Calming Foods for the ADHD Mind

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the quality of a child’s diet is associated with their ability to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Healthy diets showed a significant improvement in emotional health and unhealthy diets were associated with emotional distress.

ADHD children are often more hyperactive and emotional than their peers. Implementing a healthy diet may help manage these symptoms and improve their ability to navigate and properly express their emotions.

An article from shares these tips to help your child stay calm and mindful.

  1. Balance the macronutrients and the micronutrients in your diet. We need a balanced mixture and amount of these to function and feel at our best.
  2. The key micronutrients are iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and zinc. It’s best to get these nutrients through whole foods.
  3. Before trying supplements, consult your doctor to ensure your child does actually have a nutrient deficiency, and to receive proper dosing and instructions. 
  4. Avoid processed and packaged foods. Most healthy diets have one thing in common, eating whole foods to get more nutrients and to avoid artificial ingredients.
  5. Try to avoid preservatives and artificial colorings. Studies have shown that these ingredients may contribute to ADHD symptoms.
  6. Be aware of possible food allergies. Talk to your child’s doctor about allergy tests or try an elimination diet.
  7. Maintain blood sugar levels. To avoid highs and lows in your child's blood sugar, keep your child on a regular eating schedule, focus on whole foods, and keep to a low-glycemic diet. Pair sweets with protein, fiber, or fat to slow digestion.

If you’re concerned that your child is having too many emotional ups and downs, it’s worth investigating your child’s diet.  Discuss your child’s diet with your doctor to see if there are changes you can make to help manage ADHD symptoms. Changes in the diet could go a long way to helping your child be calmer and happier.