An ADHD Diet to help you control ADHD is crucial to eliminating ADHD symptoms. There are so many different diets that it becomes confusing as to what food should be consumed and what shouldn't. I've been a long time learning about diet and supplements and I'm going to share about food so it is clear what you should do.
Even though diet plays a big role, it can't be solely relied on. If medications are used, you still want to eat the proper foods. You may also bee interested in vitamin and mineral supplements.
When I was doing a research paper on ADHD, I came across a quote that a doctor made. She said, "When you feed a person with ADHD, you are feeding the brain and not the stomach" (I can't remember what her name is). If this doesn't make sense, I will break it down.
Everything that a person, with this disorder, eats, it has an effect in some part of their body. It might cause their brain or body to be wired, their emotions to spin out of control, or some other way. This is why ADHD diets are so important. It will remove the irritants that cause these reactions while also providing the needed nutrients.
This video is a 52 minute live hangout I did discussing how to reduce ADHD symptoms using diet. It also is an ecouraging message of what is possible if you control the symptoms.
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Early on when I was learning about diet, I read a book that talks specifically about diet and ingredients and how they affect you. Dr Colbert's, What You Don't Know May Be Killing You!. I learned a lot from the book and it was part of my learning journey to where I am today.
I know personally when I eat, shortly after, I start feeling things. I am very in-tune with my body. When I eat a piece of a certain type of bread, I can feel my brain starting to "spin". To control ADHD with diet, its important to keep these kinds of foods out of your body.
This also happens with other types of foods. See the ADHD symptoms page for the symptoms that a person with this disorder can have.
Some types of foods make my mood swing. I can be happy and content as I am eating and shortly after eating, I feel my emotions sliding into a depression and an overwhelming feeling comes on me. Sometimes I feel like crying. This is an obvious blood sugar swing that I just found how to fix in 2017.
Other foods make my body wired and I start moving and don't stop. There are foods that can combine any of the results. Just think of our bodies (us with this disorder) being very sensitive. We can't eat just anything.
The other issue is blood sugar as I mentioned above. Our body needs protein, vegetables, and fats. The protein and fats help control hunger and blood sugar. If we don't eat it, our blood sugar either spikes, or it drops. If it spikes, at some point it will have a rapid drop. Both of these result in a low blood sugar that causes mood swings, focus and concentration problems.
If you get the diet right, you wont have the irritants and you will stabilize the blood sugar.
This is why I feel you can help control ADHD with diet.
For example, someone that is allergic to flowers or the pollen in them. It doesn't matter how beautiful or what type of flower you bring, if this person smells it, they will have a reaction. Their body has a sensitivity to this.
If you eat a breakfast loaded with sugar (breakfast bars, cereal), then you will spike the sugar and a crash will come.
If you don't eat anything, then you will just run on low blood sugar.
If you get good protein, vegetables, and fats in the right amounts through out the day, you will eliminate this problem.
Read about this ADHD Diet Miracle where a mother was able to control ADHD with diet, that changed her son's life.
The Feingold Diet is an elimination diet. You try to determine what is causing the problems by eliminating foods and see how the body responds. It isn't necessarily healthy, just seeing what the body is reacting too.
A gluten free diet is recommended for people with ADHD and I used to recommend this. Gluten is in grains and is said to cause some issuee. What I have found is that we need to just remove grains from our diet. I have seen so many overall improvements by simply removing it. When I eat something with grains, even the really healthy sprouted grains, I have issues again. There are people that claim you must have both gluten and grains in your diet or you wont get all the nutrients you need.
I have found that to not be true at all. I have found, we can do much better without grains.
There are some that eat high amounts of protein, especially those that lift weights. This is really hard on the body. As an adult, I suggest 4-6ozs of protein per meal (at the most) as suggested by Dr Eric Berg.
There are some that suggest low carbs to help with ADHD. This can be very helpful. I have seen a lot of improvements by eating very little carbs and that includes not eating grains. Low carb is eating protein, vegetables, and some fats. Don't consume sugar or sugar type substances (sweeteners) (Stevia, Xylitol, Ethrytol are ok). Even with a Low Carb Diet, I had blood sugar issues all the time.
I did the Paleo Diet for a while and it was pretty much the Low Carb Diet discussed above. This is when I removed the grains I was eating. I didn't see the health improvements that Paleo claims to give.
The Keto Diet has many forms and I haven't even looked into them all. The Keto diet replaces carbs with fat so the body can use that as a fuel that burns better. Most foods have some type of carbs in them so we are speaking about the sugars, sweeteners, the starchy vegetables that have higher amounts of carbs. We aren't talking about vegetables or proteins that have small amounts of carbs. This diet has a high amount of fat. Some of them have very high amounts. What I do and suggest is a modified version of the Keto that Dr Eric Berg teaches.
I'm currently following Dr Eric Berg's version of the Keto diet. It consists of moderate protein (4-6ozs per meal for an adult), lots of green vegetables (like salad, brussel sprouts, and kale), and fat. Fat consists of raw dairy (cheese, butter, avacado, olive oil, mct oil, coconuts, coconut oil, fish, soaked nuts like pecans, pistacios, peanuts, bacon). You want to avoid pastuerized and homogenized dairy because it causes health issues. If you can only find pastuerized butter, use that but try to get it from grass fed and pasture raised animals since those are the healthiest.
About Carbs: Not including carbs mentioned above that are naturally occuring in protein meats and green vegetables and other non starchy vegetables, Dr Eric Berg recommends to not exceed 20 g of net carbs (Total carbs minus fiber carbs) a day when trying to lose weight or fix blood sugar issues and insulin resistance. Avoid the sweeterns mentioned above that will spike blood sugars and insulin even with the 20 g limit a day.
In this video, Dr Eric Berg talks about the Keto diet that he recommends (from above) that is safe for children.
In this video, Dr Berg talks about the healthy foods and Keto Bombs. In the description is where you will find links to the recipes.
Here is an example of some of the things I eat.
I also eat some Real Salt (1tsp a day) on my salads to get good Sodium in my diet since the food I eat doesn't have salt in it.
We hear how amazing fruit is with all the vitamins and nutrients available in them. If one of the issues being dealt with, eliminate fruit because of the sugar in fruit will be a problem. If fruit causes a problem with blood sugar and how the body functions, eliminate it. You will get all the nutrients you need from the protein, fats, vegetables, and any other food based supplements/herbs. Check fruit and vegetables on the insulin index (insulin index example page). Those higher on the index will cause bloodsugar and related health issues. You may find it shocking that apples are high in sugar.
Snacks: It is suggestd to not eat snacks. You want to give your body a break between meals and snacking puts more stress on your body and causes an increase in insulin being release in your body. It may take some time to get to where you don't need to snack. Just increase the amount of fat in your meal if you can't make it to the next meal without snacking. It took me 2-3 weeks to go from requiring snacks everyday to not needing it anymore.
In the mean time while you are working on being snack free, you can have some fat/protein. Example: Raw cheese and some healthy and sugar free or very low sugar jerky. You could have some soaked pecans, pistachios, or peanuts. You don't want carb snacks.
Drinks: Drink water. If you only drink water (RO/DI or Distilled), you wont get the sugar and bad ingredients in your body. Drink 1-2 ounces of lemon juice in your water to help clear any chances of stones.
If you find that you or your child are worse off eating something like dairy, even raw dairy, then don't continue consuming it. There can be sensitivities to dairy, grains, eggs, nuts etc, so pay attention and take care.
I hope this page at least was a good start for you to control ADHD with diet in your own life.
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