Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests in childhood and it often continues into adulthood, The symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity that are inappropriate for a child's age level. A healthy diet can help a child become more calm and focused. Salmon, bananas and spinach are just few examples of foods that can benefit children with ADHD.
Salmon is a great food for a child with ADHD, because many of its nutrients can help overcome hyperactivity and mood swings. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, tryphtophan, selenium and vitamin D. It is also a very good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus and magnesium. Omega-3s are key components of cellular membrane, hormones and the nervous system and therefore are essential to the regulation of mood, brain function and nerve impulses. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid used by the brain to produce serotonin, an important neurotransmitter responsible for our ability to feel happy and alert. Magnesium is considered an essential anti-stress mineral because is a natural tranquilizer and muscle relaxant.
Banana is a great snack for a child with ADHD due to its high content of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. B6 vitamin is important for brain function and is also needed to maintain normal levels of magnesium, a mineral that is often deficient in ADHD cases. Vitamin C is a co-factor for the production of norepinephrine, imbalances of which have been connected with symptoms of ADHD. Potassium is important in nerve transmission and lack of this mineral can cause irritability and agitation among other symptoms.
Spinach is a great source vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, calcium; folate, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin A and vitamin C. It is also high in fiber, protein, phosphorus, copper, zinc and vitamin E and selenium. B vitamins are essential for optimal brain function and digestion and also help adrenal glands to work properly, regulate neurotransmitters which all can help to relax a child with ADHD. Vitamin E is another antioxidant nutrient that protects brain tissue from free radicals and improves brain circulation.
Bananas, salmon and spinach are considered brain foods that boost nervous system function and have a calming effect, therefore should be included in the diet of a child with ADHD. Additional supplements may be considered based on a child's needs, medications he is on and the severity of symptoms.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing;" James Bach, MD and Phyllis Bach, CNC; 2000
- "The Pill Book to Natural Medicines;" Michael Murray; 2002
- "Food for the Brain;" The Links Between Diet and Behavior