October is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Awareness Month. Their 2016 slogan is “Knowing is Better.” To quote the awareness website “It’s better for parents to know that ADHD might be part of the picture so they can seek out the help their children need; it’s better for young adults to know about their ADHD so they might arrange for appropriate accommodations in school or the workplace; and it’s better for adults to recognize their ADHD instead of feeling destined to a life of underachievement and frustration.”
I have one more to add…It’s better for everyone to understand how diet can play a role in treatment. I say everyone because the dietary guidelines established for those with ADHD are found to increase concentration and memory in those not afflicted.
So, what are the dietary guidelines? Deficiencies in certain types of foods can worsen ADHD symptoms in children and adults. An ADHD diet that ensures adequate levels of the right foods and optimizes brain function. Here are some scientifically proven suggestions that provide the necessary nutrients.
- Start with Balanced Meals: Half of the plate should be filled with fruits or vegetables, one-fourth with a protein, and one-fourth with carbohydrates. Researchers also say eating several servings of whole grains, which are rich in fiber, each day to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and then crashing.
- Check for Protein: When you eat protein there are many beneficial effects on ADH D symptoms. Protein-rich foods are used by the body to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Protein can also prevent surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity. Those spikes followed by the crashes afterword make us crave more sugar in the long run, which can make us deficient in the other nutrients we need for focusing.
- Supplement: We can’t all be perfect in our diets. If we’re eating a variety of foods at each meal, then we’re less likely to have deficiencies. For some children or adults, absorption of nutrients is difficult. Visiting a doctor or a dietitian can help to identify where supplementation may be appropriate. Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and a variety of B-Vitamins are just some of the areas of research in supplementation that have proven results.
The biggest take-away for ADHD is just to be reminded that we’re more alike than different. We all require balanced diets to properly function, both mentally and physically. It’s better for everyone to focus on balance (in our life and our diets) whether or not they have ADHD.
For more information regarding ADHD awareness, visit their site: http://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/