I posted an article on my Facebook page regarding ADHD that received a lot of attention and it prompted me to write this blog! I have had many moms,dads, and caregivers ask me what they can do nutritionally to help their child in this situation. ADHD is a complex situation and involves many factors including genetics, environmental factors, maternal health during gestation, complex brain malfunction, and gut biome. There is no one single cure all but an integrated personal nutritional and lifestyle plan CAN improve symptoms dramatically.
ADHD is a multifaceted issue with contributing factors. Making sure your child is eating nutrient dense diet daily is a great place to start! Below you will find my dietary recommendations to help support your childs overall health. These are researched based and can help relieve ADHD symptoms in children and adults!
Clean up your childs diet. This is HUGE! Ditch the packaged food, microwavable food,takeout, kids menu, snack food, candy, sugar, and junk! Stock up on wholesome REAL food and nourishing snacks. Its time to roll up your sleeves and get cooking in the kitchen. Focus on making each meal and snack comprised of REAL nutrient dense food! It can be done!REAL food is…………..
- Fresh whole unprocessed food.
- Fruits/veggies(preferably ORGANIC and NONGMO)
- Humanely raised meats fed their natural diet (pastured)
- Raw full fat dairy
- Eggs from hens able to forage for seeds and worms and roam outdoors
- Fermented foods and beverages
- Nuts/seeds (preferably soaked or sprouted)
- Properly prepared grains (soaked), and quinoa, rice (in moderation)
- Healthy fats from olive, palm or coconut oils, coconut, avocado, flax, and pastured butter and ghee to name a few- with emphasis on proper Omega 3 and Omega 6 balance.
Simply doing this one step will show improvements in the childs moods and temperament. Taking the diet even farther can offer more results. Removing grains from the child’s diet is the next step. Todays grains (breads, pasta, crackers) are loaded up with inflammatory wheat and processed oils that can wreak havoc on an already delicate system. Not only that but these foods rapidly break down into sugar in the body. By removing grains, conventional dairy, and sugar your child will improve the gut microbe and heal any leaky gut allowing better assimilation of vitamins and minerals.
The gut microbe is most definitely in need of some extra TLC for those suffering from ADHD. Changes to our environment disrupt the microbiome and can lead to immune deficiency and that in turn affects the brain. You have to FEED the gut microbe and get them thriving so that the body can assimilate nutrients more effectively. Disrupted gut microbiome can cause a lot of adverse effects in the brain that can then effect behavior.
One of the best ways to optimize your gut microbiome is to eliminate sugars, eat traditionally fermented foods, drink homemade bone broth, and take a high quality probiotic supplement.
Fermented foods include Kefir (cow, goat or sheep milk), Kombucha, Sauerkraut. Pickles,Miso. Tempeh, Natto, Kimchi. Commercial yogurt is NOT a very good source of probiotics and full of processed/fake sugar. Yogurt in the form of kefir or full fat plain grass fed is the best choice.
Most childrens brains today are starved for EFA’s (essential fatty acids.) Boys have 3x more the need of EFA’s than girls. Our modern diets are deficient in good fats. Increasing the intake of EFA’s is critical to help support proper brain function. Increasing Omega 6 and Omega 3 consumption is a good start.
- Omega-6, which is found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes and unsaturated vegetable oils such as sesame.
- Omega-3, which is found in fish oil, flax oil, and cod liver oil.
- Coconut oil is another highly beneficial healthy fat and one of the best sources of medium chain fatty acids.
If your child does not or will not eat any of these food than you need to provide them with a good supplement daily. Sixty percent of our brains are made of fat. WE need healthy fats for our brains to function properly.
The quality of food and nutrient density should be a major focus at every meal. Ensuring a nutrient-dense diet, adequate amounts of zinc, copper, choline, B12, iron, folate, vitamin A , and vitamin D is crucial. This can sometimes be achieved with diet, but in other cases supplementation will be necessary. For getting more vitamin D just simple sun exposure is an option.
Getting down to the nitty gritty and fulfilling your childs nutritional needs can pose a challenge. Simply because kids can be picky eaters! Low levels of micronutrients in your childs diet can contribute to poor behavior and mood. It is wise to invest in a micro greens powder that you can supplement with everyday. Many of these products like this one come in a powder form so you can add it to a childs meal and mix in.
About 11 percent of U.S. children (or 6.4 million) have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Research by the late Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, a physician who believed in treating the body, mind and spirit as one, showed that vetiver oil was beneficial for children with ADHD.
When the children inhaled the oil three times a day for 30 days they had improved brain wave patterns and behavior and did better in school. Eighty percent of the children also improved when using cedarwood oil similarly.
Cedarwood essential oil was chosen for the study because it has a high concentration of sesquiterpenes (they make up 50 percent of its constituents), which improve oxygenation of brain cells.
Vetiver is known to calm and balance the nervous system while stimulating the circulatory system. The best way to reap the benefits of essential oils is to run a home diffuser daily and one where your child sleeps.
I want to touch briefly on this diet which has recently been in the spot light and for good reason. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate, controlled protein diet that has been used by doctors to treat conditions such as epilepsy and seizures when medications have failed. It is effective when done the right way under medical treatment. For those with ADHD specifically eliminating all sugars in this diet can have significant effects on behavior and attention.
ADHD is a complex syndrome and the causes are diverse and often misunderstood. Each child is truly different and needs to be treated individually. The one common thing that can help all children improve brain biochemistry and behavior is dietary nutrients.
Food is medicine!!
Be Well 🙂
You can purchase seed to seal high quality essential oils and a home diffuser right here.