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Food that suitable for ADHD kids

It is important to be selective in choosing food. Food that we eat influence our health and our brains. Children with ADHD have problem in controlling their behaviour, attention problem and struggle to calm themselves. Although there is no exact diet for ADHD, choosing the right food may help to manage symptom of ADHD.

1. Protein-rich food

According to Dr Stoler- a neuropsychologist, protein is important for optimizing brain function such as improving mental clarity, increase memory and reduce fatigue. Protein is important for the brain because it produces dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps cells to communicate. Some of protein-rich food includes beans, cheese, eggs, meat, and nuts. Eating rich protein food helps preventing spikes in blood glucose levels that may increase hyperactivity among children. Protein-rich food also help body to absorb medication such as Ritalin efficiently, hence causing a faster effect.


2. Complex carbohydrates

Brain utilizes about 20% of daily energy. In order to carry out functions, brain needs a fuel supply. Two main fuel supply for the brain is known as glucose and ketones. Carbohydrates turns into glucose when digested. Longer time needed to process complex carbohydrates compared to processing simple carbohydrates. Eating complex carbohydrates will control levels of blood glucose in body, maintain concentration and can reduce hyperactivity symptom. Research shows energy used by brain is for neuronal firing or communication process between neurons. In addition, complex carbohydrates boost serotonin levels and helps to calm child with ADHD.


3. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids is important for individual’s behaviour, cognitive skills and concentration. It can be found from fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. Researcher found out children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3s in compared to normal children. A study show lack of omega-3s on children with ADHD is related to emotion processing problem. Meanwhile, numerous studies shown positive effect of omega-3s on children with ADHD. They found consuming omega-3s help for improving working memory, help children with ADHD to sleep better, less fatigue during day and have better cooperation with people.


4. Iron-rich food

Some expert believes iron level is associated with ADHD. Iron levels can be detected from protein ferritin. Children with ADHD appear to have low ferritin levels and children with most severe iron deficiency also has higher issue of inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive. Low iron levels affect dopamine activity, a brain chemical for movement control. A study on iron supplementation and ADHD symptoms shows positive results which participants involved able to reduce their symptoms after taking iron supplement. Example of iron-rich foods are lean red meat, turkey and chicken, shellfish, and beans.


5. Consume herbs

There is various benefit of herbs depending on individual’s concerns. Some research show benefits of consuming herbs for managing ADHD symptoms. Chinese herb like Ginseng and Ningdong, Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa and French Maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) is said able to help managing symptoms of ADHD. Study in 2014 reveals ginkgo biloba helps increasing attention and reducing ADHD symptoms. Another study on effects of Pycnogenol reveals it helps to reduced hyperactivity symptoms, reduce stress hormones and increase attention and concentration among children with ADHD.


By: Ms. Nurfarahin- SOL Neurofeedback Trainer

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