Watch for Food Sensitivities
A number of research studies have shown that many children with ADHD are sensitive to certain common foods in the diet. These sensitivities make their ADHD symptoms significantly worse. In one recent study 50 children were placed on a restricted diet for five weeks, and 78 percent of them had significant improvements in ADHD symptoms!
In my practice, I have seen improvements in many children when they stopped eating foods they were sensitive to. The most common culprits are dairy, wheat, and soy.
It's important to know that ADHD children do not necessarily have "food allergies" in the strict, medical sense. Results when testing for food allergies are usually negative in these kids. The only way to know whether food sensitivities affect your child is to remove certain foods from his diet and observe his reaction. A child might have food sensitivities if he displays allergy symptoms, like hayfever, asthma, eczema, or GI problems. But I have seen children with none of these problems respond well to a change in diet.
If there are one or two foods you suspect might be exacerbating your child's ADHD symptoms, eliminate one for two or three weeks. Observe your child’s ADHD symptoms during that time. If you are thinking about starting a restrictive diet, find a professional to guide you. I know dietary changes are tough to engineer in a child with ADHD, but many families have done it successfully and are happy with the results.
Next: Try Helpful Herbs
This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue of ADDitude.
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