Treating attention-deficit disorder without using prescription drugs may seem like a challenge to the parents of a child who has ADD. However, adding particular foods to the child’s diet and removing foods that worsen the condition can have a significant effect on the child’s behavior.
Symptoms of ADD
Children with ADD may exhibit difficulty solving problems or managing time. Easily distracted and unable to concentrate, they may be forgetful or absentminded, having a tendency to frequently lose things. They may find it difficult to finish or organize tasks, and they may have sloppy or impulsively done schoolwork. Disorders of sleep, speech and hearing may also be present.
Foods to Include
Complex carbohydrates help with ADD, and they can be found in fruits, vegetables, beans and natural whole grains. Fruits that are highly recommended include apples, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, grapefruit and lemons. Recommended vegetables include broccoli, carrots, raw spinach, squash and string beans.
Supplying the body with a high amount of protein is also recommended. Including cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon and herring will provide the child’s diet with DHA, an essential fatty acid that is often deficient in those who have ADD. Other helpful protein sources for a child with ADD include low-fat cottage cheese, raw nuts and seeds, and turkey or chicken breast.
Eating high amounts of fiber is also recommended. Eating brown rice, potatoes, beans, lentils and tofu are also recommended.
Foods to Avoid
Some people with ADD have exhibited behavioral problems after consuming dairy products. Limit these products if behavioral changes are noticed after consuming dairy.
Removing all forms of refined sugar from the diet is strongly encouraged. In addition, all foods that contain artificial colorings, flavorings, MSG, yeast or preservatives should be avoided. These foods should be removed from the child’s diet: bacon, butter, ketchup, carbonated beverages, chocolate, colored cheeses, corn, ham, hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage and mustard.
Consider giving acidophilus supplements to your child. According to Phyllis Balch in her book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” many children with ADD have high levels of yeast and other harmful bacteria in their urine. Taking probiotics such as acidophilus will add beneficial bacteria to their body to help alleviate this problem.
Balch also recommends taking a homeopathic remedy called Gelsemium, which can help relieve anticipatory anxiety. She also recommends the homeopathic remedy called Ignatia, to help alleviate anger and temper tantrums.
Outdoor physical activity and creative pursuits should be encouraged. Exposure to loud music, video games and television should be limited. When a child’s behavior seems to get out of control and problems arise, it is important to explain to him what he did wrong and why it was wrong, in a calm, one-on-one fashion whenever possible.