What Diet Choices Can Help Kids With ADHD Calm Down?

According to findings published in the journal Pediatrics in February, the Mediterranean diet, mostly comprised of vegetables, nuts and healthy fats, may be linked to a lower risk of a child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. It’s thought that the diet’s omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients may combat dietary imbalances pertaining to cognitive and physical growth. At the same time, the researchers noted that such findings don’t point to a direct cause and effect between foods that are consumed and ADHD, but rather that such knowledge may be beneficial when creating dietary strategies to help improve quality of life.

[See: 10 Concerns Parents Have About Their Kids’ Health.]

Dr. Sanford Newmark, head of the Pediatric Integrative Neurodevelopmental Program and Medical Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California–San Francisco, says that a “sensible diet is important for all children, but especially those with ADHD.”

Consider an Elimination Diet

Newmark explains that his approach almost always involves an elimination diet, which weeds out certain food choices until more desirable moods and behaviors are achieved. Common culprits that are usually eliminated, he says, involve wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, corn, artificial coloring and artificial flavoring. “I often see dramatic improvement across the board,” he says of the elimination diet. “Hyperactivity slows down and focus increases.”

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