Nutrition and ADHD

Abstract

The brain is a complex entity of the human body, and through research, connections can be made to its correlation with nutrition. In children diagnosed with the ADHD disorder, there has been an observed decrease in overall brain component volume, which affects attention and motor skills primarily. MRI scans done on ADHD patients concluded that impairment of such regions as the anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, lateral prefrontal cortex, left precuneus and thalamus have a direct and negative impact on cognition and connections between the left and right hemispheres. Internal connections, specifically those involved in enzymatic pathways of metabolic processes, have been linked to the intake of appropriate nutrients. These pathways affect the energy of neural pathways, which affect cognitive ability. The brain’s cognitive skill and ability to make decisions is greatly affected by the ADHD disorder, among other important brain functions and components.

Nutrition plays an important role in academic success, cognition, and overall well-being. Important vitamins such as vitamin B, zinc, and iron substantially affect the ability to learn and as a result, IQ scores. Proper nutrition has such profound effects that it can alleviate the symptoms of medical disorders, such as ADHD. As studies have shown, the role of nutrition with respect to intelligence and intelligence testing is crucial to optimal cognitive performance and academic achievement.

Food plays a significant role in the over-all mental health and wellness of those with ADHD and other mental disorders. It is important to understand the way we eat, and what our bodies need. Fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6 and other vitamins and minerals have positive effects on those with ADHD and other mental illnesses. The ways people eat in today’s society, as well as the affects of fast food on ADHD are outlined. The consumptions of fatty acids and their effects are examined, as well as the difference between EPA and DHA found in various types of foods.

Maintaining nutritious foods in a child’s lifestyle consistently promotes mental health in order for them to strive in society. Feeding your child foods with a variety of micronutrients and minerals induces better learning capability in a classroom setting. With the use of a diet plan, a parent is able to monitor the food intake while maintaining a balanced routine. Lastly, the use of Canada’s Food Guide contributes to revealing the four food groups while explaining how many servings of each should be in a daily meal. It becomes important that in order for a child with ADHD disorder to stray from symptoms, the knowledge and guidelines of nutritious food should be present to achieve that goal.

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Terms and Definitions

The Brain

Anterior Cingulate Cortex
The frontal part of the cingulate cortex surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum
Basal Ganglia
Situated at the base of the forebrain; Contains multiple subcortical nuclei
Cerebellum
Rear part of the brain; plays a part in motor control
Cerebral Cortex
Outer layer of the front of the brain
Cognition
Thought; Ability to acquire knowledge
Enzymatic Substrates
The component that reacts with an enzyme to be broken down in metabolic reactions
Hemispheres
Left and right portions of the brain; Communicate through white matter situated between the left and right side of the brain
Neural Pathways
Connects one part of the nervous system with another; A component of the execution of emotions
Posterior Cingulate cortex
The rear part of the cingulate cortex surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum //
Parietal-Temporal Area
Located in the cerebral cortex of the human brain
Precuneus
Part of the superior parietal lobe forward of the occipital lobe (cuneus)
Prefrontal Cortex
The cerebral cortex which covers the front part of the frontal lobe
Psychostimulants
Psychoactive drugs that induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical functions or both
Somatic Cells
All cells that make up the human body, excluding the reproductive cells (sperm and egg cells)
Superior Parietal Lobes
One of the four major lobes of the cerebral cortex in the brain; Positioned above the occipital lobe
Superior Temporal Lobes
One of the four major lobes of the cerebral cortex in the brain; Located beneath the lateral fissure
Synaptic Plasticity
The ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity
Thalamus
A large, dual lobed mass of grey matter buried under the cerebral cortex; Involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor functions//

Intelligence

Crystallized intelligence
Knowledge that comes from prior learning and past experiences, based upon facts and experiences.
Fluid intelligence
Being able to think and reason abstractly and solve problems
Flynn Effect
Studied rise of crystallized and fluid IQ scores over time, from 1930 to now.
Intelligence quotient (IQ)
Score derived from standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.
Malnutrition
Condition that results from eating a diet that lacks or has too many nutrients.
Micronutrient
Chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of a living organism.

Food and Diet

Additives
Additional and unnatural substances that are added to food. For example: preservatives, sugar, salt, chemicals, food colouring etc.
EPA and DHA
EPA and DHA stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which are commonly found in cold-water fish.
Epidemiological
The science that studies patterns, epidemics, as well as their causes and affects within a specific population, typically concerning health.
Fatty Acids
A carboxylic acid consisting of a hydrocarbon chain and a terminal carboxyl group, typically found in fats and oils- these are found in the foods noted above.
Hyperactivity
A higher than normal level of activity, in this case in terms of behavior.
Ritalin
A drug that is typically prescribed to patients who suffer from ADD or ADHD. Ritalin helps the patient maintain focus, and regulates his or her mental processes.

Mental Health

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
It is a problem that occurs in children and adults, who can’t focus, control or maintain behavior, excessive motor activity, or present a combination of these aspects. In order for ADHD to be diagnosed, the problems each individual experiences must be abnormal and out of range for the persons age and development.
Diet
Controlled intake of food
Metabolize
To bring about or subject to metabolism
Nutrition
The science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food

The Brain

Brain Development in Early Childhood

Brain Development in ADHD:
Friedman, L. A., Rapoport, J. L. (2015). Brain development in ADHD. Current Opinions
in Neurobiology, 30(1), 106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.11.007
Thinning of the Cerebral Cortex During Development:
Klein, R. G. (2011). Thinning of the cerebral cortex during development: A
dimension of ADHD. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(2), 111-113. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10111679

The brain of a child with ADHD has been shown to have a significantly lower overall volume and the cerebral cortex was observed to have evident thinning (Klein, 2011, pg 112). Other areas affected by the ADHD disorder primarily are the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and regions associated with the parietal-temporal area (Friedman & Rapoport, 2015, pg 107). It has been found in a study conducted by Shaw (et al.) that the more severe the case of ADHD in children, the slower the thinning of the cerebral cortex. In a similar study by Ducharme (et al.), data were collected that demonstrated a thinning of the “right lateral and left medial prefrontal cortex (Friedman & Rapoport, 2015, pg 108)”, which in adolescence was not as significant a decrease in volume (if indeed, there was any noticeable decrease at all). In the same study, among others, it has been shown that symptoms of ADHD include increases in impulsive activity and motor movement (see Fig. 1). The abnormality that causes these effects is in fact developmental (Klein, 2011, pg 113). Other symptoms also include impaired attention, control of cognition, and effects on memory capacity (Friedman & Rapoport, 2015, pg 107). ADHD symptoms have, in many cases, reappeared in later years of life. Despite the data collected by the Shaw (et al.) experiment, however, more studies need to be conducted in order to distinguish between normal developmental brain growth and abnormal developmental brain growth (which would thus be classified as the ADHD disorder). Psychostimulants that have been introduced to patients, both pediatric and adolescent, have been shown to regulate the brain functions otherwise impaired by the disorder (Friedman & Rapoport, 2015, pg 111).

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Fig. 1: Shown here is an image of a brain scan taken from a child diagnosed with ADHD. The activity of the control area of the brain is significantly lower when compared to normal patients (shown on the left), which explains the symptom of impulsive action common for individuals with the ADHD disorder.

Brain Components and Brain Functions

Extreme Learning Machine-Based Classification of ADHD Using Brain Structural MRI Data:
Peng, X., Lin, P., Zhang, T., Wang, J. (2013). Extreme learning machine-based
classification of ADHD using brain structural MRI data. PLoS One, 8(11), 2-7. doi: /10.1371/journal.pone.0079476

Changes of Brain Structure and Function in ADHD Children:

Qiu, M., Ye, Z., Li, Q., Liu, G., Liu, J. (2011). Changes of brain structure and function in ADHD children. Brain Topography, 24(3-4), 243-252. doi: /10.1007/s10548

The brain matter observed in ADHD patients - pediatric, adolescent, and adult - have shown impaired regions specifically located in posterior and anterior brain regions (including superior temporal lobes and parietal lobes) (Peng, Lin, Zhang & Wang, 2013, pg 2). ELM, or extreme learning machine, calculations and methods as were used in studies on ADHD patients has been proven to be one of the most accurate ways of diagnosing patients with ADHD. Many studies have used MRI scanning technology to observe brain components in both control patients and ADHD persons; their results found that impairment of such regions as the anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, lateral prefrontal cortex, left precuneus and thalamus and others were prominent in patients with the ADHD disorder (see Fig. 2). Thinning of the brain matter and improper folding were among the physiological effects of the brain components observed in the scans of ADHD patients. (Qiu, Ye, Li, & Liu, 2011, pg 243). Experimentation conducted by Tian et al. found that brain activity in the primary sensory regions (and other closely related sensory regions) of the brain were in a fairly consistent state of rest. (Qiu, Ye, Li, & Liu, 2011, pg 245). After other studies were conducted on both ADHD individuals and control or normal persons, it was proven that there was a significant decrease in the volume of white matter in the brain. This decrease would have a detrimental affect with respect to the communication between the left and right hemispheres, which in turn, affects cognition and attention. In addition, the overall volume of other brain components in ADHD patients was noticeably smaller and not as adequately thick (as was the case in control individuals). Also, functional connectivity for all ADHD patients that were tested showed to be significantly decreased when compared to normal individuals.

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Fig. 2: Shown here is an image of the different components of the brain.

Foods That Affect Brain Components and Functions

Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutients on Brain Function:
Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: The effects of nutrients on brain function.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-578. doi:10.1038/nrn2421

Exercise, Nutrition, and the Brain:

Meeusen, R. (2014). Exercise, nutrition and the brain. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 47. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0150-5

Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to strengthen cognitive processes in the human brain, while saturated fats weaken cognitive abilities as a result of the negative impact they have on molecular and enzymatic substrates. These
substrates are crucial for the healthy developing brain. (Gómez-Pinilla, 2008, pg 568). In the modern lifestyle, the consumption of saturated fats has increased while the incorporation of omega-3 fatty acids has decreased. This statistic has lead to the conclusion that cognitive ability and emotion (primarily sadness and its more severe form, depression) have been negatively impacted. The modern brain, through the process of evolution, has evolved the way it has as a result of signals related to food intake and enzymatic activity in somatic cells. Cognitive ability has increased over a long period of time, a correlation with the foods eaten as well as the signals they provide for metabolism within the body during the process of digestion. Evolution has also lead to adaptation that allowed for survival. In relation to food and food intake, those food sources that were poisonous were avoided as a result of memory, which affected cognitive processing through signaling mechanisms (Gómez-Pinilla, 2008, pg 570). Over time, the brain mass relative to the body mass increased when compared with ancestral species (see Fig. 3). Synaptic plasticity is directly affected by the energy that exists in neural pathways. The energy is provided by food intake, and cognition is directly correlated with synaptic plasticity. Omega-3 fatty acids also have an effect on synaptic plasticity, and in turn, cognitive ability. (Gómez-Pinilla, 2008, pg 573). Several nutrients, such as iron, vitamin D and B, and flavonoids promote stronger cognition and suppress memory loss and in some cases, reduce the severity of seizures. Especially in combination with an active lifestyle, the positive effects of these nutrients can be more noticeable (both in cognitive ability and physiological aspects) (Gómez-Pinilla, 2008, pg 574). Antioxidants have also been shown to improve cognition if incorporated in one’s regular diet in adequate amounts. The active lifestyle of young children specifically, or in many cases the lack thereof, is directly correlated to cognitive ability and academic achievement. In addition, an unhealthy diet that involves high-calorie foods in particular, directly affects neural pathway functions and in turn, cognitive ability. A study was conducted on young children that demonstrated that those who did not eat breakfast did not perform as well academically compared to those children that had eaten a morning meal. This research has lead to the conclusion that breakfast, and food in general, has a direct relation to neural function and cognitive ability (Meeusen, 2014, pg 47).

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Fig. 3: Shown here is the evolution of the brain from ancestral species. The brain to body ratio has increased drastically over time, as well as cognitive ability.

Intelligence

IQ Testing

Maternal and Child Undernutrition: And Urgent Opportunity:

Horton, R. (2008) Maternal and child undernutrition: An urgent opportunity, 371(9608), 177-274.

The Effects of Iodine on Intelligence in Children: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Conducted in China:

Qian M; Wang D; Watkins WE et al. (2005). The effects of iodine on intelligence in children: A meta-analysis of studies conducted in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1(1), 186-274.

The Flynn Effect: A Meta-Analysis:

Trahan, L., Stuebing, K. K., Hiscock, M. K., & Fletcher, J. M. (2014). The Flynn Effect: A Meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. doi: /10.1037/a0037173

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The Flynn effect is the studied rise of fluid and crystallized IQ scores over time, from the year 1930 to the present. A possible explanation for this rise is improved nutrition. In the past, nutritional deficiencies may have limited optimal body and organ function. Because of the ameliorated current understanding of the human body, we now have the resources available to study malnutrition and its concerns. As stated in The Lancet, “The consequences of malnutrition can be irreversible and may include poor cognitive development, educability, and future economic productivity (Horton, 2008, pg 214).” The lack of certain vitamins (zinc, iron, vitamin B) in childhood leads to a low IQ, which can cause antisocial and aggressive behavior. These IQ gains are gradual and take effect over decades. It is also well known that micronutrient deficiencies limit the development of intelligence; one study performed by a university in China has shown that an iodine deficiency causes a fall, in average, of 12 IQ points. This shows that biology not only indicates our intelligence, but so do our nutritional choices during developmental years.

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Foods That Affect Cognitive Performance

Successful Treatment of Bipolar Disorder II and ADHD with a Micronutrient Formula: A Case Study:

Rucklidge, J. J., & Harrison, R. (2010). Successful treatment of bipolar disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: a case study, CNS spectrums. 1(1), 231-237.

One’s intelligence may be hindered or helped by their nutritional choices, and children who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and their parents, know this very well. Recent studies have shown that certain nutritional supplements have helped the symptoms of hyperactivity, impaired focus and impulse control. Other problems were relieved as well, reduced anxiety, stress and an overall improved quality of life were noticed. The supplement given was a broad-spectrum formula called EMPowerplus; it contains 36 micronutrients, 14 vitamins, 16 minerals and three crucial amino acids. The longer the patient was on the supplement, the greater the effect. This leads us to believe that proper nutrition is critical in optimal cognitive performance, and it even alleviates symptoms of a medical disorder. A diet rich in dairy, (vitamin A) legumes and green leafy vegetables, (vitamin B) citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage (vitamins C and D) olives, whole grains (vitamin E) iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium are steps to a balanced diet for optimal cognitive performance.

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Food and Diet

Food and ADHD

Fatty acids in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and ADHD: Can Nutrition Help?:

Richardson, A. J. (2002). Fatty acids in dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD: Can nutrition help? Food Behaviour Research. 1(1), 1-10. doi: /10.1016/j.plefa.2003.12.020

When discussing mental health in general, food plays an extremely important role in our lives and has a tremendous affect on our well-being. Lack of food and nutrients for the body can lead to malnourishment, extreme fatigue, and illness and in more severe cases, death. This is why it is important to ensure that our bodies are supplied with the energy and supplements that it needs to properly function. However, improper nutrition does not only affect our physical health, but also our mental health. Lack of nutrients (or an intake of certain foods) can actually promote serious mental illnesses like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and disorders like depression, anxiety, and even Schizophrenia. The most evident link between nutrition and mental illness is understood through the examination of foods that contribute or help prohibit the symptoms of ADHD. Many modern health practitioners have been changing the diets of ADHD patients in order to lessen the severity of the symptoms, and promote healthier lifestyles for those with the disorder. In an article produced by Mental Health Today and working with the Mental Health Foundation clinical research on the topic was collected, and although further research is still required, the results are quite convincing that a link between ADHD and our diets does in fact exist. According to the article ADHD is prevalent in around 4% of the population, and it is commonly found in children and adolescents (Ryrie, Cornah, Van, 2006, pg. 24). Usually medication such a Ritalin is prescribed to patients, but due to the fact that these medications may have negative affects on our bodies in the long run other alternatives to the problem are being discovered. The most common and helpful of the solutions that don’t involve the use of Ritalin is substituted with dietary changes. Diets that contained plenty of fatty acids and minerals are believed by researchers to actually lower the symptoms of ADHD, especially in children. Lack of iron, magnesium, and zinc has also been noted to contribute to the severity of the symptoms. Studies show that there is covariance between the general intakes of fish (that are high in fatty acids and omega- 3).

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Epidemiological research was conducted on a number of populations. Generally, the populations with a higher intake of fish were found to have lower levels of mental illness. Those who maintain a western diet tend to consume foods with higher levels of preservatives, and according to the study it seems that the more processed food a population intakes, the more likely mental illness among those in the population will exist. This is due to the fact that processed foods often contain additives like food colouring, artificial flavouring, and preservatives, a lot of the time these nutrients cannot be found in the food. It was suggested that the western diet possesses high amounts of omega- 6, and lower amounts of omega- 3(Ryrie, Cornah, Van, 2006, pg. 24). In terms of ADHD, these fatty acids are extremely important and should be present in the patients diet because they help promote cognitive ability, the ability to focus, and prevent memory loss. ADHD patients typically experience inattentiveness, hyperactivity, carelessness, difficulty completing tasks, and forgetfulness.

Foods That Contain Fatty Acids

1. Walnuts
2. Flaxseed & flaxseed oils.
3. Fish & fish oils:

  • Anchovy
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Oyster
  • Herring
  • Sardine
  • Sablefish
  • Smelt
  • Sea bass
  • Swordfish

4. Butter nuts
5. Ready- to-eat cereals.
6. Basil
7. Oregano
8. Grape leaves
9. Spinach
10. Mustard
11. Alfalfa seeds
12. Cauliflower
13. Vegetable oils
14. Arugula
15. Beans
16. Eggs

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Effects of Nutrition

Food, Mood, and Mental Health:

Ryrie, I., Cornah, D., & Van, D. W.(2006). Food, mood and mental health. Mental Health Today,1(1), 23-26.

The effects of consuming foods such as these can lessen the symptoms of mental illness. A balanced diet is always encouraged in order to ensure optimal health and wellness. Nutrition plays a significant role in our short- term and long-term mental health, and can help those with ADHD manage these issues more efficiently by fueling the mind, and providing it with the nutrients it needs to develop, function, and focus. The foods noted above (but mainly the fish& fish oils) contain two types of fatty acids from omega- 3: EPA and DHA. DHA is essential to the development of children’s brains, where as EPA aids with mental processing, focus, and even neural signals from cell to cell (Richardson, 2002, pg.7).

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Mental Health: ADHD and Nutrition

Importance of a Nutritious Diet

The Remarkable Role of Nutrition In Learning and Behaviour:

Dani J., Burrill C., Demmig‐Adams, B. (2005). The remarkable role of nutrition in learning and behaviour. Nutrition & Food Science, 35(4), 258 - 263. doi: /10.1108/00346650510605658.

Why is it important to feed children these nutritious foods?

When it comes to the importance of feeding nutritional foods to a younger age group, we can anticipate that every child is sensitive to one or more food components that helps contribute to their hyperactive behavior. It becomes evident that with a deficiency in micronutrients such as essential fatty acids, a deprivation of sleep, learning capability and tantrums can be caused by the lack of nutritious food in a child. In order to improve behavior in a child with a hyperactivity disorder, it becomes crucial to incorporate a vast amount of vitamins and minerals.
Protein intake in an individual has been known to affect a child’s learning ability as well as cognition in a setting such as school. Children who are given a protein caloric drink or nutritional meal achieved the ability of growing in the learning environment, in order to achieve greater performance results. The protein intake that is transmitted through the electrical pulses to the brain allows a child to gain a bigger memory intake, which leads to recalling knowledge that has led to achieving higher IQ results than children who did not obtain higher protein supplements.
The importance of iodine that is present in seafood, kelp or dairy products is crucial in an individual’s body because it helps convert the food intake into energy, and helps maintain a metabolized body. With a child that is present in a learning environment, it is important for them to have constant motivation in order for them to strive and improve their cognitive ability. The intake of iodine rich foods is shown to lead to a child’s abstract reasoning, verbal fluency, and task performance. Due to the body’s increased metabolism, it motivates a child through the energy received through iodine nutritious foods.
With present knowledge, breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides the energy needed for an individual to perform to their best potential. Components of breakfast such as carbohydrates, fruits and iron are important in order to maintain a balanced meal that provides nutritious energy. Studies that were done in the Boston Public School System showed that children who were hungry due to no consumption of breakfast, presented emotional behavior and an increase in anxiety and aggression. As breakfast comes available to students whose families have a low income, components such as social performance, attendance and increased grades improve due to the intake of a balanced meal, that helps fuel overall performance throughout the day.

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Diet Plan for ADHD Patients

The Diet Factor in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:

Millichap Gordon J., Yee M. (2012) The diet factor in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics, 129(2), 330-335. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2199.

The Autism & ADHD Diet:

Silberberg B. (2009). The Autism & ADHD Diet, 1(1), 3-38.

Barrie Silberberg, the author of “The Autism and ADHD Diet” speaks about her struggle with mental disorders she was diagnosed with, and later how she gained knowledge of “complete meals”. In order for a child with an ADHD disorder to learn and grow, it becomes crucial that their daily diet consists of highly nutritious vitamins such as zinc, iron and vitamin C in order to provide better behavior, which for hyperactive children is better mental health.

A child with a hyperactivity disorder should stray from artificial sweeteners, hormones, chemicals and preservatives because those unhealthy components have a great impact on the internal structure of the body even on individuals with no mental health diagnoses. Dyes and preservatives are present in the frosting of cakes; gum and hard candy that help cover the fats and oils in order to give an appealing look to the food product itself. The factor of doctors prescribing daily medication for a child with ADHD becomes a negative component as well because it is a simple fix which disregards the factor of toxins invading the body. A change in the food intake of a child can lead to preventing imbalance in their body as well as reducing the intake of medication, by substituting with nutritious foods.
Through the article written by J Gordon Millichap, he reveals the importance of “The Western Dietery” pattern that does not associate with ADHD and the diet that relates to the diagnosis of the disorder. The diet itself is chosen by individuals who live in a developed society who choose to obtain the intake of high fat foods, that is present in sugary desserts, processed meat and high-sugary drinks. The developed economical factor allowed more people to be diagnosed with ADHD because they were exposed to foods that were easily available. Factors such as poor family functioning and emotional distress led to the craving of fat-rich food, that initiates hyperactivity behaviour because their body is sensitive to those food components.
Millichap also exposes the importance of “The Healthy Diet” plan that is not related to ADHD diagnoses because of the abundance of vitamins and minerals found through nutritious foods. The plan itself consists of vegetables, fish, fruit legumes and whole grain foods. He mentions that, “Diet is one
Environmental etiology of ADHD that is amenable to modification” because the belief he maintains is that with the modification of a better diet, an individual can improve their hyperactivity symptoms by removing the foods that induce it. Many children become accustomed to routine while growing up and through a healthy diet, it becomes important since they become acquired to consistent healthy food exposure, through a maintained schedule.

The diet of a child with ADHD should consist of daily meals that maintain fiber, folate and omega three fatty acids that help fight the negative symptoms. A balanced meal in the morning consistent of carbohydrates, fruit and fiber, snacking in order to avoid over indulgent, and a balanced dinner with protein and vegetables helps a child maintain complete meals. They become exposed to feeling healthier and become resistant to the temptation of high fat foods. Parents play a big factor because they influence their child’s choices by indulging in them themselves. When a parent promotes a healthy diet, the child becomes motivated through their actions. It leads to achieving higher performance results, better cognition and learning ability through maintaining a healthy diet.

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The Four Food Groups

Canada's Food Guide:

Canada Health. (2007). Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, 1(1), 1-6.

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Canada's Food Guide is a guide that has been illustrated to guide individuals by laying out the amount of servings of food needed each day. The guide itself consists of four food groups that divide into vegetables and fruit, grains, milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives. With the use of these food groups contributes to maintaining daily vitamin intake and promote the overall health. The guide itself helps show what nutrients and minerals are accustomed to each food as well as how much the daily intake should be. These omissions help contribute to the overall to a child with ADHD because it limits the foods high in calories and fat, that trigger the abnormal behavior for that child.

When a child is growing up, the guide helps them overcome barriers in order to achieve better mental health to induce better cognition and reduce symptoms such as no concentration. With the foods described, it is able to reveal that a child should consistently be snacking throughout the day because of the small portions they eat. They have small appetites and need calories for growth and developement. A child with ADHD is able to maintain a routine by consistent snacking, maintain learning ability by eating high nutritious foods and learning about them and also expand memory ability by remembering what foods they need every day. Parents play a crucial role in inducing Canada's Food Guide because they become the role model and help establish the similar guidelines the guide provides.

References

Canada Health. (2007). Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, 1(1), 1-6.

Dani J., Burrill C., Demmig‐Adams, B. (2005). The remarkable role of nutrition in learning and behaviour. Nutrition & Food Science, 35(4), 258 - 263. doi: /10.1108/00346650510605658.

Friedman, L. A., Rapoport, J. L. (2015). Brain development in ADHD. Current Opinions in Neurobiology, 30(1), 106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.11.007

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: The effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-578. doi:10.1038/nrn2421

Horton, R. (2008) Maternal and child undernutrition: An urgent opportunity. The Lancet, 371(9608), 177-274.

Klein, R. G. (2011). Thinning of the cerebral cortex during development: A dimension of ADHD. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(2), 111-113. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10111679

Meeusen, R. (2014). Exercise, nutrition and the brain. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 47. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0150-5

Millichap G. J., Yee M. (2012). The diet factor in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics, 129(2), 330-335. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2199.

Peng, X., Lin, P., Zhang, T., Wang, J. (2013). Extreme learning machine-based classification of ADHD using brain structural MRI data. PLoS One, 8(11), 2-7. doi: /10.1371/journal.pone.0079476

Qiu, M., Ye, Z., Li, Q., Liu, G., Liu, J. (2011). Changes of brain structure and function in ADHD children. Brain Topography, 24(3-4), 243-252. doi: /10.1007/s10548

Richardson, A. J. (2002). Fatty acids in dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD: Can nutrition help? Food Behaviour Research, 1(1), 1-10. doi: /10.1016/j.plefa.2003.12.020

Rucklidge, J. J., Harrison, R. (2010). Successful treatment of bipolar disorder II and ADHD with a micronutrient formula: A case study. CNS spectrums, 1(1), 231-237.

Ryrie, I., Cornah, D., Van, D. W. (2006). Food, mood and mental health. Mental Health Today, 1(1), 23-26.

Silberberg B. (2009). The Autism & ADHD Diet, 1(1), 3-38.

Trahan, L., Stuebing, K. K., Hiscock, M. K., Fletcher, J. M. (2014). The Flynn Effect: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. doi: /10.1037/a0037173

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