It is estimated that 4 to 6% of children in the United States have ADHD. Between one third to 2/3 of these children will continue to have ADHD concerns as adults.
Hyperactivity is more unable to sit still, moving around constantly. Boys may be more likely to be hyperactive, and girls are often attention deficit.
There are many contributing factors to ADHD, which can include birth trauma, brain injury, environmental toxins such as molds and chemicals, genetics, heavy metal toxicity, loud music, fluorescent lighting, and stressful family situations.
Children and adults that have ADHD may have had digestive, respiratory and ear disorders early in life, which are all signals of food allergies. If they were given lots of antibiotics this can make them more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
Food and Diet Recommendations for ADHD
One of the most common factors in ADHD and the one we can change the easiest is diet. Some of the nutritional components of ADHD can blood sugar imbalances, nutritional deficiency, sugar, caffeine in foods (sodas, chocolate, and caffeine consumption while the child was in the womb and being nursed,) and especially food allergies. A person often craves the food likely to be the one causing the problem. Allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs, tomatoes, corn, soy, sugar, peanuts, shellfish, citrus, peanuts, yeast, and chocolate can all cause behavioral problems. Practice a food elimination diet and keep a food journal to determine what the culprit may be.
Avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial colorings, chemical sweeteners (even aspartame can cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems) and meats treated with nitrates. It is better to eat a piece of fruit than drink fruit juice, which can over elevate blood sugar levels. Refined grains like bread, many cereals, and potatoes are high glycemic. Avoid heated oils, including margarine and peanut butter.
Green leafy vegetables, especially celery and cucumbers are cooling to an overly heated ADHD condition. Sea vegetables can be added to soups in small amounts (without being noticed) to provide many trace minerals. Both green foods and sea vegetables are naturally rich in DHA. Eat wild salmon or sardines once a week for their beneficial essential fatty acids.
Raw tahini is a good vegan source of essential fatty acids. Eat raw as much as possible. Use foods that are as organic as possible to minimize the amount of chemicals the child is exposed to. Drink plenty of pure water to help the body eliminate toxins. You will probably need to pack lunch rather than have the child purchase one at school. Changing a child’s diet is less likely to have an effect unless the whole family improves their diet. Encourage peace at mealtimes. Begin with a blessing, turn off the phones, speak calmly and eat more slowly.
Create a mellow calm loving environment. Encourage deep breathing. Strive for a schedule of regularity – regular meals and regular bedtimes. Get rid of clutter as it causes confusion and strive for organization and good feng shui. Provide soft natural lighting. Clean the house of environmental toxins such as smoke, molds and chemical fumes. Protect the child developing nervous system by keeping their bed away from sources of electromagnetic pollution. Play relaxing music.
Spend time in nature – gardening and yard work are excellent activities. Martial arts classes and exercise can help focus and use excessive energy. The important thing is to find a sport or activity that the person enjoys and can be good at. Give children tasks they can accomplish and encourage their success. Break tasks into small portions to avoid overwhelming them. Give lots of specific praise and smile for positive behavior. Encourage ADHD children to run errands. Be consistent and patient. Avoid taking the child to loud crowded places.
Write down details so that the mind is not full of them. Spend time doing nothing for a while each day. Spend one on one time daily with the person with ADD. Physical contact such as hugging and massage can stimulate calming endorphin production. Cranial sacral work can help relieve any pressure upon the brain stem. Neuro or biofeedback help train the brain’s ability to function normally.
Spend more time reading and playing games. Minimize TV and video games. Allowing children to watch TV and video games keeps them indoors and exposes them to frantic messages, constant visual changes, violence, and hyper chatter and. Watch select programs together or not at all and then only after chores and homework or done
Encourage hands on learning. In school, seat children away from distractions such as the pencil sharpener and areas of traffic. Consider tutoring, alternative schooling such as home school, smaller classes or private schools.
Natural food stores carry herbal tinctures that can help ADHD. Look for tinctures in vegetable glycerin, rather than alcohol base.
Herbs that can help ADHD include the following:
Bacopa increases attention span, improves behavior, memory, learning and motor coordination. It enhances learning new tasks and aids in retention of newly learned material. Bacopa raised IQ scores in a twelve-week study of hyperactive children.
Catnip calms anxiety, hysteria, insomnia and restlessness. Chamomile is a gentle relaxant that tones the nervous system, for those prone to temper tantrums. It helps restore an exhausted nervous system and relaxes muscles. Chamomile before bed helps prevent nightmares. Ginkgo enhances cerebral blood flow, calms anxiety and reduces memory loss. It increases the uptake of glucose and improves nerve transmission.
Guarana helps focus and attention and can help calm excessive motor activity, much the same way as Ritalin (which is a stimulant for adults, but sedative for children). Since it contains caffeine include only in small amounts.
Lemon balm protects the cerebrum from excess stimuli. It calms anxiety, relieves depression, hysteria, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness and nightmares.
Passionflower quiets the central nervous system and slows the breakdown of neurotransmitters. It is an herb of choice to relieve anger, anxiety, hyperactivity, hysteria, irritability, insomnia, muscle spasms, restlessness, rapid speech, and stress. Saint John’swort helps heal damaged nerves, calms anxiety, and improves depression, fatigue, insomnia and irritability. Consider using the oil for massaging spine and head.
Valerian is a strong central nervous system relaxant. It can help poor concentration for those under stress. Calms aggressive behavior, anxiety, delirium, hyperactivity, hysteria, insomnia, nervous breakdown, nervousness, restlessness, shock, stress and trauma. Calming herbal baths can provide centering and relaxation for stressed kids (and adults!)
Beneficial aromas for ADHD also include orange, lavender, peppermint and rosemary. They can be used as inhalations with three drops placed on a handkerchief and ten deep inhalations taken. Five drops added to the bath or be used with an aromatherapy diffuser.
Nutritional supplementation can benefit those with ADHD. Both calcium and magnesium have muscle relaxing properties and aid sleep. A yeast free B complex can also have a calming effect and improve neurotransmission and improve appetite. GTF Chromium helps keep blood sugar levels stable and decreases sugar cravings. DHA made from fish oils or algaes can be very effective in relieving a wide range of brain related concerns.
Digestive enzymes such as bromelain, papain and pancreatin can help reduce inflammation and calm moods. GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) helps to protect the brain from excitatory- anxiety related messages from bombarding the brain. It has a very tranquilizing effect, calming anxiety, without causing a person to be sedate. Make sure all supplements are free of artificial color and flavoring.
Simply taking drugs does not get to the source of the problem. Though they can be helpful, there are many other solutions to implement first that are helpful.