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Can ADHD Be Controlled with a Healthy Diet?


ADHD New research has found that diet alone may be unable to eradicate symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness. However, instead of discounting the importance of diet in this condition, experts are recognizing that it can make a difference and embracing it as one of the best alternatives to drug therapy.

The investigation published in Pediatrics reviewed 70 research papers on diet intervention in ADHD and determined that unhealthful food is an established contributor of the disorder. One of the most incriminating studies was an Australian one that indicated children who consumed a “Western style” diet, characterized by being high in fat, salt and sugar, had a greater risk of ADHD than those who ate a healthful diet, plentiful in fish and whole grains, along with fruit and vegetables, ABC News reports. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate and fiber was also discovered to be beneficial. The value of the findings is that diet is a risk factor parents are able to modify.

The experts provided the following recommendations for a diet conducive for lowering ADHD risk, NPR notes.

  • Breakfast recommendation: Eating complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, and foods with a high protein content can keep children feeling full longer.
  • Foods to avoid: Dramatically reduce fast foods, red meat and processed food, as well as sugary treats, such as ice cream and sodas. Other foods to be avoided include high fat dairy products and junk food like potato chips.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Either add substantial quantities of fish to the diet or take fish oil supplements.

USA Today relates that Dr. Roberto Lopez Alberola, of the University of Miami School of Medicine, goes a step further and strongly urges ADHD children to avoid food containing dyes, preservatives and other additives, in addition to partaking in a healthful diet. He contends that we are what we eat and states that consuming a highly processed diet will have a detrimental effect on neurodevelopment, which could lead to ADHD.

This condition afflicts approximately 5 to 8 percent of school aged children and can continue into adulthood. Since ADHD drugs have a potential for causing adverse effects and many parents are understandably hesitant to medicate young children, there is much interest in complementary medicine or alternative treatments for the disorder.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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One response to “Can ADHD Be Controlled with a Healthy Diet?”

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