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Does Someone in Your Life Have ADD/ADHD?

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I bet the answer to that question is “yes.”  Maybe it’s you, one of your children, or another family member?  Some statistics show that 11% of children are diagnosed and 4% of adults.  These numbers are considered low by some experts, but many cases likely go diagnosed.

My goal here is to show the importance of diet, exercise, and routine for people managing either condition by discussing some foods to include and others to avoid or eliminate.  Beyond this, committing to a regular routine for work/school/exercise/sleep, along with medication, can make a huge difference in their daily lives.

  1. Diet- Be sure to include plenty of protein, especially for breakfast. This will help get the brain get ready for the day by releasing neurotransmitters which help the cells communicate. Omega 3s (healthy fats) are equally important for brain function and also possess anti-inflammatory properties.  Healthy carbohydrates are important for energy and preventing blood sugar spikes.  However, aside from fruit, sugar should be avoided.
  2. Vitamins and minerals- Most of our diets are lacking in the proper amounts of these especially zinc, iron, and magnesium.  It is important to try to absorb these through consumption of whole foods when possible, instead of simply taking pills blindly.  Consultation with a medical professional could be helpful, as there are blood tests that can be done to reveal vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Regardless, always check with your physician before starting any supplement program.
  3. Journaling- Keeping a notebook on hand and recording thoughts on paper is effective in calming the ADD brain. This can be as simple as writing down a “to do” list, or as complex as noting social issues that can be going on in one’s life.  Putting pen to paper has a more profound effect on daily living than is often realized.
  4. Food Allergies- There are six foods that to which many people are likely to be sensitive or allergic: wheat, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, and nuts. In addition to physical reactions, these foods are known to cause hyperactivity in some and others to lose focus overall.  Try cutting these out one at a time and monitor results.
  5. Schedule- Getting into a routine is also very helpful at keeping the ADD brain on focus. Have a plan for specific times for waking and going to bed.  This can include simple actions such as placing your car keys in the same place every time you walk in the door.  For a child, similar tasks could be placing his/her book bag in a particular place when coming home from school, or setting a precise time for starting one’s homework.  Others may be laying clothes out the night before to save time on rifling through closets and dressers in the morning before school.