Are You What You Eat? The Best ADD / ADHD Diet
Are you eating properly? Because if you aren’t you could be sabotaging your Adult Attention Deficit treatments. Eating the best ADD / ADHD diet is crucial to managing ADD. What you eat determines how well your brain functions. Yet many adults with ADD have horrid diets and eating habits.
We forget to eat. We skip meals. We forget to grocery shop. When hunger catches up with us, we end up eating whatever we can get our hands on. We binge on junk food in an unconscious effort to self-medicate.
All this plays havoc on the ADD brain.
ADD guru Dr. Ned Hallowell says, “If you don’t eat properly, you can become distracted, impulsive and restless. You can look like you have ADD even if you don’t!”
According to ADD specialist Dr. Daniel Amen, a good diet may even decrease the amount of medication needed.
I’ve read many people with ADD do better on a higher protein, lower “simple” carbohydrate diet. But what does that mean? Let’s unwrap the mysteries of food and ADD so you can eat a diet that supports your brain.
The Best ADD / ADHD Diet
Your goal is to give your brain a constant supply of protein and at the same time reduce artificial ingredients. You need:
- Protein with every meal. Found in meat, eggs, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, soy and beans; some proteins are high in fat so keep your portions small. Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.), cheese and beef jerky are all easy protein-rich snacks.
- Fruits and vegetables. Since ADD adults avoid anything too challenging, select fruits and vegetables that are easy to prepare and eat. Those pre-washed and cut bags of lettuce and carrots are worth the extra expense!
- Whole grains (complex carbohydrates). That means whole wheat flours, crackers, cereals and pastas and brown rice. The words ‘whole wheat’ must be on the package’s ingredients list for the product to truly be whole wheat.
- A complete vitamin and mineral supplement. Even if you do manage to eat a good diet, numerous studies show our bodies and brains need more vitamins and minerals than we get from our food.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Found in supplements, cold-water white fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines. Also, in walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive and canola oil.
Decrease or Avoid These ADD / ADHD Diet Enemies
- Foods with long ingredient names you can’t pronounce. These are likely artificial colors, sugar substitutes and food additives which some believe can aggravate ADD symptoms. Why take a chance?
- Sugar, corn syrup, honey and candy. I’m not going to say NEVER have sugar, but with sugar hidden in many foods most people eat way too much so avoid it when you can. Especially watch out for high-fructose corn syrup; it’s sugar with a high punch.
- Foods containing trans-fatty acids. Listed among the ingredients as “partially hydrogenated oils”, trans-fats are dietary bad-guys that play havoc with your cholesterol. Read the label. Some foods say, ‘0 grams of trans fats’ but still list it in the ingredients.
- Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake. Some say to cut them out entirely. I’m a fan of moderation, though. I suggest you notice your brain and body’s reaction to them. I’ve found too much caffeine makes me jumpy and too much wine makes my brain fuzzy for a couple of days.
- Foods containing white flour – white breads, pastas, and grains (white rice). Adults with ADD often find they crave breads and other carbohydrates; it’s a form of self-medication. There are better ADD treatments than diving into a bread basket!
Do you want your brain to work well? Then it’s up to you to give it the fuel it needs to operate at top performance. That means you need to eat healthy foods – an ADD-friendly diet that supports your brain.
The Last Word In ADD Success
It didn’t take long to see the silliness in buying healthy, organic food for the dog while feeding the household humans foods packed with chemicals and sugars.
Along with eating healthier, I’ve found shopping at a small health food market is very ADD-friendly. Well worth the few extra dollars we spend on food each week.
At our co-op, a committee reads the labels to make sure all the foods they sell are healthy before being allowed on the shelves! I’m automatically avoiding artificial colors, food additives, sugars, trans-fats and most simple carbohydrates!
Since the Co-op is smaller than regular grocery stores, I’m not overwhelmed by crowds and choices. Also, shopping is more fun since I often run into people I know.
Plus, they have a great selection of good vitamins and supplements so I don’t have to remember to go to another store to stock up on those important, ADD treating, Omega-3s.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a great health food store minutes from their house, but perhaps you have a close equivalent. It’s worth checking out. It’s another step to making it easier to eat an ADD-friendly diet.
To Your ADD Success,
P.S. When you work with an ADD coach you learn all kinds of new habits like how to eat well and support your brain. What are you waiting for? I’ve got two opening for new clients starting next month. Learn more about how to manage adult ADD at my website.