Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by following symptoms: distraction, fidgeting, forgetfulness, impulsiveness, and procrastination. The most common treatments for treating ADHD are the prescription drugs Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Dexedrine. All of these drugs are stimulants and very addicting. The common side-effects from these drugs include constipation, headaches, irritability, sleep problems, stomach pain, and weight loss. These drugs can affect growth in children. In addition, drugs may stop the symptoms but they do solve the problem or eliminate the underlying issue.
Some health professionals question whether ADHD is a real condition or concocted by the pharmaceutical industry to make money. As a trained naturopath, I believe in treating symptoms regardless of what someone named it. So, if have been diagnosed with ADHD or you have not been diagnosed with ADHD but have some or all of the following symptoms---easily distracted, forgetful, impulsive, hyperactive, and/or feel your brain is never calm enough to concentrate---then the following recommendations for treating these symptoms naturally will help you.
- Eliminate stimulating foods such as artificial sweeteners and additives (dyes), preservatives, and caffeine. Reduce sugar intake to a maximum of 20 grams (5 teaspoons) per day.
- Eliminate all soft drinks. They contain caffeine and either high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or aspartame. These ingredients are highly stimulating. In addition HFCS has been found to cause weight gain and destroy the gut resulting in poorer digestion of nutrients. Aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys brain neurons and triggers or worsens neurological conditions such as ADHD, seizures, dementia, MS, essential tremor, and Parkinson's. Drink water as a primary source of hydration. Add 100% fruit juice in a ratio of 1 to 3 (fruit juice to water) if plain water is not palatable. Herbal teas (chamomile, hops, and valerian) that calm are also great beverages. Drink these in the evening before bed for better sleep.
- Eliminate high-gluten foods such as modern wheat (aka frankenwheat) and food products that contain frankenwheat such as breads, cereals (such as puffed wheat and cream of wheat), and wheat pastas. Try cooking with low-gluten flours such as spelt wheat, oat, rice, and quinoa.
- Healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to calm the brains of those with ADHD. Instead, eat healthier fats such as virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and organic butter. In addition, eat wild-caught salmon which contains omega-3 fatty acids a couple of times per week or supplement with omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg of purified fish oil or 2,000 mg of flaxseed oil). Flaxseed oil has been shown to absorb more poorly than fish oil so twice as much is needed. Avoid trans fats found in processed foods.