Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An ADHD Diet Therapy Can Really Help!

by Diana Ketchen

Bringing home your tiny bundle of joy, many parents never think about the possibility of dealing with ADHD. But for parents and children diagnosed with this problem, the challenges of ADHD can frustrate and overwhelm. As questions arise about the best treatment from doctors, many quickly assume that parents will want the easy way, with a prescription. Many parents are concerned about the long-term affects, however, and have found that there are alternative therapies through ADHD diet therapy and herbal supplements.
DIET and ADHD
Diet and behavior has been studied as a possible factor in ADHD in children, as well as the cause for other behavior problems, since the early 1970's. Some parents have found that by keeping the diet remedies for ADHD children through an additive free diet that the results have been nearly as good or better than drug treatment. Modifying diet is a good first step to take before resorting to medication.
Since some children's behavior is triggered by different dietary factors, finding the culprit can be tricky. Keeping a food journal and eliminating certain trigger foods through the "elimination diet" is the most effective way to find out what foods are causing problems and finding diet remedies for ADHD for your child. ADHD is not the only problem from food triggers; behavior problems - including autism - as well as sleep problems and irritability - have also shown improvement from the elimination diet.
ELIMINATION DIET HOW TO
When searching for diet remedies for ADHD, read up on the common triggers. Make your child's meal plans for a week while withholding the suspected trigger. Chart behavior changes and attention over the course of the week, since it often takes time for the allergen or trigger to work itself out of the child's system. Teachers and care providers are going to have to be on board to get accurate results!
Common triggers include food dyes - this includes dyes found in medicines, drinks, food products, candy - dyes are a non-essential part of the child's dietary needs. Other common foods that can trigger reactions are dairy products, particularly cow's milk, sugar and artificial sweeteners, processed meats and fried foods.
Once you are ready to add the foods back into the diet, add one type of food every two days, and watch for behavior changes. After it is determined that the food is not a cause, it can be added back into the regular diet.
HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS
ADHD diet therapy can be used in conjunction with herbal supplements to maximize results. Both children and adults have seen positive response when using herbal treatments. These are common items, easy to find. Ginkgo Biloba is known to improve blood flow to the brain, thus improving memory and concentration. Combining this with American Ginseng has been shown to help symptoms of ADHD in children in several studies. St. John's Wort is another popular treatment. It has been used for years as an anti-depressant, by increasing serotonin (which affects mood).
Grape Seed Extract is another popular treatment, becoming more common as a first line of defense by doctors. Grape Seed Extract is believed to inhibit the faster than normal breakdown of dopamine in the brain for ADHD patients.
Pine Bark, also called Pycnogenol, is a complex of flavanoids that increases circulation and lowers free radicals. This is a potentially good treatment up and coming in the herbal remedies available for treating children with ADHD.
Finding the right ADHD diet therapy for your child is not an overnight magic pill. It takes time and persistence, but many parents and teachers will testify that diet remedies for ADHD combined with alternative therapies such as herbal remedies and extended behavior modification, that there is hope! Your child can be the focused and attentive child you want - well, as much as any child can be! By using ADHD diet therapy, you are keeping your child from the risks of associated drug risks.

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