Are you looking for some possible treatment options—options other than medication and therapy that you, as a parent, can implement at home? The behavior common in children with ADHD can present parents with a major challenge, but studies have shown that the proper diet can make a huge difference in symptom control. Doctors say there are several foods to avoid for ADHD children—foods that can worsen ADHD symptoms and the behaviors associated with them. In this article we will discuss 5 of these foods to avoid, along with some of the reasons given by doctors for avoiding them.
5 Foods to Avoid for ADHD Children
According to doctors and nutritionists, certain foods can be detrimental to brain health and can worsen ADHD behavior. Below is a list of 5 of those foods to avoid for ADHD children:
While avoiding sugar altogether can be very difficult, the less sugar eaten by an ADHD child, the better his/her behavior will usually be. Sugar has the tendency to rob children of essential vitamins, minerals and protein enzymes and increases hyperactivity by preventing the stability of blood sugar levels in ADHD children. This applies to all simple sugars, regardless of the form, including sugar that is found in honey and dark molasses, and especially the sugar found in high fructose corn syrup.
Foods with hydrogenated oils—foods that contain trans fats and unhealthy saturated fats—can inhibit brain function in ADHD children, and because their brain activity is already affected by the ADHD disorder, unhealthy fats such as these have a tendency to worsen the symptoms and behaviors of ADHD-affected children.
Many people use caffeine, which is found in products such as coffee, chocolate and carbonated beverages, to get them going and active in the morning. However, caffeine can pull essential minerals out of the bone, and these minerals are very necessary for proper nerve function in ADHD children.
Everyone loves salty snacks, but in ADHD children salt can lead to the depletion of important minerals that are necessary for optimal brain performance. Parents of ADHD children would be wise to limit or prohibit foods that are very high in salt, including chips, pretzels and pre-salted peanuts and popcorn. Better choices for a snack are fruits and vegetables, along with snacks that are high in protein such as many of the granola and protein bars that are currently available on supermarket shelves.
Processed foods containing food additives contain any number of chemical additives and dyes. Manufacturers do this as a creative way to attract children to the product, using additives to improve the taste, flavor and appearance of the processed food item. And although many of these additives have been approved for use by the USDA, the country’s watchdog group for food manufacturers, doctors warn that these additives are contraindicated for children with ADHD and can worsen their behavioral symptoms. A good to rule to follow for your child’s diet is to select natural foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, needed for energy, and rich in healthy proteins, which promote brain health, alertness and concentration.
Learning which foods to avoid for ADHD children is just as important as learning the optimal diet, or the foods to include in your child’s diet. By limiting or eliminating those foods that are high in sugar, hydrogenated oils, salt and caffeine, and avoiding foods that are processed with chemical food additives and dyes, parents can play a major role in managing their child’s ADHD symptoms and the adverse behavior that often accompanies it.