Carbs and ADD/ADHD Brain Power
Carbs affect brain function and mood. The rate at which sugar from a particular food enters brain cells, and other cells of the body, is called the “glycemic index” (GI). Foods with a high glycemic index stimulate the pancreas to secrete high levels of insulin, which causes sugar to empty quickly from the blood into the cells. Insulin regulates the ups and downs of blood sugar, and the rollercoaster behavior that sometimes goes with them. Low-glycemic foods deliver a steady supply of sugar, helping a person with ADD/ADHD control behavior and improve performance.
Foods with the best brain sugars include:
Fruits: grapefruit, apples, cherries, oranges, and grapes. Fruits have a lower glycemic index, or Gi, than fruit juices, because fiber in fruit slows the absorption of fruit sugar. A whole apple is more brain-friendly than apple juice; a whole orange better than orange juice.
Cereals and grains: oatmeal, bran, higher-fiber cereals and pastas also have a low Gi. Corn flakes and sugarcoated breakfast cereals have higher Gis.
Vegetables and legumes: legumes, such as soybeans, kidney beans, and lentils have the lowest glycemic index of any food.
Dairy products: Milk and yogurt have low Gis, slightly higher than legumes, but lower than fruits. Plain yogurt has a lower glycemic index than yogurt with fruit preserves or sugar added.