When we found out that our son has ADHD, my wife started to search the web for supplements and foods that can alleviate symptoms. First we hit Omega-3 info, so she promptly bought some Omega-3 supplements and some fish oil. We tried before to sneak some fish oil to our kids diet, but with not much success. We also decided to switch completely to whole foods and started research about Omega-3 rich foods. So, she found out about salmon, sardines, flax oil and flax seeds. Suddenly, our meals were full of barely cooked/steamed veggies (or raw salads), lean meat and vegetable oils such as flax and olive oil. Then we discovered that we should not cook with olive oil, but add it to our salads or add it after the meal has been cooked. We also learned the difference between cold pressed virgin olive oil and how it should be used vs. olive oil for cooking. Since I was overweight and had low thyroid, coconut oil appeared to be the cooking oil of choice. We started to add flax to our morning cereals bowls and although our kids didn’t wanted to eat plain cereals at the beginning, we managed to improve the taste of oatmeal with some ground flax seeds, ground nuts and sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cocoa, cinnamon and one or 2 tablespoons of honey. Our kids breakfast before the discovery of ADHD were typically scrambled eggs, Choco processed cereals, waffles with syrup and toaster strudels. We kept the scrambled eggs, but swapped processed cereals, waffles and strudels for oatmeal or plain cornflakes. Because we thought to give it a try at gluten free diet for the whole family, our morning cereals were steel cut oatmeal or plain cornflakes with addition of ground nuts/seeds/flax and some spices and honey or yogurt. Once a week we would cook polenta for breakfast and served it with some low fat farmers cheese and Greek yogurt and our kids loved it. I was able to sneak some olive oil in polenta. We swapped wheat bread for oven baked potatoes or cooked brown rice or millet or quinoa. I would add olive oil, flax meal and a pinch of sea salt to brown rice/millet mix after its cooked and our kids loved it prepared that way. These were our first changes and we wanted to observe whether gluten free diet would help our son. Our daughter luckily didn’t had any symptoms of ADHD and she enjoyed the food change. We were not sure whether to go to casein free diet too, so we switched to organic cow and goat milk, organic yogurt and organic cottage and farmers cheese and avoided fatty processed cheddar that we were eating before. These meal changes also were good for my health, because I have felt after few weeks that I don’t crave sweets anymore and that somehow I feel better, much better. I was not losing much weight, but I felt much, much better and my low thyroid symptoms were diminishing. Then we started to research other vitamins and minerals that alleviate ADHD and found out that vitamins A, B, E, D, and K and minerals such as zinc, iron and magnesium help. My wife wanted to try to supply all these vitamins and minerals in our diet and avoid supplements if possible. So, our investigation continued for foods rich in these particular vitamins and minerals. Because of my low thyroid, I decided to eat few teaspoons of coconut oil every day and to search for a food rich in selenium. Luckily, one or two Brazil nuts has enough supply of selenium for the whole day, so we all started to take one to two Brazil nuts each day. My wife also bought some herbal supplements for our son, such as Ginko, Ginseng and Pycnogenol. Both kids also took Floradix (iron supplement) and fish oil.
Since we as the family decided to avoid refined sugars wherever we can, that meant that only sweet stuff for us would be fruits and occasionally some honey for breakfast. Sugar fuels hyperactivity and we got suggestions to avoid sugar in our diet and to boost protein intake because proteins are used by the body to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Plus, proteins can prevent surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity.
We found out that iron rich foods are buckwheat, Jerusalem artichoke, spinach, kale and all other dark leafy veggies, lentils, leeks, mushrooms, salmon, lean beef, lean pork and apples. Zinc rich foods are beans and lentils, meats, ginger and pumpkin seeds. Magnesium rich foods are buckwheat, spinach and other dark leafy greens, ginger, beans, leeks, quinoa, millet and seeds. Kale is also high in vitamin K and vitamin A. Lentils are also rich in vitamins B1, B6 and zinc. Leeks are also rich in vitamins A, B6, K and magnesium. Mushrooms are also rich in vitamins B2 and B3. Salmon is also rich in vitamins B and D, besides already mentioned Omega 3. Lean beef and pork are rich in vitamins B, iron, and zinc. Carrots are high in vitamin A, along with any orange fruits and veggies. These foods became the foundation of our family diet. If you google any of them you will see that they’re all Superfoods!!!