The dietary choices individuals make can play a role in the management of ADHD symptoms. The consumption of some substances can aggravate the symptoms of ADHD. So, while planning an ADHD diet, one should be clear about the foods that can be included and the ones that they must avoid. Here are some food items that people with ADHD must exclude from their diet:
- Candy: Certain studies have found that the symptoms of ADHD, like hyperactivity, worsen after consuming sugar and artificial colors on a regular basis. So, a combination of high sugar levels and artificial colors, like that found in candy, is the last thing that should be included in an ADHD diet.
- High-fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and sodas: The intake of these food items is shown to lead to the symptoms of easy distractibility and hyperactivity. According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics in 2013, 5-year olds who had consumed soda were more likely to display the symptoms of social withdrawal and aggression.
- Frozen and treated food substances: A lot of frozen substances have artificial colors which might lead to problems if included in an ADHD diet. Several food items are also treated with organophosphates, a pesticide. It has been shown through various studies that the consumption of such substances is associated with neurobehavioral deficits in children and adversely affects attention spans. So, people with ADHD should carefully go through the ingredients list of all frozen foods and chemically treated food items before buying them.
- Certain types of fish: Some fish are a great source of healthy fats and should be added to ADHD diets. However, there are certain kinds that come with trace amounts of mercury which can aggravate the symptoms of ADHD. The fish that should not be included in an ADHD diet are swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel.
- Food sensitivities: Children with ADHD may face aggravated symptoms after the consumption of certain food items that they are sensitive to. Some foods that commonly cause reactions are grapes, beans, corn, eggs, wheat, soy, chocolate, oranges, tomatoes, and wheat. Plan an elimination diet with a dietician’s help to learn which foods aggravate symptoms and which ones are safe to have.