Because of the side effects inherent in some medications used for ADHD, more and more parents – as they’re trying to raise them well – are looking for alternatives to treat their child’s condition naturally. One of these alternatives is feeding children foods that are rich in the nutrients that ADHD kids need, while avoiding foods whose ingredients can make their symptoms worse.

Foods to Embrace

Group 1

Meat and organ meats like liver, fish, met, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, eggs and leafy green vegetables.

These foods are great sources of thiamine (B1), niacin (B3) and pyroxidine (B6), important parts of the vitamin B complex.  Thiamine can help improve the behavior of ADHD kids, while niacin can help to improve a weak school performance and help kids maintain social relationships. Pyroxidine is highly effective for treating hyperactivity.

Group 2

Nuts, seeds, sardines, salmon and leafy green vegetables.

These foods contain calcium and magnesium in a 1 to 1 ratio, which is perfect for dietary treatment of ADHD: magnesium can help to calm a child’s hyperactivity and even help with the sleep disorders which children with this disorder are so prone to.  Calcium helps control hyperactivity as well.

Group 3

Oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, egg yolks, nuts and beans.

Foods in this group are a rich source of zinc, which many children with ADHD lack in sufficient amounts and which has been proven to help decrease irritability, impulsivity and hyperactive behavior.

Group 4

Organ and red meats, egg yolks, nuts and beans.

These foods are a great way to get more iron in your children’s diet; iron has been shown to help decrease irritability and to improve the memory and attentiveness of children with ADHD.

Group 5

Salmon, halibut, tuna and other fatty fish.

These foods are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which have also been proven to improve symptoms of ADHD.  This includes decrease behaviors like temper tantrums as well as improve a child’s memory, sleep patterns and overall mood.

Foods to Avoid

Group 1

Hard candy, fruit-flavored cereals, fruity drinks and sports drinks, barbeque sauce and canned fruit.

This group contains a variety of artificial dyes such as Red Dye #5 which have been shown to increase hyperactivity symptoms.

Group 2

Sodas, salad dressings and condiments.

These foods contain preservatives like BHA and BHT which have also been associated with increased hyperactivity.

Group 3

Cookies, candy, baked goods, commercial desserts, sodas, fruit cocktails.

These foods are a source of both simple sugars and artificial sweeteners which have also been shown to make ADHD symptoms worse.

Group 4

Almonds, grapes and apples.

While these foods are normally considered to be healthy, they are also a source of salicylates, which can worsen ADHD symptoms in children who are sensitive to it.

Group 5

Eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, milk, and peanuts.

These foods are normally healthy should only be eliminated from the diet if a child is allergic to them, which can be determined with testing.  These foods are common allergens and in children who are susceptible to them, they can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

Every child will be different and these dietary therapies can take time.  However, for parents looking for more natural ways to control ADHD symptoms, these dietary changes and restrictions are well worth exploring.