Many children with ADHD and ADD have made remarkable improvement through Nutrition and Lifestyle changes. Recent studies show that proper diet and exercise can be as effective as drugs in treating ADHD and ADD.
Nutrition and Lifestyle Options
The Feingold Diet eliminates synthetic additives, drugs and chemicals common in processed foods. Food dyes and colorings have been shown to cause allergic reactions not only in children but in adults as well. Kids might be excited by the yellow daisy frosting on the birthday cake. But yellow coloring (known are tartrazine) has been implicated as a cause of allergic reactions.
So has carmine, a red dye made from a dried insect often found on prickly pear cactus plants. This coloring is used in various cosmetics, drinks, yogurt, candies and popsicles.
Another food coloring called annatto is a yellow-orange color derived from the Bixia Orellana Tree. This food coloring is often used in crackers and cookies.
The best course of action is to avoid all processed foods. Make your own bread, cookies, candies, crackers so you know exactly what goes into the food that gets into your children.
If you wish to pursue the Feingold Diet, ask your physician or health care provider for a recommendation of someone trained in working with this Diet.
We found that the Hypoallergenic Diet--one that focuses on whole foods, organic foods, without food additives or chemicals and common food allergens like gluten, dairy and sugar-- worked best for our grandson who was labeled ODD.He was hyperactive as well and the hypoallergenic diet did wonders with him.
My daughter in law is an avid food label reader. Before she purchases anything,she goes through the entire label to make sure that nothing is contained in it that could harm the children. She uses whole foods-- making everything from scratch.Her Lentils Lasagna is out of this world! She even makes her own gluten free bread and they are delicious.
She also eliminated sugar from the children's diet. Sugar does intensify hyperactivity in children. One study showed that reducing consumption of sugar reduced aggressiveness in ADHD kids.
In general, cutting out sugar is a good move--even for normal children. Excess consumption of sugar has been linked to Obesity and Diabetes.
It takes time and effort to ensure proper nutrition for the family. My daughter in law does so with love and pride.Our grandson balked at the new food at the beginning. He did not want to try the gluten free, dairy free and sugar free options, resisted our attempts at making nutrition and lifestyle changes; he complained at every meal at first, but his parents persisted and now he loves whole foods, gluten free bread and rice milk. His younger sister grew up on whole and organic foods.
He, his sister and his new baby brother have never been to MacDonalds' or any fast food outlet. They love lentils, chickpeas and fish.
Children will balk at healthy food if they are not used to it. But don't give up. Persistence pays off. Making nutrition and lifestyle changes does not happen in a day. Be patient.
Check out how the
Maximized Living Nutrition Plan can Help Kids with ADHD.
It provides a simple and sensible approach to nutrition by espousing a return to whole foods and organic foods.
Make Nutritional Supplements Part of Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes
Recently, studies have shown that L-carnitine reduces attention problems and aggressive behavior in children with ADHD and ADD.
L-carnitine is a natural antioxidant that is directly linked to energy production and brain functioning.
In one study, use of L-carnitine for 8 weeks produced improvement in 54% of a group of boys with ADHD, while use of a placebo showed only 13% improvement.
Studies have also shown that consumption of essential fats has helped children with ADD, ADHD, learning disorders and behavior problems. Lack of omega 3 fatty acids can hurt brain and nerve functioning.
The human brain is largely composed of structural fat. For optimal functioning, the brain needs to be fed essential fats. It needs brain food. B vitamins, particularly B6 have also been found to reduce symptoms of hyperactivity and restlessness.
Exercise is part of the Nutrition and Lifestyle Option
There is no doubt that exercise improves focus and mental processing.Studies have shown a direct correlation between exercise and brain functioning. A regular program of exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise like running, cycling, swimming rewires the brain by working out the executive functions of the brain so important for focus and attention.
Moreover, exercise releases endorphins, compounds that improve mood, pleasure and pain. Physical movement elevates the brain's levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which are brain chemicals that affect focus and attention, often lacking in children with ADHD and ADD.
There is no doubt that regular exercise helps ADHD and ADD children. A good example is 8 time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Michel Phelps who, as a child, was diagnosed with hyperactive disorder. Think of the intense focus and attention he developed to become an 8 time Olympic Champion!
The key is to get the child excited by exercise so he or she will stick with the routine. Baseball, hockey, dance a game of hoops are all activities that help the child begin a long term relationship with physical movement.
One thing we've noticed is this: nutrition and lifestyle changes go hand in hand. Once we got all of us eating well,exercise and good life habits just start to develop.
Stress Busters are also part of Proper Nutrition and Lifestyle
Exercise is a stress buster. So are the following activities: Meditation, Yoga, Slow Breathing and Proper Sleep Routines.
It is often difficult to get children settled enough to meditate.
There are, however, several websites that provide easy to follow beginner's meditation for children. You might be able to get your youngster to sit down and meditate once at week at the beginning.
However, do not give up. Keep getting your child involved. Pretty soon, you'll find that you are both able to meditate twice a week, then three times or more.
Yoga teaches children the art of centering--finding a place inside where all is calm, focused and peaceful. It isan essential skill not only for children but for adults in the 21st century.
Proper sleep routines ensure that your child has a restful sleep every night. Sleep disturbances and sleep disorders can exacerbate ADHD/ADD.
A quiet and comfortable room without distractions( TV, Video Player, Games) is an essential part of your child's stress busting environment.A routine of reading together, positive conversation and a hug does wonders to calm a restless child.These are as much a part of nutrition and lifestyle as food and exercise.
Spending as much time as possible out in the natural world does wonders as well. There is a simple and deep affinity between children and nature. When my boys were young, we used to spend every summer at a cottage on Manitoulin Island. Those were marvelous days when we returned to nature and were restored physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Studies show that living in urban centers without grass or trees destroys the balance between man's inner and outer selves. As one writer puts it,"Studies show that elderly adults whose homes are near green space and trees tend to live longer regardless of their social and economic situations. Students perform better when they study at desks stationed before windows that open to natural settings.
Children with ADHD improve in behavior and mood after outdoor activities in green environments.
People who actively participate in nature through outdoor work, running or hiking tend to have higher levels of overall satisfaction with life; they also have fewer colds and flus, and they seem to be protected from illness by an increased ability to adapt to stress without being overwhelmed."
Read more about this relationship between nature and human well-being
Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes can help reduce the restlessness of children with ADHD and ADD. When these changes are adopted by the whole family, magic happens--as it did with our family.
We all became attuned to the miracle of whole foods, organic foods, daily exercise,natural settings, family interactions and conversations, love and harmony.
Even a simple ritual like a daily family dinner can tame the behavior of ADHD children.
It is this sense of unity--that we are part of a living whole and that we have control over our health and well-being through nutrition and lifestyle-- that will be passed down through our children to the generations that follow.
You can help your child overcome anxiety, worries, and fears.
By ending your child's battle with anxiety, his or her whole life can move quickly in a much more positive direction and change for the better. In the next few minutes, you’re going to learn how you can help your child feel more confident, secure in body and mind, and most of all, be happy again by discovering how to shatter the anxiety, nervousness, and fear that may be holding him or her back.
Check out the Anxiety-Free Child Program.
Disclaimer: The above information is meant only to inform and should never displace professional consultation.
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