Eating for ADHD

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Did you know that certain foods can either help your ADHD symptoms or make them worse? It’s true.

What we put in our bodies, as well as what goes on in our bodies, affects our brains.

Don’t believe me? Go have a few shots of tequila and then tell me your brain hasn’t been affected.

Food, unlike tequila, has a much subtler effect on your brain, but what you eat and don’t eat definitely makes a difference.

So what are some foods that are good for your brain and your ADHD?

Lean protein always tops my list. Protein helps build neurotransmitters in your brain and keeps your blood sugar on an even keel. You might want to reconsider breakfast, especially. And don’t forget your kids too.

Fruits and veggies are important too. Look for those with lots of color to them. Think spinach and dark greens, romaine instead of iceberg lettuce, red onions, purple grapes. The reason is that the more colorful a fruit or vegetable is, the more nutrients they have. You can read more here.

Good old water should be an important part of your diet. Your body and your brain need to be well hydrated throughout the day in order to function at their best. Flavored water is OK too.

Complex carbs like brown rice can be beneficial to your brain as well. Complex carbs provide energy to your brain, help you think more clearly and focus better. They are also effective at keeping your blood sugar level.

What foods are bad for your brain and ADHD?

Sugar has long been pointed to as the culprit behind hyperactivity. You can find university studies that support both sides of that theory. My suggestion is to see how your body reacts to it, and also to watch how much you take in, then make a judgement based on that.

Food dyes, preservatives, and pesticides have also been blamed, not only for increased ADHD symptoms, but as the cause of ADHD as well. I think avoiding preservatives and pesticides as much as possible is just good sense for everyone. And if you have a tendency towards allergies, or notice a reaction to certain foods, you might want to take a look at food dyes. When you shop as I do – pretty much avoiding most prepared foods – it makes it easier.

Wheat and dairy products have been shown to have an effect on some ADDers symptoms. (Gluten and casein free is what you’re looking for.) You might notice it most as brain fog, fuzzy thinking, or just not being able to pay attention. You may also notice gastro symptoms like a rumbly stomach, nausea or pain, or gas. At the very least, your body is reacting in a negative way, so you might want to try gluten and casein free for a week and see how you feel.

In general, the healthier your diet, the less likely that your symptoms will get out of control. Of course, our lives, bodies and brains are much more complicated than that. The total healthy lifestyle is the best way to help manage your ADHD symptoms.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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