ADHD/ADD Symptoms May Be Helped By Diet

February 14, 2012

A new study has found that while diet alone doesn’t cure ADD, a nutritional diet will improve many ADD symptoms.

Elimination diets (eliminating a category of food like sugar, fat, gluten, meat) are becoming increasingly popular, but they don’t work for the majority of cases of ADD symptoms, leading many parents to feel inadequate when so many are praising the benefits of eliminating foods.

A paper published in Pediatrics reports that while elimination diets may not be the cure parents think, adding nutrition can improve ADD symptoms and compliment behavioral therapy or medication to get better results.

So what should be added? Omega-3 fatty acids seem to work well (and even if they don’t—studies can be mixed—Dr. Benjamin Prince is quoted at NPR as saying they can’t hurt, since Omega-3 fatty acids have heart and other dietary benefits).

Kids with ADD symptoms should also take a multivitamin and be tested for zinc and iron deficiency, common problems that can be easily remedied (although you can supplement with iron, it’s usually better to get it from food—dark leafy greens and small portions of meat).

In addition to making sure that key foods are in kids with ADD symptoms diet, it’s important to make sure that the foundational diet is not only balanced with whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, and small portions of different meat sources, but that it’s structured. Some ADD symptom medications suppress hunger, so kids can get hungry without knowing it.

Regular meal times with balanced foods can also improve other aspects of health that help improve ADD symptoms: sleeping, steady energy levels, and a healthy weight (weight can affect hormone balances).

Have you dealt with ADD symptoms? What worked and what didn’t? Let us know in the comments!

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