The Best Diet for People with ADHD: Foods To Eat and To Avoid

October 31, 2021

Healthy foods are such an important component of our lives. It's our fuel, it impacts everything one way or another. It has a remarkable influence on our mental health. Food is a source of energy that controls how our bodies function in the same way as fuel does for a vehicle. So I want to share my experience with ADHD diet & ADHD food. What has worked for me? What hasn't?

We know how daunting reading articles from start to finish can be, especially when you have ADHD, so we added this clickable Table of Contents to easily navigate our articles 😉 :

What is an ADHD diet?

This could include the certain foods you eat and all nutritional supplements you will have to take. This will improve the brain's functioning and reduce ADHD symptoms. Through a restricted elimination diet, you will learn about food sensitivities and eating habits that you should avoid to exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

ADHD & Hunger

Your ADHD diet: What should I eat for ADHD symptoms control

Deficiency in foods can worsen adults and children ADHD symptoms. The best fact: Elimination diets for ADHD has adequate levels of the right essential fatty acids that can improve ADHD symptoms and brain function.

Dietary changes can have tremandous effects on ADHD symptoms. Figure out what works for you!

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Nutrients

ADHD nutrition plan helps children to concentrate, behave better and get along best with others. Good eating promotes the healthy growth of your child. It can prevent childhood chronic diseases. A healthy diet is like washing the brain with every nutrient needed to function optimally. Evidence suggests that some kids with ADHD miss out on the critical nutrients in their diet and this may affect their ability to concentrate and behave better. A good diet increases one's growth and prevents certain chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases from happening, says an expert at the CDC.

Make a nutrition plan to optimize your ADHD friendly diet.

People with ADHD tend to have deficiencies

Iron and ADHD

Most children with ADHD have a deficiency with iron. Low iron intake can cause trouble sleeping and restless leg syndrome. Iron deficiencies are known to have many harmful consequences like poor immunity fatigue and poor learning.

If you had a documented iron deficiency, the condition could be treated using nutritional supplements. Too much iron can cause problems, so you will have to look for a doctor that can provide medical advice for the right dosage. You also need to optimize your iron sources in the diet, including cattle, chicken, beans, and dark greens. Iron supplementation may not become effective for people with ADHD and children whose kidneys and bladder are not affected by iron deficiency.


Magnesium and ADHD

A deficit of magnesium is observed in children with ADHD. Low magnesium has more negative effects on hyperactivity. Foods with magnesium are beans, seeds, whole grains, almonds, and other nuts. In addition to increasing brain strength, magnesium also improves attention retention and learning more, scientists said. Foods that include nuts, beans, and fruits are also good to increase blood sugar at the right level.

Magnesium-Rich food such as beans, grains and seeds can help increase brain strength and attention retention.

Fiber and ADHD

Children with ADHD have been found to lack fiber in their diet. The lack of fruit and vegetables is attributed partly to being a picky eater.

It is helpful to increase fiber in the diet by increasing fruits and vegetables and whole grains, especially brown rice. You have to ask a person with ADHD if they have an issue with food when their stomach is full. You have to look for more information about constipation relief to help them cure their digestive issues.

Zinc and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Like iron, zinc plays an important role in brain development nerve signal transmission, and other processes of the brain. Research shows that low zinc status is also associated with poor growth and poor appetite in children with ADHD. A zinc deficiency should be addressed perhaps by a mineral supplement. You can improve your zinc level by intaking beans, meat, fortified breakfast cereals, and milk. Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids could also be a great help when doing ADHD nutrition plans.

Zinc Deficiency can cause poor appetite and poor growth.

Folate and ADHD

The addition of food rich in folate has been advised as part of an appropriate diet for ADHD people. In the typical Western diet, folate is not sufficiently absorbed (despite the inclusion of folate in numerous grains). If you're also on a ketogenic diet, you have to be cautious of your folate level. To improve the intake of folate, include eating more vegetables and fruit, taking folic acid supplements (not methylated), or drinking orange juice.

Why does the diet for a child with ADHD matters

A balanced diet for ADHD combined with prescribed medication can help your child develop more control over their emotions and behavior despite the lack of control over the impulse. When you eat healthily and eat well, it makes you feel good. As a nutritionist, Dr. Laura Stevens taught many kids with ADD and ADHD how to eat a healthier diet and supported them all in feeding themselves. Nutrition in combination with ADHD medication can make teaching better - for children - and give them more attention to their learning.

Benefits of a balanced diet when you have ADHD

--> What food additives should a child with ADHD avoid?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder condition can worsen by intaking certain foods with additives or coloring preservatives. 88% of those who have ADHD are sensitive to foods with food colorings. If your child is sensitive to one or more of these items, gradually and surely start to reduce them in your child's diet.

Sugar

Sugary foods can cause an increase in ADHD symptoms.  Kids with ADHD are more likely to have problems with the ingestion of sugar because they lack dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for controlling your appetite and telling you when you feel full.

For example, energy drinks and soft drinks can worsen ADHD symptoms in teens as they become more active.

Artificial coloring

The best ADHD diet for children is to avoid foods with artificial colors. Research suggests that 70% of those who have ADHD are sensitive to the food dyes used in other foods, so no more than once a week you can eat these foods. You can also look at your child's ADHD symptoms and watch their behavior improve as he reduces his intake of food additives.

Processed foods

A healthy ADHD diet for children includes little to no processed foods, even if they are gluten-free and dairy-free. These types of food tend to exacerbate ADHD symptoms in many people with ADHD because they contain artificial flavors that can cause a reaction in the brain and trigger ADHD symptoms such as hyperactive behavior.

Artificial flavors

Children with ADHD should avoid artificial flavors because they lead to hyperactivity and inattention symptoms even if the product is gluten-free or dairy-free. Many ADHD patients are sensitive to these substances that can worsen ADHD symptoms by acting on the brain's neurotransmitters.

Too much caffeine

Many kids with ADHD are sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase the symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention.

Avoid consuming too much caffeine regularly because it worsens ADHD symptoms in many adults and adolescents. More often, they are diagnosed with anxiety, irritability, lack of sleep, or insomnia. Therefore, ADHD patients should drink no more than two cups of coffee per day to avoid triggering ADHD symptoms such as irritability and hyperactivity.

Coffee can affect people with ADHD differently

Alcohol

Alcohol gives a temporary feeling of relaxation but it also increases ADHD symptoms such as irritability and anxiety.  It's best to avoid alcohol if you have ADHD.

How drinking can be dangerous when you have ADHD

Artificial sweeteners  

Sugar substitutes like aspartame can be dangerous to people with ADD or ADHD because it contains phenylalanine. If children consume too much in their diet, this could affect levels of alertness - especially at school where concentration should be high during classes! It also makes sense that sugary food affects these kids because they often crave them due to low serotonin, which helps regulate moods including happiness and well-being. And guess what? Artificial ingredients make mental illness worse by creating inflammation!

The best diet for ADHD people is to avoid sugar substitutes because it can cause ADHD symptoms like dizziness, headache or nausea.

Gluten

Eating gluten-free foods is not a healthy ADHD diet for children because ADHD symptoms are worsened by the lack of fiber in these products.

Gluten sensitivity can make ADHD symptoms worse, although there are no medications or supplements containing gluten. If your kid is allergic to wheat and rye, he might be sensitive to other grains including barley and spelt, so eliminating all glutinous grains may help his ADHD problems without completely removing gluten from the diet.

Dairy products

For ADHD children, the best diet is to limit dairy products such as cheese or yogurt. These foods also have a high sugar content (lactose), so ADHD symptoms are worsened by excess amounts of lactose which causes irritability and hyperactivity.

Frequently asked questions about ADHD & Diet

-What foods can make worsen ADHD symptoms?

Sugar,  common foods with artificial food additives, frozen foods, artificial colorings, too much caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, gluten, and dairy products can all contribute to making ADHD worse one way or another.

Read our article Understand all the Official & Unofficial ADHD Symptoms (adhdbloom.com) for  more details.

-Can ADHD be controlled by diet?

Yes and no, your ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is rooted in your brain and what you eat won't dramatically change your brain, so technically your diet won't affect the root of your ADHD but it can have a big impact on your symptoms. That's how ADHD can be somewhat managed by diet. By avoiding some foods and ensuring you get access to the right nutrients like consuming foods with omega 3 fatty acids, you can see tremendous outcomes in a week time.

-Can diet help a child with ADHD?

Yes, an ADHD nutrition plan can greatly help children with ADHD improve their behavior and symptoms. If you start young enough, you can give your child the right supplements and might be able to prevent or at least control symptoms from emerging. This is why parents must become aware of this connection and do more research before ADHD symptoms become apparent in their kid!

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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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