(Health Secrets) More than 5.4 million children in America age 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with a behavior disorder commonly known as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder). This statistic comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among this group, roughly 2.7 million take one or more of a variety of pharmaceutical-based psychostimulants to mask the symptoms of their disorder. These mind-altering drugs include Ritalin (methylphenidate), Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride), and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.)
Although these drugs are typically marketed as an easy way to mellow kids out from overactivity and impulsive behaviors while focusing their inattentiveness, each has life altering side effects which are often glossed over as inconsequential or even nonexistent. Such side effects include: loss of appetite, sleeping problems, drastic mood swings, stunted growth, brain shrinkage, and loss of personality. Many parents have reported that their once creative and outgoing children become robots upon taking ADHD drugs, with some even developing odd tics and other neurological misfirings.
Boys represent the majority of children diagnosed with ADHD, which suggests that the “disorder” might just be the excess energy that comes naturally with being a developing young man.
So what is a parent to do? If you are getting calls from the school about your child’s behavior, there are some simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can implement to tame this behavior naturally without the use of drugs.
How to beat ADHD without prescription drugs
(1) Cut out the refined sugar, artificial colors, processed flours, and chemical preservatives. Most of the snack foods that parents and school staff members bestow on children from a very young age are loaded with additives what have been linked to hyperactivity and the inability to focus.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), for instance, which is found in virtually all conventional soda pop beverages, has been shown to spike blood sugar levels and alter normal metabolism. A study out of the U.K. also found that artificial food colorings and pesticides are both linked to ADHD in children.
“Nutritional issues may play a huge role in ADHD,” wrote Daniel Burton in a paper for the Ohlone Herbal Center. “After genetics, diet may be the second most important factor. Nutritional deficiencies and excesses, as well as food sensitivities can have a huge impact on ADHD symptoms.”
(2) Replace high-sugar junk foods with higher-protein, nutrient-dense superfoods. Children with characteristic ADHD symptoms are often severely lacking in proper nutrition, which means it is essential to first reform their diets before taking any other drastic measures. According to Burton, high-glycemic, high-carbohydrate diets, which many American children today typically eat, are directly responsible for the epidemic of ADHD we are witnessing today.
Instead of feeding your children processed snack foods throughout the day, teach them instead to enjoy eating whole foods like raw almonds and almond butter for instance, and fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Organic, grass-fed meats are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which directly feed the brain and balance neurological function, while nuts and seeds provide lasting energy and nutritional support. And even if they prefer not to eat them, teach your children to eat leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli anyway, as these superfoods are packed with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that directly combat behavioral problems.
Be sure to read the section of Burton’s paper entitled Nutrition, as it explains more fully how deficiencies in complex proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins all play a role in ADHD. (First link below)
Another factor involved in ADHD is food allergies. Modern, hybridized wheat varieties; genetically modified organisms (GMOs); lactose and casein in processed milk products; petroleum-based food additives; and soy ingredients all lurk throughout the food supply, oftentimes in food items that you would least expect. Having your children tested for food allergies, and actively avoiding those foods for which they test positive, will be essential in keeping ADHD under control.
(3) Put away the video and computer games and spend time with your kids outside. Once you have already addressed the potential nutritional and environmental triggers, a promising next step in the fight against ADHD will be to encourage your children to engage in more physical activities. Today, too many children are allowed to act like zombies in front of the television set or in front of the computer screen for hours one end, which has been linked in numerous studies to behavior problems.
Teach your children to enjoy physical activities like playing outdoors and riding bicycles, and raise them in an environment where they are able to spend lots of quality time with their friends, siblings, and other family members in an engaging way.
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