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Mediterranean Diet and ADHD Prevention

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Mediterranean Diet and ADHD Prevention

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A strong link has been found between a Mediterranean-type diet and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To know more, read the article below.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 22, 2017
Reviewed AtMarch 13, 2024

Introduction:

Children who do not have a regular Mediterranean type of diet have a higher risk of developing (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) ADHD than those who have a common adherence to this type of diet.

Lower consumption of fruits, vegetables, and rice and a higher tendency to skip breakfast were significantly associated with the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Similarly, a diet with high amounts of sugar, candies, sweet drinks (sodas), fast food, processed food, and low consumption of fat fish was also significantly associated with this diagnosis.

The important lesson from this study is that it is not a particular food responsible for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So, for an example, just avoiding food coloring, additives, or sweet drinks will most probably have minimal impact. On the contrary, adherence to a particular diet (even if not strictly) while avoiding another type is crucial here.

What Are the Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is not only tasty and flavorful but also a sensible diet that is relatively easy to adopt. It is one of the healthiest diets known by far. If one is wondering how, the diet is supposed to help lower the levels of low-density lipids (LDL) or bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. So, disease prevention by adopting this diet is just a big plus.

That is not all. The recipes naturally include olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, and walnuts which are all rich sources of antioxidants. All of these ultimately help individuals fight cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's, dementia, and stress. This regime also helps you gradually lose weight, which is a healthy way to lose weight.

What Is Included in the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that is used as a long-term dietary option. It is much more than a diet and is a way of life that is ideally enjoyed by savoring fresh produce in a slow-paced life in the company of family and friends.

Some easy steps you can take to adopt the diet gradually.

  • Use plant-based fats like olive oil or canola oil for cooking instead of butter.

  • One can snack on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds or add them to other recipes. One can even have a juice made of fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Choose whole grain versions of bread, rice, and pasta.

  • Replace salt with herbs and spices.

  • Substitute red meat with fish and other seafood at least twice a week.

  • Make legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) part of the main course.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Consuming red wine in moderation once or twice a week. Grape juice is a good alternative if one do not drink alcohol.

  • When possible, have the meal with friends and family, preferably outdoors in a nearby park.

  • Take a stroll with the family after dinner.

  • Altogether avoid processed and fast foods, sweets, and white flour products.

What Is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder seen in childhood. It is diagnosed usually in childhood and may last till adulthood. Children with this disorder may have impulsive behavior, trouble paying attention, or be overactive. The symptoms continue to grow, causing difficulty at school, at home, or with friends. A child with this disorder might:

  • Daydreaming a lot.

  • Forget things.

  • Fidget.

  • Talk endlessly.

  • Can hardly resist temptation.

  • Faces difficulties getting along with others.

What Causes ADHD?

Although the exact cause and risk elements of ADHD are unknown, recent studies have indicated a significant hereditary component. Recent research links ADHD to hereditary causes.

Other potential causes and risk factors outside genetics include:

  • Brain damage.

  • Exposure to environmental hazards as a child or during pregnancy, such as lead.

  • Use of smoke and alcohol while pregnant.

  • Early birth.

  • Low birth weight.

It is a common misconception that parenting, excessive television viewing, sugar intake, or social and environmental stressors like family discord or poverty are the causes of ADHD. However, research contradicts this theory. Naturally, a variety of variables, like these, could worsen symptoms, particularly in some individuals. However, there is insufficient data to draw a determination that these constitute the primary causes of ADHD.

What Are the Types of ADHD?

There are three different types of ADHD. The type depends upon the dominance of particular symptoms in an individual.

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: The individuals find it hard to pay attention, can easily be distracted, forget things of daily routines, and find it hard to accomplish tasks and follow instructions.

  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person talks a lot and fidgets or squirms. They find it hard to sit for a long time while doing homework or having meals, may feel restless and have trouble with impulse control. They find it hard to wait for their turn or follow directions. Their impulsivity might lead to more accidents and injuries than others.

  • Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types can be presented in a person.

Since the symptoms change over time, the presentation may also vary.

What Role Does the Mediterranean Diet Have In ADHD Prevention?

Many studies and research have found that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet (rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, fish, and grains) decreases children's risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Comparing children with higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet to those with low commitment are more likely to get a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Furthermore, an even higher prevalence has been observed among those who consumed more candies, sugary drinks, and a low amount of fish. While researchers could not conclude that the Mediterranean diet protects against attention deficit hypertensive disorders, they reported that poor dietary habits might be linked to this disorder. Unhealthy eating habits could play a role in the development of psychiatric disorders. These nutritional patterns can lead to deficiencies of essential elements from the diet, such as zinc, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, etc., that are required for physical and cognitive growth. This plays an essential role in the etiology of attention deficit hypertensive disorders.

Conclusion:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder seen in childhood that may last till adulthood. Children with this disorder may have impulsive behavior, trouble paying attention, or be overactive. These symptoms tend to grow as they age. The Mediterranean diet is ideally enjoyed by savoring fresh produce in a slow-paced life in the company of family and friends. It is a plant-based diet that is used as a long-term dietary option. It includes using plant-based fats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Many studies and research have found that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet decreases children's risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Lower consumption of fruits, vegetables, and rice and a higher tendency to skip breakfast were significantly associated with the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Thus shifting to a Mediterranean diet might be found helpful in preventing ADHD

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Dr. Laurent Hiffler
Dr. Laurent Hiffler

Pediatrics

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benefits of fruitshigh fibre dietbalanced diet
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