It is well known that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very common neurobehavioral problem among school-aged children today. While many of us envy a child’s seemingly endless supply of energy, we are often left exhausted and frustrated by the end of the day from such unbridled energy, lack of focus and impulsiveness. And rather than relaxing after the kids’ bedtime, we stay up late researching online about ways we can minimize the impact of ADHD symptoms on our children.
In a search for answers, doctors have been trying to determine the effects that certain types of food may have on ADHD symptoms; but there has been no conclusive results on this topic. Although poor eating habits do not cause ADHD, the medical community agrees that some types of foods certainly do aggravate the problem.
Just as certain types of foods can cause an allergic reaction in some children, certain types of foods can also cause ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and inattentiveness. As it always is for parents, choosing your child’s best dietary plan should be made on an individual basis and should include input from your doctor. But generally speaking, you might consider limiting the following foods that are known to make ADHD symptoms worse in all children.
1. Inorganic Blueberries and Strawberries
Normally grown blueberries and strawberries can have very high amounts of organophosphates or pesticide residue on them. These pesticides can be a key cause of brain development impairment even when exposed in very small amounts. Organophosphates can hinder brain development and damage brain nerve connections even as early as pregnancy and continue to effect children through early childhood.
Therefore it is best to avoid giving your child inorganic strawberries and blueberries if he has ADHD. Instead organic blueberries and strawberries are grown without the use of any chemicals and pesticides and are easily found at your local grocer or farmer’s market.
2. Food Coloring: Red No. 40 & Yellow No. 5
According to the author of The ADD and ADHD Diet; Howard Peiper; “With the high content of sugar and artificial coloring, candy is a huge contributor to ADHD.”
Excessive amounts of candy intake are known to cause hyperactivity in all children, so it is obvious that children who have ADHD will also be impacted by the high sugar content. In addition to that all candies have artificial food colorings and preservatives added to them and research has shown that food coloring also increases hyperactive behavior to quite an extent.
Due to this very reason, the Food and Drug Administration mandates that food labels should list the 2 most commonly used food colorings; red No. 40 and yellow No.5. So in order to avoid making your child’s ADHD symptoms worse, you should avoid giving your child candy, or any other foods which have these food colorings in them.
3. Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine can cause hyperactivity, sleeplessness and jitteriness even in people who do not have ADHD. The children suffering from ADHD become significantly sleep deprived when they consume caffeinated drinks. Sleep deprived children tend to become even more hyperactive, resulting in the worsening of their ADHD symptoms.
Some doctors suggest that ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity and inattentiveness can be simply improved by regulating your child’s sleep habits. Since caffeine stays in the system for hours, it is best to completely avoid giving your child soda or other caffeinated drinks if he has ADHD.
4. Energy Drinks
Among the growing selection of energy and sports drinks available today are some that are specifically marketed to younger children – much to our chagrin! These drinks can be harmful for your child if he or she has ADHD because all sports and energy drinks contain very high amounts of sugar and caffeine; which are both known to aggravate ADHD symptoms. So it is important that you avoid these high sugar and high caffeine drinks for your child in order to reduce their ADHD symptoms.
We know that this list won’t make us very popular with your children. But learning about which foods can worsen ADHD and avoiding them by following an ADHD Diet plan is the best way in which you can help your child – and hopefully that will make us a little more popular with you!
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