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10 Nutritional And Lifestyle Recommendations That Can Reduce The Symptoms Of ADHD

Living with ADHD can interfere with your daily life but these symptoms can be alleviated by diet and some lifestyle changes.

The main symptoms of ADHD include short attention spans, impulsives, disturbances, and poor or hyperactive impulse control (though not in all cases). I have personally found that these symptoms can be alleviated by dietary and lifestyle adjustments. There are several actions that can be taken that will have a significant impact on ADHD symptoms.

Here are 10 dietary and lifestyle suggestions that can reduce ADHD symptoms if followed.

  1. Make sure you are never too hungry. The brain consumes 20 percent of the body's energy, which is more than any other human organ. Therefore, the brain relies on a regular supply of food for energy. Without the nutrients that the food provides, brain function will have a negative impact. This will affect self-control, concentration, sleep, mood, motor skills and memory. By ensuring that you are never too hungry and have a healthy snack, you will ensure that your self-control and attention span are under your control. In situations where you may be testing your patience, I suggest that you plan ahead and make sure you eat well in advance.

  2. Increase dopamine release. In the brain, dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter (a chemical produced by neurons, a type of brain cell) that is linked to feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and reward. Dopamine also sharpens the mind and creates another warning. Low dopamine levels have been found in people with ADHD who may be having difficulty focusing. Tyrosine is an amino acid that stimulates the brain to release dopamine. Tyrosine is found in high amounts in almonds, avocados, bananas, peanuts (seeds), pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. By eating these foods regularly, you will ensure that your body has enough tyrosine to support the release of dopamine.

  3. Increase serotonin release. It has been found that increasing dopamine release is not sufficient to control ADHD and serotonin levels. In fact, a balanced relationship between dopamine and serotonin is key to helping reduce ADHD symptoms. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with impulse control and aggression. Tryptophan is an amino acid used by the body to release serotonin. Tryptophan is found in spirulina, spinach, sewage, soybeans, mushrooms, carrot vegetables, mustard vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, sunflower seeds and kidney beans. By eating these foods regularly, you will ensure your body has sufficient tryptophan to support serotonin production.

  4. Increase the overall carbohydrate rich foods of your diet. Tryptophan is the least amino acid and therefore, in protein rich foods, tryptophan is the last amino acid to cross the blood brain barrier. It has to wait its turn after other amino acids. On the other hand, evidence shows that eating a complex carbohydrate diet with little but sufficient protein will increase the tryptophan found in the brain. The reason is that when carbohydrate-rich foods are consumed, the body releases insulin, which transfers other amino acids to the muscle but leaves tryptophan untouched. This provides a better basis for tryptophan to enter the brain and promote a calming effect. Foods rich in carbohydrates with sufficient protein include whole grains, nuts, lentils, barley, oats, nuts and quinoa.

  5. Lose animal protein in your diet. Why not? When you use natural carbohydrate foods in the absence of protein or animal fat, they allow tryptophan to flood the brain.

  6. Make sure your diet has enough iron. Why not? Because the enzymes involved in the production of tryptophan and tyrosine contain iron which in the enzyme helps regulate its activity. Iron is found in spinach, lentils and chicken beans.

  7. Make sure your diet is rich in magnesium and zinc that affects serotonin and dopamine activity. Natural foods rich in magnesium and zinc include pumpkin seeds, soy beans, spinach and quinoa.

  8. Reduce the use of non-natural dyes and preservatives in your diet. These unnatural products affect the brain and have been found to improve ADHD symptoms in some people. I would recommend removing all artificial dyes and flavors from your diet, although I know this may be difficult for some of us, so at least remove the sodium benzoate preservatives and artificial sun dyes, yellow quinoline, tartrazine and red streaks.

  9. Exercise! Studies have proven repeatedly that physically active every day has a very positive effect on children with ADHD. Not only does it improve symptoms, it also physically improves mood and cognitive performance. Very light physical activity triggers the brain to release dopamine and serotonin that reduce ADHD symptoms.

  10. I also recommend Cognitive-Behavior Therapy that focuses on changing how one feels and acts by changing patterns of thinking and persistent beliefs about oneself and life. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy also helps control anger and helps to stay focused.

Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle have a significant impact on ADHD symptoms. By changing your eating habits and adding the foods suggested above to your regular daily diet and regularly incorporating physical activity into your schedule, you will notice a significant reduction in ADHD symptoms.


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