Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ADHD and Essential Fatty Acids

Is your child hyperactive? Unable to focus? Having trouble in school? If so, your child may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency in essential fatty acids. Children need these important substances for brain health and development. Without them, children become irritable, frustrated, and unable to focus. Long-term effects of these deficiencies can mean a lifetime of health disorders and degenerative diseases.

Many behavioral problems such as these are typically treated with drugs. But drugs such as Ritalin only mask the symptoms and don't get to the heart of the problem. They also deplete the body of nutrients. In honor of National School Lunch-in Week, we urge you to pay attention to what your child is eating at home and go to school with your child and see what they are eating each and every day. Are the foods your child eating healthy, fresh, and free of chemicals? If not, get involved locally and start asking your legislative body and school board important questions, and make movements for change to get healthy food for your children.

Be especially aware of ingredients in your child's food - don't just assume by looking at the food that it's healthy. Read labels on packages in your child's food. You can do this by asking to tour the warehouse where your child's food is stored. Be assured that if you tour a warehouse full of food for school children, you are in for an eye-opening experience.

Children should receive good, natural fats and proteins each day, as well as a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. If they are not receiving these basic building blocks of nutrition, that can spell trouble for your child's development, growth, and success in school and life.

Every day, make sure your child eats some of the following:
  • Healthy, organic proteins from grass-fed meats and dairy products (raw is a bonus). Grass-fed meats and dairy contain high levels of protein, lower levels of carbohydrates, and Omega 3 essential fatty acids necessary for brain development and maintenance than the grain-fed varieties.
  • Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
  • Raw nuts
  • Moderate amounts of grains - make sure your grains are truly whole (not made from flour) such as Ezekiel sprouted grain products and/or soaked grains for cereals. Anything that has been ground up into flour, combined with other ingredients, and is baked (such as many breads, bagels, tortillas, crackers, cold cereals, and pastas) is going to have a higher glycemic index, contain the wrong amounts of Omega 6s and 9s, is processed, and will contribute to health issues such as ADHD, depression, and other related disorders. Many of these products also contain cheaper, unhealthy vegetable oils which also contain too many Omega 6s and 9s.
  • Healthy fats from oils such as fish oil from deep-sea sources, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and unrefined, virgin coconut oil. All of these oils are best when eaten raw (such as on salads and vegetables), but grapeseed and coconut oils are the best oils for cooking as they have a higher smoke point and can tolerate heat better without breaking down.
  • Limit processed foods, drinks, and refined sugars. All of these products contribute to degenerative health diseases such as ADHD, mood disorders, depression, fatigue, irritability, lack of ability to concentrate and study, and over time can escalate to other problems such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's Disease.
For more information on how deficiencies in essential fatty acids can contribute to ADHD and related disorders, visit Healing With Nutrition.

To become involved in changing what your child eats at school, join the revolution - Two Angry Moms. Check out what the folks in Boise, Idaho are doing - we are hosting a Two Angry Moms film event on October 15th in our fair city.

No comments: