Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats needed for proper brain function. They help your body build healthy brain cells, and help regulate the production of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain that control behavior and mood. Learning and behavioral difficulties are common among children and adults with ADHD, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce behavioral problems and enhance learning. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, including tuna, sardines, herring and salmon. You can also obtain omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds and flax seed oil. Top your cold breakfast cereal or oatmeal with flax seeds, or add some flax oil or seeds to your smoothies. There is currently no recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
When does an apple a day not keep the doctor away? When the person eating the apple is sensitive to salicylate. This is a natural substance abundant in red apples and other healthy foods like almonds, cranberries, grapes, and tomatoes. Salicylates are also found in aspirin and other pain medication.
Zinc, Iron, and Magnesium.
Zinc regulates the neurotransmitter dopamine and may make methylphenidate more effective by improving the brain’s response to dopamine. Low levels of this mineral correlate with inattention. Iron is also necessary for making dopamine. One small study showed ferritin levels (a measure of iron stores) to be low in 84 percent of ADHD children compared to 18 percent of the control group. Low iron levels correlate with cognitive deficits and severe ADHD. Like zinc, magnesium is used to make neurotransmitters involved in attention and concentration, and it has a calming effect on the brain. Have your physician test these levels. All three minerals are found in lean meats, poultry, seafood, nuts, soy, and fortified cereals. While diet is the safest way to increase all three mineral levels, a multivitamin/multimineral with iron will ensure that you or your child gets the daily reference value (DRV) of these minerals.
B Vitamins. Studies suggest that giving children who have low levels of B vitamins a supplement improved some IQ scores (by 16 points) and reduced aggression and antisocial behavior. “Vitamin B-6 seems to increase the brain’s levels of dopamine, which improves alertness,”
The Feingold Diet
In the early 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold generated a firestorm of excitement and controversy by asserting that certain foods and food additives could trigger ADHD. Feingold, who was Chief Emeritus of the Department of Allergy at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, reported that when he prescribed dietary changes for patients with hives, asthma, or other allergic reactions, their behavioral problems (if present) sometimes diminished. He claimed that 30 percent to 50 percent of his hyperactive patients benefited from diets free of artificial colorings and flavorings and certain natural chemicals (salicylates in apricots, berries, tomatoes, and other foods). Thousands of beleaguered families, eager for drug-free relief for their hyperactive children, tried Feingold’s diet. Many reported improvement in their children’s behavior. . Slowly, researchers began testing Feingold’s claim.
In 1982 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a “consensus development conference” on diets and hyperactivity to review the early scientific research and advise health professionals and the public. That NIH panel concluded that food additives and certain foods do, indeed, affect a small proportion of children with behavioral problems. In addition to noting that anecdotal reports claimed “dramatic improvements” in some hyperactive children, the panel concluded that controlled studies “did indicate a limited positive association between defined [Feingold-type] diets and a decrease in hyperactivity.” It pointed out that a major limitation of the research was that most studies tested the effect only of dyes and not of other additives and foods that also might promote hyperactivity. It recognized “that initiation of a trial of dietary treatment . . . may be warranted” for hyperactive children. The conference recommended that additional research on diet and behavior be conducted, but over the next decade and a half only scattered research was done. The failure to conduct a broad range of research means that little is known about the percentage of children who respond to dietary therapy, to what degree they respond, which children are likeliest to be affected, the additives and foods that cause problems, and the best ways to use diet therapy.
Deciding on a treatment
Until some preventive method or cure is developed, parents of a child with ADHD need to determine what therapies to try. One possible alternative is a dietary approach, which seeks to identify and remove irritants in foods that cause behavioral symptoms. That approach entails eliminating certain foods from the (unmedicated) child’s diet for several weeks to see if his or her behavior improves. In some cases, dietary changes by themselves may adequately reduce behavioral problems.
Your goal is to identify the specific foods or additives, if any, that affect your child. What makes that task especially challenging is that children’s behavior ordinarily is so variable. Some parents who have put their children on special diets, though, say that their children willingly cooperate in making dietary changes, especially after they discover that those changes make them feel better. Some older children avidly read labels to avoid certain ingredients. But, no matter the age of your child or the exact nature of his or her behavioral problem, it could be worth trying diet. It is certainly safer and cheaper than using stimulant drugs, and, if your child has been eating a lot of artificially colored foods, it may also be more nutritious. At worst, a modified diet won’t help and you’ve delayed for several weeks trying another option.
Finding a diet that will help your child will require time, patience, and experimentation. Numerous studies have demonstrated that some children are sensitive to dyes. Thus, you might start by eliminating only foods (and vitamins, drugs, and toothpastes) that contain artificial colorings. The Feingold diet, which is based mostly on unconfirmed reports from parents and doctors, eliminates additional additives, as well as “salicylate-containing” foods. That diet eliminates: • artificial colorings (look for names like Red 40 and Yellow 5 on labels) • artificial flavorings (including vanillin, used in synthetic vanilla) • artificial sweeteners (acesulfame-K, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose) • BHA, BHT, and TBHQ preservatives One study suggests that sodium benzoate and benzoic acid should also be on that list. The Feingold diet also excludes certain fruits and vegetables, though, again, studies have not demonstrated that they cause problems (see box on the next page for lists of excluded and permitted foods). While that diet excludes many common foods, later you can add back any to which your child is not sensitive. Once you have decided which foods and additives you will eliminate, check all the foods in your refrigerator, pantry, and cupboards. Remove or discard any foods that contain banned ingredients. The Feingold Association publishes lists of selected packaged and chain-restaurant foods that fit into the diet, but you’ll have to become a careful label reader and inquisitive restaurant-goer to learn the ingredients in your children’s favorite foods. Once you are set to go, put your child (and the rest of the family, if possible) on the modified diet for two or three weeks. Stick to the diet as carefully as you can. If your child mistakenly eats a prohibited food, don’t get upset, just get him or her back on the diet. Foods
Not Allowed on the Feingold Diet (partial list)* almonds cucumbers peppers apples and pickles (bell, chili) apricots currants plums, prunes berries (all) grapes, raisins tangerines cherries nectarines tea cloves oranges tomatoes coffee peaches aspirin (acetyl salicylate) and medications that contain it oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate; mint flavoring) *Reactions to these foods are based on unconfirmed reports, not controlled studies.
Foods Allowed on the Feingold Diet (partial list) Fruits; banana honeydew papaya cantaloupe kiwi pears dates lemons pineapple grapefruit mangoes watermelon. Vegetables; bean sprouts cauliflower peas beans (all types) celery potatoes beets kale spinach broccoli lentils squash Brussels sprouts lettuce sweet corn cabbage mushrooms sweet potato carrots onions zucchini 13 and pickles (bell, chili)
You should use a notebook to keep track of your child’s behavior before and after you put your child on the diet. Prepare a score sheet based on common characteristics of ADHD, but modify that to include your own child’s most troubling behaviors. Use a separate page for each day. Note when behavior problems arise and which foods your child had eaten recently. You also can ask your child’s teacher if he or she has noticed any improvement in behavior, but don’t say that you’re changing your child’s diet unless you need his or her assistance to provide your child with special snacks. Improvements in behavior should serve as great positive feedback to stay on the diet. However, it might just be a coincidence that a child’s behavior improved when the diet was introduced. Parents should try to be objective and not let their expectations color their views of their child’s behavior. To try for even greater improvement, you can try eliminating more of the additives or foods that are suspected of affecting behavior. Likewise, if your child’s behavior did not improve on the initial diet, it could mean that your child is not affected by foods at all or is sensitive to other foods. It is also possible that prohibited ingredients are sneaking into your child’s diet.
Feingold Association of the United States ( 800-321-3287; www.feingold.org).
Kids with ADHD have an average iron level of 22- compared with 44 in non-ADHD children. If your child has a level of 35 or less talk to your doctor about adding iron supplement. Iron rich foods: lean red meat, turkey, chicken, shellfish, beans
Deficiencies in certain types of foods can worsen ADHD symptoms in children and adults. An ADHD diet that ensures you're getting adequate levels of the right foods optimizes brain function.
Protein. Foods rich in protein — lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products — can have beneficial effects on ADD symptoms. Protein-rich foods are used by the body to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Protein can prevent surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity.
“Because the body makes brain-awakening neurotransmitters when you eat protein, start your day with a breakfast that includes it,” says Laura Stevens, M.S., a nutritionist at Purdue University and author of 12 Effective Ways to Help Your ADD/ADHD Child. “Don’t stop there. Look for ways to slip in lean protein during the day, as well.”
After graduating from The Metronome Brain Gym it's time to change your diet. You will find an accumulation of different nutrition thoughts on these pages. Im not endorsing anything. I strongly believe what we eat matters. I eat 90% organic and have fed my child very very little sugar and have never given him candy(other have but never me) It's just a suggestion but please read them and hopefully this can assist you in making changes. Most importantly please try something that you are not doing now. You or your childs brain is in a great place now...you may still notice behavior issues and this most likely is a chemical reaction to what is being eaten. Take the extra step and change your diet. This information should help.
Vitamin C is a powerful immune system enhancer, which may prevent illnesses that can increase symptoms of ADHD. It may also improve your brain's production of anti-stress hormones that help curb uncontrolled behavior, sleep disturbances and hyperactivity associated with ADHD. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, and may prevent the oxidation of free radical molecules that can attack brain cells. Boost your vitamin C intake by consuming avocados, spinach, oranges, black currants, onions, broccoli, kiwi, tomatoes, and red, yellow and orange bell peppers.
B vitamins are essential for proper brain function. Vitamin B-5 may help your brain produce tranquilizing chemicals that may reduce hyperactivity and behavioral disturbances associated with ADHD. Increase your intake of vitamin B-5 by consuming mushrooms, whole-wheat products, pork, beef, eggs and legumes. Niacin, or vitamin B-3, may enhance circulation to your brain, helping to deliver vital nutrients to support cognition, memory and social response. Vitamin B-3 is found in beef liver, potatoes, tomatoes and eggs. Vitamin B-12 helps your body produce fats that protect nerve endings in your brain from toxins and viruses, which may help prevent ADHD symptoms from worsening. Vitamin B-12 is found in fish, poultry, pork, beef, dairy products and eggs.
Frozen foods with ORGANOPHOSPHATES cause neurologic based behavior problems that mimic ADHD
Like salicylates, allergens can be found in healthy foods. But they might affect brain functions, triggering hyperactivity or inattentiveness, if your body is sensitive to them. You might find it helpful to stop eating — one at a time — the top eight food allergens:
wheat milk peanuts tree nuts eggs soy fish shellfish