Is your child always on the go, unable to sit still, and seems to have an abundance of energy? Do you wonder if diet and nutrition play a role in their hyperactivity? You’re not alone. Many parents have concerns about the impact of what their children eat on their behaviour. In this blog, we’ll explore the relationship between hyperactivity syndrome in children and their diet and nutrition.
Why are some children hyperactive?
Hyperactivity syndrome in children is often characterised by excessive physical movement, impulsive behaviour, and difficulty focusing. While there can be various factors contributing to hyperactivity, diet and nutrition are increasingly recognized as playing a significant role. What your child eats can affect their energy levels, attention span, and overall behaviour.
The Diet and Hyperactivity syndrome Connection
1. Identifying Triggers:
Many parents have observed a link between their child’s consumption of sugary foods and drinks and episodes of hyperactivity. While the relationship between sugar and hyperactivity is not entirely straightforward, it’s essential to pay attention to your child’s behaviour after consuming sugary treats. Some children may be more sensitive to sugar, leading to energy spikes and crashes, which can manifest as hyperactivity. Similarly, artificial additives, such as food colorings and preservatives, have been associated with increased hyperactivity syndrome in some children.
2. Reducing Sugar and Additives:
To investigate this connection, consider reducing the intake of sugary snacks and drinks. Read food labels to identify and avoid products with artificial additives like artificial colours (e.g., Red 40, Yellow 5) and preservatives. Instead, opt for whole foods and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Keep a diary to track changes in your child’s behaviour as you make these dietary adjustments.
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3. Balanced Meals:
Hyperactivity syndrome can also be influenced by fluctuations in blood sugar levels. When your child consumes a diet high in simple carbohydrates, like sugary cereals or candy, blood sugar levels can spike and then crash, leading to mood swings and restlessness. To maintain more stable energy levels throughout the day, ensure your child’s meals are balanced with carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Whole grains, lean proteins, and foods rich in fibre can help provide a steady release of energy.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats known for their positive impact on cognitive function. They are found in fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Research suggests that omega-3s can improve concentration and reduce hyperactivity in some children. Consider incorporating these foods into your child’s diet to provide brain-boosting benefits.
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Dehydration can lead to irritability, restlessness, and decreased concentration in children. It’s vital to ensure your child stays well-hydrated throughout the day by drinking water. Limit sugary beverages like soda and excessive fruit juices, as they can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes.
6. Food Sensitivities:
Some children may have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods, and this can manifest as hyperactivity. Two common culprits are gluten and dairy. If you suspect your child may have food sensitivities, consider working with a healthcare professional to explore elimination diets and find suitable alternatives. Identifying and eliminating trigger foods can lead to a significant reduction in hyperactivity symptoms.
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7. Avoiding Fast Food and Processed Snacks:
Fast food and highly processed snacks are often loaded with unhealthy fats, sugars, and artificial additives. These can lead to mood swings and increased hyperactivity. Limit your child’s consumption of these types of foods and focus on providing whole, unprocessed options.
Also check : Disadvantages of Junk Foods for kids
Foods to manage hyperactivity syndrome and ADHD symptoms in kids:
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and macadamia nuts all have unique qualities to offer. Macadamias support healthy brain function, while pistachio nut oils store fatty acids and fight inflammation. Almonds aid with memory improvement. For children who don’t consume meat, nuts are a fantastic source of several minerals including omega-3 fatty acids. It has been shown that omega-3 fatty acids can control ADHD.
Apart from nuts, seeds like sunflower, melon and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration and memory. One of the easiest to feed brain boosting foods for kids.
Jowar, which is rich in iron, can also lessen ADHD symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, and tantrums. Iron has the ability to relax the nervous system, which helps the child with ADHD syndrome to become more at ease.
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Gotu kola has strong anti-oxidant qualities and enhances cognition, memory, and mental performance. It gently relaxes the nervous system while also encouraging alertness—the best possible state of consciousness for any form of mental focus, study, or cognition.
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Spearmint extract has higher quantities of phenolic compounds that enhance working memory, spatial working memory and increase attention, concentration, and brain function by promoting the formation and protection of new brain cells.
ST. JOHN’S WORT
St John’s wort contains chemical messengers like Hyperforin and Adhyperforin. These chemicals has antidepressant properties. The extracts of this herb enhance mood, focus, and also reduce anxiety and insomnia. According to several studies, adolescents with ADHD may benefit from taking St. John’s wort every day for four weeks. It is also used to treat problems including anxiety, exhaustion, appetite loss, and difficulty sleeping that might occasionally accompany depression.
The chemicals in the passion flower provide a calming and relaxing effect. Early research indicates that taking passion flower orally for eight weeks may help some ADHD symptoms in kids aged 6 to 13 years.
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The herb valerian has relaxation properties. Additionally, it contains some anticonvulsant qualities that might be advantageous for kids who are prone to seizure activity. Children with ADHD, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, behavioural regulation, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities can benefit from valerian for improved attention and sleep.
The most well-known essential oil for soothing is lavender. Lavender essential oil can be helpful for reducing anxiety and making you feel more at ease, which may help with ADHD symptoms. The aroma of lavender oil can calm and soothe the nervous system. Its relaxing qualities can benefit autistic children by enhancing their sleep quality and assisting their bodies in combating emotional stress.
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Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric is known to improve spatial memory, long-time retrieval and visual memory as per a study. It helps in managing anxiety, depression etc which is commonly seen in people with ADHD disorder.
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Ginkgo biloba is a promising herbal supplement that may alter the neural system in a disorder similar to ADHD. It enhances the memory and cognitive performance. According to a study, Children who took a ginkgo extract daily for three to five weeks showed a decrease in the symptoms of ADHD.
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Sunflower lecithin is an excellent source of choline, a vital nutrient required for a variety of health functions. Since choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning, choline is particularly significant for maintaining good brain function.
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A research found that the exposure to the aroma of rosemary oil improved people’s performance on thinking tasks in terms of speed and accuracy.
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