 2007. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour. in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 370:1560-67.
Unstable blood sugar levels are often a major part of what is going on for a child with ADHD and it is important to eat in such a way as to help stabilize these blood sugar levels.
In fact one of my readers sent in a story about how her son was helped by reducing sugar in his diet.
One of the ways to stabilize sugar levels in the bloodstream is to eat foods that release their energy carbohydrate and sugar components into the system more slowly so that blood sugar levels do not rapidly escalate and then rapidly drop.
There is a ADHD natural treatment whole dietary approach to address this nowadays and is often used by people wanting to lose weight or who are diabetic.
It is called the GI diet otherwise known as glycemic index diet. I highly recommend that you purchase the book or do an on-line search about this topic and include the slower release food items into your overall dietary approach. You will find that this is not in conflict with introducing more fresh foods and in fact will only serve to complement your efforts.
Of course the most obvious and most simple ADHD natural treatment is to cut out sugar from your child's diet, especially white refined sugar as this not only has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, but is also a major culprit in relation to unstable or high blood sugar levels, both of which will affect your child adversely.
It is important to realize that sugar lurks in many food products in the Western world including those that are supposedly "Savory" foods such as baked beans for example. Just read the label on the tin and you will be amazed.
So once again to avoid this harmful substance, means avoiding processed and pre-packaged food and drink items including junk foods and convenience foods etc.
Refined carbohydrates should also be avoided because at a basic chemical level they are almost the same as sugar. Consequently when taken into the system, the body will transform it very quickly and easily into sugar and once again you will have a high and unstable blood sugar problem to contend with.
What is meant by refined carbohydrates? Refined carbohydrates are quite simply foods that are made with refined grains such as white wheat flour which is extremely common and is almost a staple in the Western world these days.
This means that wherever possible you should avoid in your ADHD natural treatment buying bread is, pastries, pies, biscuits and cakes that are made with refined white grains.
Instead, search the natural health food stores for whole-grain, brown, unrefined breads and other produce.
Not only will meeting this which mean that your child's blood sugar levels are more stable, but he will be eating foods that will release energy more slowly and so he will stay fuller for longer.
Also these ADHD natural treatment foods contain much more fiber and as such are much healthier for the bowels and intestines which can also be part of the problem in children with ADHD.
Study: A 2010 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that a Western-style dietary pattern was associated with more than double the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis compared with a more healthy pattern, after adjusting for numerous other social and family influences.
Reference: A. L., et al. 2010. ADHD is associated with a “Western” dietary pattern in adolescents. Journal of Attention Disorders, published on-line July 14, 2010.
Although on first reading, many of the above recommendations may seem complex and you may feel overwhelmed and wondering how on earth you are going to start to incorporate these measures into your families every day dietary routine, it is not as difficult as it first appears.
If you replace all processed, pre-packaged, junk and convenience foods and drinks with fresh, home prepared food accompanied with lots of clean water, you will by default have covered just about all of the bases talked about above.
I am sure that after studying this whole page you will see why they dietary approach is an ADHD natural treatment method in and of itself.
It seems there really is truth in that old adage "you are what you eat" and if this is the case then no wonder we have so many sick children in the Western world nowadays.
Was there a food you identified that was making your childs problems worse? Did they improve when you stopped them having it? What was the food? How did you discover which food it was ?
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