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.