Foods That Fight Series-ADHD
I remember first hearing about this Attention-Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the late 90’s. It seemed that it came out of no where and over half the people I knew seemed to think they had it. Please don’t judge my transparency here but I also didn’t believe it was nothing more than an excuse for parents who didn’t discipline their kids and people who didn’t have a lot of structure when they were kids. Boy was I wrong! Soon after, I met some kids who truly had it. Now I understand it is a real thing!
Over the years since, I have learned and can see how there are some habits, especially eating habits, that contribute to a lot of dysfunction in our lives. ADHD is one of those areas. There are many resources that suggest the foods that someone with ADHD should stay away from but what about the foods you can eat if you have ADHD?
So, in true Foods That Fight Series fashion, I am going to define the issue (ADHD), give you some research based information about natural foods that may combat this issue, and tell you how I eat these foods. Let’s get to it!
What is ADHD?
ADHD is defined as one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Signs and symptoms of ADHD include someone who daydreams a lot, forgets or loses a lot of things, squirms or fidgets, talks too much, make careless mistakes and takes unnecessary risks, have difficulty taking turns, and has trouble getting along with others. Causes of ADHD include genetics, brain injury, exposure to environmental elements during pregnancy, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
The CDC also defines three different types of ADHD which includes Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and Combined Presentation. Simply put, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation describes a person being easily distracted or forgetful of the details regarding daily routines, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation describes a person who fidgets a lot, talks a lot, and is impulsive. Combined Presentation is symptoms of the first two types of ADHD being equally present in a person.
Food and eating habits can be triggers for ADHD. I have chosen three foods that I believe are more commonly acceptable by the mass majority, foods that I eat, and foods that research shows can have a positive effect on combating your ADHD because of the benefits these foods have on our brain.
Research suggests that high-protein diets are good for people with ADHD as it may improve concentration and aid in the lasting affects of ADHD medications. I chose eggs out of the list given for protein sources because they contain almost every nutrient we need. Eggs contain vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, D, E, K, Phosphorus, Folate, Selenium, Calcium, and Zinc. On top of this, omega 3 rich eggs contain omega 3 fats which supports brain development. Eggs are also a better sell to your ADHD kids for breakfast before they head off to school than the other protein choices.
Complex carbohydrates like those found in some vegetables (like broccoli, green beans, and asparagus), some fruits (like apples, pears, and strawberries), brown rice, and whole-grain breads and pastas will help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent sugar spikes. Research suggest that eating a balanced meal is key for those with ADHD.
Tuna and salmon are rich in Omega-3 fats and vitamin B-2 (riboflavin). From the research that I have found, people with ADHD should seek more omega-3 fats like those found in tuna and salmon.
What can you do with this great information I just gave you? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Provided you don’t have any allergies or health related issues with the three foods mentioned here and your doctor is okay with you eating these, your mission is to find exciting and healthy ways to eat these foods. Here are some of my favorite ways:
Eggs: I eat eggs every day, mostly for breakfast. I enjoy my eggs scrambled, boiled, and fried in a splash of avocado oil.
Complex Carbs: I eat brown rice, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus as my complex carbs of choice. I enjoy these as a side to lean proteins.
Tuna and Salmon: I love my salmon grilled with garlic butter. Although the most common way I eat my salmon in support of my workout meal plan is Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon packs over brown rice with some olive oil drizzled over it. I dash it with a little salt and pepper and enjoy. For tuna, eat it mostly as tuna salad over brown rice also with olive oil drizzled over it.
I hope this information has enlightened and helped you. Please “heart” this blog and feel free to comment with other ways you eat the foods listed here and other helpful information.
Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Life Strategies Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Youtuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His YouTube channel is called thisisb-rob.
C., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., & Conditions, S. et al. (2020). ADHD Diet and Nutrition. Retrieved 1 July 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/adhd-diets#:~:text=Eat%20Nutritious%20Food&text=Experts%20say%20that%20whatever%20is,be%20good%20sources%20of%20protein.
Johnson, M., Ostlund, S., Fransson, G., Kadesjö, B., & Gillberg, C. (2009). Omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomized placebo-controlled trial in children and adolescents. Journal of attention disorders, 12(5), 394–401. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054708316261
Réhault-Godbert S, Guyot N, Nys Y. The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health. Nutrients. 2019; 11(3):684.