Although there is a long list of prescribed drugs to deal with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), significant improvements can be found by following the ADHD diet. The ADHD diet is just as important as medical intervention, and in some cases, can eliminate the need for medicine altogether. Keep in mind that if you are on a prescription program and want to change your diet it is imperative to speak to your doctor before you implement any changes.
Don’t Do Dyes
Research has shown that yellow number five food dye causes the body to lose the essential mineral zinc. In people with ADHD this loss is more substantial. Zinc is involved with many integral parts of your body’s functions. This includes blood clotting, sense of taste and smell, prenatal development and cognitive function. A deficiency in zinc can lead to many physical, as well as mental malfunctions, exacerbating ADHD symptoms. Overall, synthetic dyes contain heavy metals such as mercury and lead as well as arsenic and benzidine (a known carcinogen). This combination can cause headaches, confusion and damaged neurological development. In general, it is best to limit chemical food dyes from your diet. However, if you have ADHD, all dyes should be eliminated. Many report significant improvement within two weeks of a strict no-dye regimen. Instead, look for foods that are colored with natural dyes like beet juice and carrots.
According to the ADHD diet, if you do not eat anything on this list for at least 2 weeks, chances are that you will feel pretty good.
- Dairy – Do not consume cow’s milk including cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Yellow foods – No corn or squash. Bananas are okay.
- Junk – Stay away from any processed, dye-laden snacks.
- Sugar – All sugar-laced foods need to be eliminated.
- Fruit Juice – Dilute fruit juices with water.
- Meat and Fish – Processed meats are loaded with all sorts of preservatives and antibiotics. If you must eat meat limit it to once or twice a week and be sure to choose free-range. Fish is high in mercury which can directly affect ADHD. Choose free range fish as well.
- Fried Food – Trans fats and oils are a bad choice.
- Wheat – Years of over-consumption of wheat have rendered many people unable to absorb essential nutrients.
Okay To Eat
Fuel the good feeling from cutting out the above list with some of these recommended substitutes.
- Non-Dairy – Almond, rice and hemp milk are excellent substitutes for dairy.
- Protein – High protein is essential for ADHD. Look for nuts (including coconut), quinoa (a high protein grain-like vegetable that is similar to rice), tofu and tempeh (this is a grain-like fermented soy brick that can be cut into pieces and added to a stir fry). Both tofu and tempeh contain soy, so keep an eye on your reaction.
- Omega-3 – Flaxseed, primrose or walnut oils are excellent sources that can be added to all meals.
- Water – replace soda and juice with water.
- Natural Snacks – Eat nuts, black raisins, and fresh fruit.
- Gluten Free – Replace wheat with gluten free products.