Healthy eating is a key to easing ADHD symptoms in children

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A recent study offers encouraging news for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): consuming more fruits and vegetables might help lessen their inattention issues.

Researchers from The Ohio State University, as part of a broader study, delved into the typical diets of 134 children with ADHD symptoms, analyzing the food types and portion sizes over 90 days.

Parents of these children were also asked to rate their kids’ symptoms of inattention, a core aspect of ADHD.

These symptoms included challenges like staying focused, following instructions, memory issues, and emotional regulation difficulties.

The study, published in Nutritional Neuroscience, found a clear pattern: children who ate more fruits and vegetables exhibited milder symptoms of inattention, as noted by Irene Hatsu, associate professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University.

This research was part of the Micronutrients for ADHD in Youth (MADDY) Study, which also examined a 36-ingredient vitamin and mineral supplement’s effectiveness in treating ADHD symptoms and emotional dysregulation in children aged 6 to 12.

The supplement study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, revealed that children taking the supplement were three times more likely to show significant improvement in ADHD and emotional regulation symptoms compared to those taking a placebo.

Another related study published in Nutrients highlighted the impact of food insecurity on the severity of emotional dysregulation symptoms in children, such as chronic irritability and angry moods.

This study suggests that a lack of access to adequate, nutritious food might exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

Taken together, these studies suggest that a healthy diet providing essential nutrients can help reduce ADHD symptoms in children.

Hatsu emphasizes the need to consider a child’s access to food and diet quality when treating ADHD. This approach may help in managing symptoms more effectively than solely adjusting medication doses.

Researchers believe that ADHD is linked to low levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, with vitamins and minerals playing a crucial role as cofactors in neurochemical production and brain function.

Furthermore, food insecurity can exacerbate irritability and family stress, potentially worsening ADHD symptoms.

The MADDY study, which included children from Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, was conducted between 2018 and 2020.

It is one of the first studies to examine the relationship between diet quality and ADHD symptoms in North American children.

This is particularly significant given that Western diets often lack sufficient fruit and vegetable intake compared to diets like the Mediterranean diet.

Clinicians are encouraged to assess the food security status of children with ADHD and consider dietary improvements as part of their treatment plan.

By supporting families in becoming more food secure and able to provide healthier diets, some ADHD symptoms might be more manageable.

If you care about health, please read studies about a new cause of autism, and cats may help decrease anxiety for kids with autism.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about vitamin D that may hold the clue to more autism, and results showing strange eating habits may signal autism.

The research findings can be found in Nutritional Neuroscience.

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