Foods That You Must Eat And Avoid For ADHD

August 20, 2019

Although the saying goes, “You are what you eat”, many doctors slightly differ in their perspective by saying, “You are what you do with what you eat”. Foods can make us happy and energetic, or can make us dull and sick. Foods can put us to sleep or help us stay active all day long. 

Today, many illnesses and conditions sprout from how our body processes the food that we eat. A condition like ADHD is something that doctors can easily miss unless it is what they are looking for. About 4-5 % of adults in our country have it. Less than 20% of the adult population gets diagnosed or treated for it. 1 out of 20 adults has ADHD. Only 1 out of 7 children really outgrow the condition. ADHD can cut eight years or more of your life expectancy.

Like diabetics, people with ADHD can handle their daily lives better if they can effectively watch what they eat. Here we give you an overview of what foods to avoid and what to consume to lead a better life with ADHD. 

Foods that you can eat 

High-protein food
Proteins are considered the best friends of neurotransmitters in the brain. They supplement and help neurotransmitters produce dopamine and norepinephrine. They help in maintaining brain activity and help the person stay active, alert and focussed.

Foods with high protein include:

  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Guava
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Almonds
  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Broccoli

Omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins, and minerals
Supplements such as omega-3, zinc, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin D are considered a must for children and adults with ADHD. They activate and keep the brain focussed and alert for longer periods. In today’s fast-paced world, omega-3, vitamins, and minerals are mostly consumed in the form of pills and medications. However, these supplements occur in their best form in nature. Many foods that we eat already contain vitamins and minerals. It is just a matter of being mindful of what we consume. 

Foods with supplements:

  • Omega-3 – Tuna, salmon, linseed oil, chia seeds, sardines, walnuts
  • Zinc – Shellfish, nuts, eggs, whole grains
  • Iron – Spinach, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, turkey, liver
  • Magnesium – Avocado, green leafy vegetables, bananas, legumes
  • Vitamin B1 – Peas, fresh and dried fruits, liver
  • Vitamin B2 – Milk, eggs, brown rice
  • Vitamin B6 – Soya beans, whole grain cereals, brown rice, pork
  • Vitamin B7 – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, peas, cabbage
  • Vitamin B12 – Meat, cod, salmon, milk, cheese, eggs

Foods that you must avoid 

Sugar
Research notes that high-sugar food tends to make people with ADHD hyperactive and then leaves them restless and addicted. Consuming high sugar can cause destructive results. Sugar is an omnipresent ingredient in many mass-produced food substances.

High-sugar foods to look out for are:

  • Cakes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Soft drinks
  • White rice
  • Flour
  • Pastries

Caffeine
After sugar, caffeine is the next biggest secret ingredient in many mass-produced foods and drink substances. Caffeine widely known to “wake up” the nation, does a fair amount of damage to someone with ADHD. Caffeine is a substance to be avoided.

Foods that contain caffeine:

  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Breakfast cereals

Additives and preservatives
Additives are artificial flavors, taste enhancers, and food colorings, while preservatives are chemicals that prolong or preserve food for long periods of time. Both these types of chemicals are dangerous to children and adults with ADHD. They disrupt the functions of the brain and can cause adverse effects such as chemical imbalance, allergies, dullness, and distractibility. It is best to consume food that is freshly prepared.

Food with additives and preservatives are:

  • Soft drinks
  • Canned foods
  • Energy drinks
  • Packaged chips
  • Instant noodles
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