Just as some foods make the brain “foggy,” other foods can enhance and optimize brain performance. Here are some things to eat to feed the brain…
FOR BREAKFAST SERVE HIGH PROTEIN, LOW CARBOHYDRATE MEALS.
Breakfast cereals are mostly carbohydrate and sugar, which is a bad combination for the ADHD brain. And many children are allergic to milk. So the classic American breakfast of cereal with milk is a bad idea. Instead, serve 60% to 70% Protein and 30% to 40% Carbohydrates for Breakfast. Eggs, breakfast meats, and some toast would be fine. Other meals of the day could be 50% Protein and 50% Carbohydrate.
Essential Fatty Acids or Omega Oils are Valuable in the Treatment of ADHD
About 70% of the tissues of the human brain are made of Fats and Fatty Acids. They are considered the building blocks of the brain, brain functioning, and brain health from conception to the latest stages of life. They are linked to IQ, nerve development, eye development and health, memory and attention, skin and hair health, the myelination of nerve cells, and more.
For example, the myelin sheath that covers neurons is about 70% fatty acids and about 30% protein. Oleic Acid is the most common Fatty Acid in myelin. Oleic Acid is very common in our diets. Milk, Olive Oils, and Nuts are all high in Oleic Acid.
Fatty Acids such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid) are essential to the health and development of babies. During pregnancy Fatty Acids are taken from the mother, so the mother should be taking supplements and eating foods rich in Fatty Acids. As infants these Fatty Acids are supplied through breast milk and some formulas. A developing baby must have a diet rich in FAs for optimum brain and eye development.
“Essential Fatty Acids” are so named because they are not made by the human body and must be obtained through diet or supplements. The two Essential Fatty Acids are the omega 3 fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic acid, and the omega 6 fatty acid Linoleic acid. Alpha-Linolenic acid and Linoleic acid can undergo changes that would form longer chain fatty acids such as DGLA, AA, and DHA.
“Omega 3 fatty acids” are concentrated in the brain, and Omega 3 deficiencies may be associated with learning problems, depression, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, and other neurological problems throughout life. Omega 6 fatty acids are found in most cells throughout the body. Omega 6 fatty acids are essential for growth, reproduction, immune function, brain development, healthy skin and hair, and more.
There are other Fatty Acids which are perhaps “essential” too. They are gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6), lauric acid (saturated fatty acid), and palmitoleic acid (monosaturated fatty acid).
Docosahexaenoic Acid, or DHA, is an Omega 3 fatty acid that is very important throughout our lives for optimal synaptic functioning. DHA is the structural fatty acid in the gray matter human brain and in the human eye. There has been a lot of research on DHA and infant brain development in the past twenty years which have shown the critical importance of DHA to fetal development and newborns.
A correlation exists between low levels of DHA and problems associated with aging in adults. Dementia, depression, memory problems, and vision problems are all associated with DHA deficiencies in adults. One study found that the brains of Alzheimer’s patients showed lower levels of DHA and AA than the brains of healthy geriatric patients. Foods such as fish, meats, and eggs are the main adult sources of DHA. Supplements are helpful too.
Some researchers think that DHA and other Fatty Acid deficiencies play a role in ADHD.