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ADHD Diet & Nutrition

Research suggests that ADHD symptoms improve with a protein-rich, low-sugar diet to stimulate the brain’s power to focus and manage executive functions.

Poor eating habits don't cause attention deficit disorder, but research suggests a strong relationship between ADHD and the food you consume. Find out what foods make a diet ADD-friendly, and what may make ADHD symptoms worse. Here, the ADDitude experts offer advice for ADHD-healthy eating.

ADDitude's Top 5 Articles On Diet & Nutrition Appear Below. But First, ADHD Cooking Tips:

Four ways to cook up an ADHD-friendly diet:

1. Beef Up Protein Levels

Incorporate protein-rich foods into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner to increase alertness in ADHD children and adults. A protein-rich breakfast may also reduce irritability and restlessness caused by ADD medication throughout the day.

2. Limit Foods High in Chemicals

Recent research suggests that a diet low in artificial dyes, preservatives, and sweeteners -- which may cause increased hyperactivity and distractedness -- can benefit some children with ADD.

3. Watch the Sugar

Many parents of children with ADHD believe that sugar has a negative effect on behavior -- despite several studies that conclude otherwise. In any case, sugar carries loads of calories and has no real nutritional value. People who eat lots of sweets may be missing out on essential nutrients that can keep them calm and focused.

4. Avoid "Trigger" Foods

Some studies suggest that sensitivities to certain foods may worsen symptoms in children with ADHD. An elimination diet can help you target these trouble foods. Start by eating foods unlikely to cause reactions: lamb, chicken, potatoes, rice, bananas, apples, celery, broccoli, etc. Then restore other foods, one at a time, to see whether they cause increased fidgetiness or sleep troubles.

Top 5 Diet & Nutrition Articles

ADHD Food: The Right Carbs, Fats, Proteins, and More

Read how and why certain foods and nutrients -- such as complex carbs, fish oil, protein, and certain vitamins -- improve behavior and symptoms in children with ADHD...

Benefits of Breakfast: ADHD Nutrition

A high-protein meal in the morning can help your ADHD child learn throughout the rest of the day. Here is why, as well as several ADD-friendly breakfast recipes to start your day off right...

Smart, Healthy Snacks for the ADHD Brain

Here are ADHD-friendly foods and snacks that contain the nutrients children with attention deficit benefit from (and ADHD adults, too!) and are low on the ingredients that can make symptoms worse...

10 Simple Summer Dinners for ADHD Children

A list of dinner ideas that deliver needed nutrition to ADHD children and take the heat off moms. The dinners are simple to assemble and, in most cases, quick to cook. Best of all, your children can help you prepare most of them...

Boost Brain Function With Fish

You may already know that fish contains nutrients that help prevent heart disease and other serious ailments. Evidence is mounting that these same omega-3 fatty acids also optimize brain function. Read what ADHD expert, Dr. Hallowell, says...