The role of diet in treating ADHD

ADHD can be treated in various ways, including physiotherapy and hard medication. While diet alone cannot possibly cure or even significantly alter the behaviour of a child with ADHD, some minor changes have been proven to reduce the hyperactivity and positively influence sleep patterns and sensory processing. What are the worst and the best foods for children with ADHD?

The foes – junk food makes ADHD worse

Studies conducted by British scientists have proven that food additives such as artificial food colours make the hyperactivity symptoms much more pronounced in children suffering from ADHD. Notice that we’re not even talking about sugar yet. All the colourful soda drinks, rainbow cereals, candy, and other unnaturally coloured foods make children with ADHD much harder to manage.

Sugar is another culprit, albeit a better known one. If you aren’t convinced by the common knowledge that sugar causes hyperactivity, feed your child a packet of chocolate cookies and observe. You won’t need another proof after that.

This is actually a great piece of advice in general, when it comes to diet. Observe. You may notice the strangest things, for example that your child falls asleep faster after a supper of mackerel. And that is because…

Fatty acids come to the rescue

Cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are food for the brain. They can also help alleviate sensory processing problems and other behavioural issues. Studies conducted on small children show that children who receive adequate amounts of DHA in their diets (found in fatty fish and algae, can also be supplemented) sleep better and longer. This applies to children with ADHD, too.

Don’t just focus on physiotherapy and medication. Help your child eat better to get better.


  1. Anne

    But my son hates fish. Should I supplement these DHA acids?

  2. Robert

    I found that after cleansing my daughter’s and our diet from all sweets and processed foods, our lives have become much easier and we cope better with problems, ADHD included. It’s not just the children who should go on a healthy diet, it’s the parents, too!


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