ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder) is the single most common learning and behavioral problem in children. But the issue doesn’t end there: It is also one of the most common problems in adults, leading to job failures, relationship breakups, loneliness, drug abuse, and a tremendous sense of underachievement.
ADD impacts all aspects of life. It affects many areas of the brain, primarily the prefrontal cortex (the brain’s controller of concentration, attention span, judgment, organization, planning, and impulse control), the anterior cingulated gyrus (the brain’s gear shifter), the temporal lobes (where the brain houses memory and experience), the basal ganglia (which produce the neurotransmitter dopamine that drives the prefrontal cortex) and the deep limbic system (the brain’s mood control center).
Did you know there are six types of ADD? That’s right; six types-not the two currently believed. Understanding the nuanced complexities of ADD allows us to treat everyone more effectively while helping people who would otherwise be ignored. With effective treatment, brain function can dramatically improve and give sufferers more access to their own abilities.
Type 1: Classic ADD-sufferers are inattentive, distractible, disorganized hyperactive, restless, and impulsive.
Type 2: Inattentive ADD-sufferers are inattentive, sluggish, slow-moving, have low motivation, and are often described as space cadets, daydreamers, or couch potatoes.
Type 3: Over focused ADD-sufferers have trouble shifting attention; frequently get stuck in loops of negative thoughts or behaviors; are obsessive; worry excessively; are inflexible; frequently behave oppositional and argumentative.
Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD-sufferers are inattentive, irritable, and aggressive; have dark thoughts, mood instability, and are severely impulsive.
Type 5: Limbic ADD-sufferers are inattentive, experience chronic low-grade depression, are negative (e.g., “glass half empty syndrome”), have low energy, and have frequent feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Type 6: “Ring of Fire” ADD-sufferers are inattentive, extremely distractible, angry, irritable, overly sensitive to the environment, hyper verbal, extremely oppositional, and experience cyclic moodiness.
Knowing which ADD type you or your child has is critical to establishing an effective treatment program which includes an individualized combination of strategies geared toward enhancing the brain function of each ADD type and overcoming the ADD traits that sabotage chances for success in all aspects of living-in relationships, at work or school, and internally.
Studies show that a high-protein, low sugar, no-additive diet, combined with ADD-friendly supplements, can improve ADD symptoms. Dietary changes can result in significant improvements in symptoms of hyperactivity, concentration, impulsivity, and even oppositional behavior. Many people are eager to try foods and supplements to manage ADD symptoms, but often don’t know where to start.
Here are dietary changes that deliver the most symptom relief:
Foods rich in protein-lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products-may have beneficial effects on ADD symptoms. Protein-rich foods are used by the brain to make neurotransmitters-chemicals that help brain cells talk with each other. Eating protein for breakfast will help a child build brain-awakening neurotransmitters. Protein also prevents surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity.
The single most important thing is to decrease the amount of sugar, in the ADD diet. Eating simple processed carbohydrates, like white bread, waffles, or white rice, are almost the same as feeding you or your child sugar. They can make you irritable, stressed, and unfocused. Serve breakfasts and lunches high in protein, complex carbs, and fiber instead to increase concentration and better behavior.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, can improve hyperactivity, impulsivity, and concentration. Research suggests that kids with ADD have lower blood levels of omega-3 than kids without the condition.
Many children with ADD are sensitive to certain foods in the diet, making their symptoms worse. The most common culprits are dairy, wheat, and soy. If there are two foods that you suspect are exacerbating your child’s ADD symptoms, eliminate one for two or three weeks. Observe your child’s symptoms during that time to see if they improve.
An allergy to gluten-a protein found in wheat, barley and rye-can worsen ADD symptoms, in addition to causing a whole other set of problems. Many of the ADD patients improve on gluten-free diets.
It is evident that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can have a profound impact on various aspects of life, including relationships, families, school, work, and self-esteem. The challenges faced by individuals with ADD can be overwhelming, but it is crucial to remember that there are effective strategies and tools available to mitigate these difficulties.
One significant factor that influences ADD symptoms is nutrition. Research has shown a clear connection between diet and the management of ADD symptoms. Certain foods, such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, have been found to positively impact cognitive function and attention span. Additionally, avoiding artificial additives, excessive sugar, and processed foods can help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity.
In this regard, the Little Lunches meal planning app emerges as a valuable resource for parents of children with ADD. This app offers a comprehensive platform that assists parents in creating nutritious and balanced meal plans tailored to their child's specific needs. By incorporating ingredients known to support cognitive function and reduce ADD symptoms, parents can provide their children with the nourishment necessary for optimal brain health.
Furthermore, the Little Lunches app goes beyond meal planning, providing an array of features that simplify the process for parents. From customizable recipes and grocery lists to nutritional information and cooking tips, the app ensures that parents have all the tools at their disposal to make informed decisions and prepare meals that support their child's well-being.
By utilizing the Little Lunches app, parents can establish a routine that promotes healthy eating habits and enhances their child's overall quality of life. As proper nutrition positively influences ADD symptoms, children may experience improved focus, concentration, and impulse control. Consequently, this can lead to enhanced performance at school, greater harmonious relationships within the family, and increased self-esteem.
In conclusion, while ADD presents its challenges, understanding the impact of the condition on various aspects of life allows individuals and their families to make informed choices. By incorporating nutrition as a vital component of managing ADD symptoms, parents can provide their children with the support they need to thrive. The Little Lunches meal planning app serves as an invaluable tool in this process, empowering parents with the means to create nutritious and delicious meals tailored to their child's specific requirements. Through a holistic approach that combines proper nutrition, support, and understanding, individuals with ADD can lead fulfilling lives and reach their full potential.
By: Monica M. Facusse, Psychologist/Psychotherapist & Health Coach, for Little Lunches
2 years ago