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ADHD Diet and Impulsiveness


Nutrition and diet has become a large part of my life. It is our fuel that makes the engine run. Supply your engine with the right fuel (high octane), and you will receive optimum performance. If by chance you chose to supply your engine with the cheap, sludgy, or incorrect fuel for your model, you may discover that your performance will suffer. Similarly, if you put diesel in a vehicle that runs off of ethanol it will seize up.

Quite often we do this to ourselves without realizing the consequences. We eat that bag of Funyons or that extra bowl of ice cream because the appeal of amazing flavor momentarily outweighs the consequences of gaining weight or feeling sluggish afterward. If we as adults struggle to manage our own food choices, imagine how hard it must be for a child, particularly an impulsive one!  

What we feed our children is so important to their and our success as individuals and parents. We get caught up in our busy schedules and fail to remember how much our children’s’ diet can impact the symptoms of hyperactivity, lack of concentration, impulsivity, and even oppositional behavior. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are quickly processed leaving children feeling irritable, stressed, or even un-focused. And sometimes allergies to foods such as gluten, dairy, or soy can play a role in the severity of ADHD.

An article I recently read from ADDitude magazine highlights research on the benefits of a balanced diet in children with ADHD. Proteins, complex carbohydrates and fiber can increase concentration due to the slower breakdown and longer energy supply that they provide.  Dr. Roy Sanders, a member of SOAR’s advisory board, recommends a high protein snack such as a spoonful of peanut butter to allow for greater focus and attention on afternoon homework.  And recent research is indicating that eliminating artificial colors and additives can ease ADHD symptoms. 

Check out the article and eat well!