Much research has been logged on the connection between diet and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), a common neurological condition in children and teenagers that affects attention.
Do specific foods aggravate it in some kids? Can eliminating certain foods help with symptoms in others?
Board-certified pediatric neurologist Dr. Dilip Karnik recently contributed to an article on this subject for Everyday Health. The focus of the story was on what foods, or supplements, to add to a child’s diet that may be helpful rather than stressing about what not to eat as with popular “elimination diets.”
“Treating ADHD with nutrition is not a precise medicine,” says Dr. Karnik. “However, there is enough data that supports adding certain nutrients to improve symptoms of ADHD and limit side effects of ADHD medications such as anxiety.”
Dr. Karnik advises seeking seek advice from your child’s physician first though before making any drastic changes to their diet or adding supplements,
Some nutrient-rich foods that he suggests you may want to consider adding more of to your child’s plates in order to help ease ADHD symptoms include:
- Iron: Meat, poultry, lentils, beans, spinach, nuts, and iron-fortified bread and cereals
- Omega-3/EPA: High levels of EPA and DHA present in fish and shellfish can help cognitive functions, reading, and memory. Some of the oily fish that have a higher amount of Omega-3 are salmon, sardines, tuna, cod, herring, and mackerel.
- Magnesium: Legumes, whole grains, milk and milk products, nuts, and green vegetables
- Zinc: Oysters, poultry, red meat, crabs, and shellfish
- B6 and B9 Vitamins: Whole grains, liver, unpolished rice, legumes, avocados, and fortified cereals
“Adding all of these foods to a child’s diet may be challenging at first, but aiming for more ‘whole foods’ little by little will get you there,” encourages Dr. Karnik.
The full article featuring Dr. Karnik can be found here.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological conditions in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old. To make an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists, please contact us here.