Over the past couple of decades, awareness has exploded when it comes to Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This has resulted in a dramatic increase in diagnoses — especially among children. On one level, this is positive because children in need of help are no longer being stigmatized and misunderstood. But (and you just knew there was a “but” coming) there’s a potential downside.
The prescription of medication for those diagnosed with ADHD has also skyrocketed. This is happening even though there are side effects to deal with. Also, it’s happening despite uncertainty about the long-term efficacy of such a treatment. Obviously, alternative approaches must be considered.
1. Safeguard Your Sleep
People of all ages show improvement with ADHD when their sleep is adequate and consistent. Typically, anyone with ADHD will experience:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Short sleep time, in general
Lack of sleep worsens ADHD symptoms. Therefore, a crucial step is to get to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time each morning. Over time, this rhythm will drive to be quite beneficial.
2. Get Outside
Modern humans generally spend too much time indoors. Over the past three years, this trend has expanded, and it is bad news for those struggling with ADHD. Research has found that being outside — especially around greenery:
- Enhances cognitive function
- Decreases impulsive behaviors
- Improves focus and attention
3. Make Sure Your Gut is Not Leaky
It can’t be said often enough. Healing your gut does more than calm gastrointestinal problems. In your gut is where important nutrients are absorbed and where critical neurotransmitters are manufactured. All of this adds up to better moods and sharper focus. So, if you experience signs of digestive imbalance (bloating, constipation, sugar cravings, and more), ask for help.
4. Re-Imagine How You Eat
Of course, every person is different, and this is not a venture to be taken casually. Educate yourself and consult with trusted professionals. For now, let’s explore some suggestions that can be particularly helpful for anyone with ADHD:
- Make your daily diet more focused on nutrient-dense whole foods: Whole foods facilitate healthy functioning for neurotransmitters which are heavily influential when it comes to proper focus and information processing. Modern food additives work against this need. So, seek out foods that are minimally processed at most.
- Start your day with protein: Breakfast foods, especially for children, are storehouses of additives and sugar. Choose high-protein meals to start your day instead.
- Increase your intake of antioxidants: To ward off free radicals and heavy metals, for example, your body will need plenty of antioxidants. There are plenty of whole foods to help you in this quest, e.g., dried apples, spinach, artichokes, lemon skin, carrots, dried plums, kale, dark chocolate, blueberries, and potatoes.
- Decrease your intake of “excitotoxins”: Artificial food additives like MSG, glutamate, FD&C yellow, or aspartame are considered “excitotoxins” because they overstimulate parts of your brain that are needed to regulate impulsivity, hyperactivity, and concentration.
- Be aware of nutrient deficiencies and food sensitivities: Low levels of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and magnesium can lead to the aforementioned leaky gut. As for food sensitivities, these may include allergies to eggs, dairy, or gluten. So, get tested!
Find Out More!
None of the above is meant to imply that anyone stops medication on their own. Rather, if you are prescribed drugs for ADHD, you can definitely talk to your medical team to explore other options. Therapy, for example, is a proven source of relief from ADHD symptoms. Thus, it might make sense to combine therapy with some of the suggestions highlighted above. Let’s connect and talk more about this soon.