Diet and ADHD link gets stronger

ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is the most commonly diagnosed mental health problem for children worldwide.  The ratio has been estimated at anywhere from one in one hundred to one in five children that suffer from this disorder, and parents, teachers and the medical profession are constantly looking for ways to combat the problem.

A recent study from the ADHD Research Center and Radboud University in the Netherlands reinforces previous research that strongly suggests a child’s diet is one significant factor in controlling the behavioral symptoms of the disorder.  The research involved 100 children aged four to eight who had been diagnosed with ADHD.  They were divided into two groups, with one group eating a basic healthy but unrestricted diet and the other on a diet of very limited foods for five weeks.

The restricted, or ‘few foods’ diet included only foods that have seldom if ever been found to trigger an allergy, such as white meats, rice, a few fruits and vegetables and water.  Wheat, eggs, tomatoes and dairy products were among those foods eliminated from the restricted diet as known allergy triggers for some children and adults.  After the five weeks, more than half of the second group showed significant improvement in ADHD symptoms i.e. disruptive behavior, inability to concentrate etc.

At this point the restricted foods were gradually added back into the restricted diets and the children’s behavior monitored to assess reaction.  The results on the whole are not conclusive, but there is a definite association between food allergies and ADHD.  The biggest problem is the necessity for long-term patience and monitoring of food intake if parents are to ascertain the right foods for their children, and then make sure that’s what they eat.

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