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The Worst and Best Foods for ADHD in Children

A well-balanced and nutritious diet plays a crucial role in the mental and physical well-being of growing children. Consuming food with fresh ingredients and limiting the intake of sugars, artificial colors and processed food can help bolster immunity and ensure health and wellness in both kids and adults. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that makes focusing on everyday things very challenging. Following an ADHD nutrition plan rich in protein and vitamins can affect treatment of ADHD. However, certain foods can make your child’s ADHD symptoms worse. Read further to understand how you can include a well-balanced diet to regulate ADHD. Research shows that, if followed right, a diet with adequate levels of the right food for ADHD treatment optimizes brain function.

Medications, although a convenient option, can often cause side effects in kids. Some of them include sleep problems, mood swings, and loss of appetite.

Do’s

Protein-rich diet

Foods rich in protein produce neurotransmitters, a chemical released by the brain cells to communicate with each other. Consumption of foods with protein controls the surges in blood sugar, thus controlling hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some examples of protein rich diets include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, soy, nuts and other dairy products. Ideally it is recommended to start your day with a breakfast rich in proteins and find creative options to include lean proteins throughout the day.

Vitamins and Minerals

It is essential to include the right amount of minerals and vitamins to your diet as it can help with improving attention and alertness. Healthy options include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Healthy Fats

Fat is essential for energy and cell growth. A selection of fat-rich foods like avocado, seeds, nuts and oils can help manage the symptoms of ADHD. Essential fatty acids fuel basic cell functioning, improve overall immunity, and enhance heart health. Walnuts, salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and the like can contribute to adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet.

Don’ts

Artificial Colors and Preservatives

Consumption of food with artificial food coloring and preservatives is shown to be a trigger among children with ADHD. It is found that kids consuming these foods are often hyperactive. To regulate ADHD, foods to avoid among kids are sodas, sorbets, salad dressings, cereals and candies, icing, pickles, gelatin desserts and ice creams, etc.

Potential Allergens

For kids sensitive to dairy and nuts, it is best to avoid food containing these possible allergens to regulate their behavior. Also, avoiding these foods may help improve behavior in some children with ADHD.

It is likely that multiple factors may be at play with regards to environmental exposures and ADHD, and dietary exposure effects may be multifactorial as well. Apart from maintaining a well-balanced diet and taking supplements and medication, another proven way to regulate ADHD behavior is to use Electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback. EEG biofeedback is a type of neurotherapy that measures brain waves and is a promising treatment for ADHD.

If you want to know more about the best ADHD treatment in Dubai, write to us! Our neuro-experts use EEG to monitor your brainwaves and give you feedback to produce long-term changes in brain patterns leading to better focus and motivation.


Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.

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