The Best ADHD Diet Includes Vegetables
A good diet is imperative for people with a diagnosis of ADHD. One of the most important components of a healthy ADHD diet is eating a good amount of vegetables. Vegetables are important for ADHD because all vegetables have polyphenols. The polyphenols are a huge class of natural supplements that have been used of late to treat everything from cancer to ADHD. Polyphenols occur in all plant food and are known to be powerful antioxidants but recent studies have found that certain polyphenols act to normalize vitamin, mineral and hormone levels in the brain and in other organs in our bodies.
The mechanisms of action and the benefits of vegetable polyphenols go even beyond the improvement in this normalization of nutrient use and reduction in oxidative stress. We know for sure that vegetables help cognition and may even help the cognitive deficits found in ADHD. A study performed at Harvard and published in the Annals of Neurology, looking at data for over 13,000 women; found that total vegetable intake was significantly associated with less cognitive decline. As more research is completed we learn more about the importance of a vegetable rich diet and we learn how fruits and vegetable consumption helps our brains and other organs function better.
Much has been written about the Mediterranean diet and its role in increasing longevity but far less has been written about this diet and brain health. The Mediterranean diet is very rich in polyphenols. Supplements such as coffee, pycnogenol, ginko-biloba and soy based phosphatidylserine are all polyphenols. They are all anti-oxidants but the ADHD benefits that they confer all come from confer different mechanisms.
Some studies indicate that in ADHD polyphenols repair the alteration of the metabolism of some trace elements which is part of the problem seem in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are several polyphenols that have been found to be helpful in the treatment of ADHD. Coffee is a polyphenol in the Phenolic acid class. It has been found to help memory and attention in ADHD.
Pycnogenol is a strong polyphenol in the same class of polyphenols as red wine, dark berries, and grape seed extract. Pycnogenol has been found is several studies to improve the symptoms of ADHD and a recent study found that pycnogenol improved the zinc, iron and copper profiles of children with ADHD offering one explanation of how this polyphenol may help ADHD. More information on pycnogenol and ADHD can be found at this post.
One of the most studied polyphenol is soy. Soy is in the flavanoid class of polyphenols. The benefits of soy are many but a new study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition, published in November of 2010 determined that soybean derived phosphatidylserine improves memory and cognition and other studies have found Phosphatidylserine helpful in the treatment of ADHD.
Catechins are polyphenols found in green and white tea, chocolate, berries and apples. The catechins have also been found to be helpful for ADHD cognition. A recent study of 700 adults published last year, in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, found that "Tea consumption was associated with better cognitive performance in community-living Chinese older adults. The protective effect of tea consumption on cognitive function was not limited to particular type of tea."
You can get polyphenols into your system by eating supplements but multiple studies have shown the absorption and the benefits of polyphenols are greater if you eat polyphenol rich fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately vegetables are, in this country, under consumed by children so supplements must fill the gap left by dietary inadequacies.
I believe that a good ADHD diet and having your kids eat vegetables is so important that several years ago I started a garden in my yard. I wanted my kids to grow vegetables that they would nurture, love and then eat. I have grown carrots, radishes, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, corn, peppers and eggplant and with the exception of the eggplant, my kids have devoured all their vegetables. My kids love picking the cherry tomatoes right of the plant and popping them into their mouths, they love the carrots and often pick them before they are ready because they are sweet and cute and the fresh corn is like candy to them.
A diet rich in vegetables can help children with ADHD. Parents should make a point of insuring that their children consume as many vegetables as possible in order to improve ADHD behavior.
Tess Messer has a Masters Degree in Environmental Medicine and has published many articles on ADHD. For more ADHD information and for the links to many free ADHD resources visit: http://www.primarilyinattentiveadd.com
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