January 29 2018
Children are known to have an abundance of natural energy, but how often do you have to tell them to slow down, calm down, and stop interrupting or to just sit still? How often does their massive amount of energy get in the way of school work or being able to focus on a singular task or process a situation rationally? Hyperactivity is a common and well known sign for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental mental disorder which means that it is a brain function disorder which can affect emotion, learning ability, self-control, and concentration and can change and develop in different ways as the person diagnosed grows. ADHD is commonly found in children (it can also be diagnosed in teens and adults) and the disorder is typically characterized by a disability to focus for long periods of time, bouts of hyperactivity, chattiness, and fidgeting and poor organization skills.
The exact specific cause of ADHD is still not entirely known but many people speculate that it is a mixture of genetics, diet and environment and now many people are also even seeing a connection between ADHD and a lack of dopamine production in the brain. There is no known cure-all for ADHD just like there is no known cure-all for any mental illness, however, like any other mental illness, there are things that can be done to help make things a little easier to handle regardless if your child is medicated or not. As a parent of a child with ADHD, your main goals should be to help them concentrate and remember things much more clearly while also helping them to find a healthy way to release their hyperactive energy.
It is important to be conscious of your child’s diet. The right diet could make some amount of impact on your child’s cognitive function as well as helping to produce more dopamine and less nervous energy. Deficiencies in certain types of nutrients could actually worsen ADHD symptoms and unfortunately deficiencies are commonplace for people of all ages. Lean proteins are essential to any diet, for those who have ADHD, protein and fatty acids help in the production of neurotransmitters which helps with cellular communication in the brain thus helping with focus. Incorporate more lean proteins in your child’s breakfast or find a natural protein supplement to give them as a drink (many natural protein supplements are actually safe for children to take). Lean protein also helps in reducing and preventing surges in blood sugar thus reducing hyperactivity. Adding fibre (such as whole grains) as a regular staple in your child’s diet also works wonders for helping to reduce excessive spiking and dropping of blood sugar. It is also very important to make sure there is no deficiency in iron, zinc or magnesium either. Zinc is helps to regulate dopamine in the brain and makes your brain more responsive to it as well. Iron also helps in dopamine production as well as preventing iron deficiencies which many studies are starting to show has links with ADHD. It is strange to picture an iron deficient person as a hyperactive child seeing as many of us associate iron deficiency as someone who is likely pale, tired and low on energy. Whole grains and dark leafy veggies are amazing sources of iron that could be incorporated more into your children’s diet that your child might not object to. Having a little ball of pure energy for a child can be exhausting but there are ways to harness that energy into something positive and there are always natural means to help them get through life without straying too far away into distraction.