A number of children who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been analyzing the role of diet and nutrition in an effort to help lessen the symptoms of hyperactivity. ADHD is a brain-based medical disorder caused by faulty connections between nerve cells that regulate attention. According to the CDC, 11 percent of children were diagnosed with ADHD and about two-thirds of those kids are on some form of prescription medication. While not the cause of the disorder, many researchers suggest that modifying your diet may alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD. Although more studies are needed to make definitive claims, it’s suggested that eating a diet high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and complex carbohydrates can help to ease hyperactivity.
Additionally, foods that may exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD should be avoided. This includes artificial dyes and sweeteners, preservatives, sugars and allergens. Foods that contain artificial dyes in The European Union are required to include a label warning that this color “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” When trying to avoid food dyes, it’s necessary to read the ingredients of processed foods, medications and personal care products, especially those marketed toward children. As an example, yellow #6, banned throughout parts of the world, can be found in Eggo, Kraft, Frito-Lay, Betty Crocker, JELL-O and Mars candy products. Furthermore, avoid preservatives where possible. Sodium benzoate, a popular preservative, can be found in many acidic foods (think salad dressings and condiments), medicines and cosmetics and has been linked to increased hyperactivity.