What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is extremely common in the United States, as well as the westernized world in general. 5-8 %, or 6.1 million, of children have been reported to have ADHD.
According to the Journal of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children with ADHD have higher stress levels in their body, which impacts their adrenaline and dopamine levels. These hormones induce an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, which then leads to excitement, arousal and irritability. Which leads us to the key symptoms of ADHD.
Key ADHD symptoms include:
- Trouble with impulse control
- Issues with focusing and paying attention (inattention)
- Excessive hyperactivity
Unfortunately, 60 % of children with ADHD carry it on to adulthood, which can impact their academic success, ability to get and obtain jobs, and it can have a negative impact on relationships in their life (friends, family, significant others, teachers, etc.).
The pharmaceutical industry keeps pushing ADHD medications such as Adderall, Vyvanse and many others. All of which are extremely expensive and have a lot of side affects. The pharm industry has been shown to focus more on profit rather than actually helping people (a good chunk of the time).
Lucky for you, we have done some extensive research and found ways to combat ADHD symptoms naturally, without pushing pills on your kids (no shame if you do).
Diet changes have been linked and proven to help alleviate symptoms of ADHD in children.
A diet that supports children with ADHD should include:
- High protein- Healthy sources of protein are eggs, beans, nuts, fresh meat (especially fish). Avoid processed meats and other foods.
- Complex carbs- No, not pasta and bread (so sorry to disappoint). Aim for complex carbs; fruits and vegetables are a great source!
- Omega 3 fatty acids- healthy fats are an essential part of brain growth. You can get these healthy fatty acids from fish, avocados, nuts and other natural and delicious sources.
Foods to Avoid
- Corn Syrup
- Additives- aspartame (found in “diet” foods) , MSG, Nitrates, etc.
- Processed food
- White flower
- White rice
HERBAL MEDICINE & SUPPLEMENTS
Pycnogenol Extract (French Maritime Pine Bark Extract)
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract that comes from the Maritime Pine tree, which is found in France. It has been studied vastly in the scientific world and has been shown to alleviate symptoms in those with ADHD and other attention disorders
As mentioned earlier in this article, ADHD occurs because of high levels of stress hormones in the brain. In a study found in the European Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Journal, researchers found that Pycnogenol lowered stress levels significantly. They tested stress hormones in urine of children before and after taking the supplement. Stress hormones were reduced by 26.2%.
“Pycnogenol’s ability to naturally treat symptoms of ADHD is what makes this extract exceptionally pleasing to parents who may be uneasy about medicating their children with stimulant medications, ”
Dr. Peter Rohdewald
Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Ginseng is another natural source that can help alleviate ADHD. It has been found to restore and enhance wellbeing in children as well as stimulate their brain function (which is what ADHD medications do).
A 2011 study found that children ages 6-14 years took Ginseng for 8 weeks, showed significant improvements in their ADHD symptoms.
AVENA SATIVA (GREEN OATS EXTRACT)
Green oats are just oats that have not ripened yet! The oats are processed naturally to create an extract that we can consume easily, including kids (always consult with your doctor before adding supplements into your kids’ diet).
Green Oats have been found to calm nerves as well as reduce stress and anxiety for people of all ages.
It has also been found to improve attention and boost concentration, which leads to improved academic success & test scores and improved cognitive function.
COMBINING SUPPLEMENTS WITH GENIUS DROP
There are holistic companies that combine muliple herbal supplements into one to get better results without having to buy a million different bottles of extracts and plants.
Genius Drops are a 100% natural and organic with simple ingredients (no processed crap). The drops are made Ginseng Root, Lavender Oil and other natural ingredients such as Astragalus Root, Wood Betony Herb and a few other key ingredients. They are made to taste good and easy to mix into water, milk and other foods so that your child does not even know you are giving them something new.
EXERCISE AND RELAXATION
Physical activity has been shown to have tremendous results in alleviating ADHD symptoms in kids. Living an active lifestyle helps keep the brain in shape. Exercise helps release neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Dopamine helps with clear thinking and attention. Stimulant medications that are often used to treat ADHD help release dopamine too, but exercise is free and healthier and doesn’t have any side effects.
Exercise has also been shown to:
- Improve impulse control
- Improved mood
- Increased working memory
- Increased executive function
- Determine protein levels in the brain
- Increased levels of Brain-Derived Neurotropic factor
- BDNF has been shown to increase cognitive improvement, decrease depression & anxiety and prevent memory disorders such as dementia and altimeters.
Spiderman lovers will especially love this!
Yoga and meditation can be very beneficial for kids (and adults). Yoga does not have to be spiritual; it can be used solely as a form of relaxation and mindfulness.
Teaching mindfulness to your child through yoga can help them understand their bodies more and learn how to recognize their ADHD symptoms and manage them better.
Both yoga and meditation have also been shown to increase dopamine and strengthen the prefrontal cortex of the brain (responsible for focus, planning and impulse control).
Talking to your children about their health, body and emotions can also help them learn about their ADHD symptoms and learn to manage it further on their own.
Kids need routine and consistency in order to change their behaviors. If you are implementing new strategies and lifestyle components, it is essential that you stay consistent and follow through.
Give them the supplements every day during the same part of their morning routine. Slowly add in foods and don’t overwhelm them with a bunch of new things all at once.
Make activity and playing outdoors part of your everyday schedule. According to child development specialists, children should be playing outdoors a minimum of 90 minutes a day.
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