Dietary Changes To Help With ADHD Symptoms

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There is a time and a place for counseling, behavior modification and medication when it comes to treating your child's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition to helping kids with ADHD with recommendations from your child's doctor and psychologist, you might also reduce the severity of symptoms by making a few dietary changes.

Feed Your Child a Restricted Diet

Feeding your child with ADHD a diet that includes basic foods, such as rice, meat, vegetables, fruits and water, can help ease symptoms. Such a diet often works because many children with ADHD have food sensitivities that can exacerbate symptoms and cause them to behave more impulsively and erratically. Talk to your child's doctor about what foods to eliminate and how many to restrict at one time. Working together, you and your child's physician will be able to determine what kind of elimination diet is best.

Add Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are about 40 percent as likely to ease ADHD symptoms as stimulant medications are, according to an article in "ADDitude," a magazine dedicated to the study of attention deficit disorders. While omega-3s are unlikely to replace any medications your child is taking, they can help. Serve your child a serving or two of fatty fish, such as salmon, or walnuts each week to boost intake. Stir ground flaxseed into homemade baked goods or pizza crust because they are rich in omega-3s, too.

Boost Fiber and Protein

Fiber and protein are two key nutrients. Fiber keeps your child's digestive system working right and protein supplies energy and helps your child grow normally. They both might help reduce ADHD symptoms as well. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious sources of fiber as are whole grains such as whole wheat bread and oatmeal. Lean meat, nuts and seeds are sources of protein and are healthy additions to your child's diet. Beans, nut butters and dried fruits are other ideas that supply protein and fiber.

Include Iron and Zinc

Children on stimulant medication who are deficient in iron and zinc might experience an increase in symptoms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Foods rich in iron and zinc include meat, seafood and beans.

Skip Certain Foods

Foods high in sugar, such as soda and desserts, tend to make ADHD symptoms worse, and restricting your child's intake of such treats might help ease behavioral issues. Foods high in preservatives and artificial ingredients can also make your child's behavior worse. Restrict intake of processed snacks, boxed meals, such as mac and cheese, and artificially colored items such as fruit-flavored drinks.