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How to Eat a More ADHD-Friendly Diet

Nutrition can’t cause – or cure – ADHD, but it can help manage symptoms. Use these 5 easy-to-follow rules to cook up an ADHD-friendly diet.

Medication and behavior therapy are the most effective treatments for managing ADHD symptoms, but evidence shows that the right nutrition may help as well.

This video will put you on the path to good nutrition with five simple rules.

How to Eat a More ADHD-Friendly Diet

Nutrition can’t cause – or cure – ADHD, but it can help manage symptoms.

Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can improve:

  • Focus
  • Impulsivity
  • Attention

Use these 5 easy-to-follow rules to cook up an ADHD-friendly diet.

1. Beef up protein intake.

ADHD brains have deficient neurotransmitters – the chemicals that carry messages from one brain cell to another. Protein helps build them.

Eat lean protein at breakfast and throughout the day to boost focus, alertness, and brain function.

2. Limit artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Some studies suggest that artificial dyes and flavors can contribute to symptoms like hyperactivity.

Be vigilant about reading labels for food, toothpaste, mouthwash, and OTC medicine. Try:

  • Substituting 100% fruit juice
  • Baking your own desserts

3. Consume omega-3 fatty acids.

Fatty fish and fish oil supply two of the most important essential acids for your brain: EPA and DHA.

Many studies say they improve hyperactivity, impulsivity, and concentration for people with ADHD.

Add them to your diet with flaxseed oil, wild rice, eggs, fish, and soybeans. Or, start a fish oil supplement regimen.

4. Avoid “trigger” foods.

Certain foods – like dairy, gluten, or eggs – may contribute to ADHD symptoms.

With medical supervision, try an elimination diet to see if you might have a food sensitivity.

5. Watch the sugar.

Health experts agree that less sugar is better. Especially if it takes the place of other nutrients that keep people with ADHD calm and focused.

Limit your intake by checking labels. Sugar is often disguised as:

  • Corn syrup
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Or anything that ends in “-ose”

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Updated on December 20, 2018

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