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Hyperactivity - Fact File


What is hyperactivity?
Hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are becoming more and more common. Orthodox treatment includes prescription medications such as the psychostimulant Ritalin which may well be effective at suppressing symptoms but does not address the underlying physiological issues. With symptoms such as violent mood swings, disruptive and destructive behavior, temper tantrums, poor concentration and learning difficulties hyperactivity and ADD can leave parents feeling exhausted and totally overwhelmed. However, relief may be found through nutrition. Research has shown that children suffering from ADD or hyperactivity often experience symptoms as a direct result of exposure to specific foods and synthetic substances. Common food intolerances along with yellow food colorings, salicylates, sugar, caffeine and heavy metal toxicity are all known to cause a reaction. Common deficiencies such as low zinc status and low dietary omega-3 essential fats have been noted for both these conditions. A nutrition consultant can help to identify which of these factors trigger symptoms for your child and help you take steps to eliminate these from your childs diet or lifestyle. You may be surprised at how quickly behavior changes can be noticed by simply sticking to a few nutritional guidelines.

Avoid all refined carbohydrates, sweets and confectionary which disrupt blood sugar balance giving energy bursts and dips, poor concentration, mood swings and hyperactivity. Avoid saturated fats and hydrogenated oils found in margarines, butter, hard cheese and ice cream which increase inflammation and interfere with brain function. Limit protein which is high in saturated fat such as red meat and cheese. Avoid shark, swordfish, marlin and tuna which are high in the heavy metal, mercury. Avoid caffeine, high sugar soft drinks, undiluted fruit juices and carbonated drinks. For some children small amounts of caffeine a day is enough to trigger hyperactivity and disturbed sleep. Colourings are the main additives of concern and yellow/orange food dyes called tartrazine and sunset yellow (E102, E110) are the main culprits. Avoid brightly coloured orange/yellow processed foods, drinks and confectionary. Salicylates are naturally occurring aspirin like substances which children suffering from hyperactivity have been found to be sensitive to. Foods containing salicylates include — oranges, almonds, apples, apricots, tomatoes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, tangerines, peaches, plums, peppers, prunes, raisins include wheat, dairy, yeast, citrus fruits and nuts



FOOD INTOLERANCES In some children food intolerances are at the root of their hyperactivity. Common culprits

For more information about this or other conditions, to book a consultation or to speak to Ian Marber, The Food Doctor, please call our Holland Park Clinic on:

FREE PHONE 0800 093 5877 © The Food Doctor 2003

Foods to Increase
Increase consumption of whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, rye) pulses, beans, fruits and vegetables to provide a nutrient dense source of calories. The omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, pilchards, herrings, sardines) are vital for brain function, concentration, memory, mood and IQ. Increase intake of high quality protein from chicken, game, fish and vegetable sources including lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds and tofu. Increase intake of both soluble and insoluble fibre from oats, oat bran, flax seeds, lentils, pulses, prunes, figs, fruits and vegetables. Fibre is important for blood sugar balance. Sufficient water should be drunk to prevent dehydration, the amount needed depends on age and level of activity, ensure water is always available — for variety, drink diluted fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas.


Lifestyle Recommendations
Stress and emotional trauma can be a factor for behavioural problems. Identify any areas of stress and consider seeking the advice of a counsellor. Removing all sources of toxicity is of major importance. Use bio-degradable cleaning products, filter your child s water or use bottled water, avoid using tinned or processed foods. Heavy metals such as lead (traffic fumes), mercury (fillings), cadmium (cigarette smoke) and aluminium (cooking pans & deodorants) also affect brain function and have been associated with hyperactivity. Heavy metal toxicity can be assessed using a Hair Mineral Analysis test (available for your Nutrition Consultant). Avoid food additives such as colourings, preservatives, flavour enhancers and pesticide residues by eating organic, fresh, home cooked food.


Nutrient Rich Foods for Hyperactivity
Required for detoxification. Foods include - mushrooms, mung beans, kidney beans, green lentils, brown lentils, hummus, black eye beans, shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab, sardines, mackerel, broccoli, kidney, trout, herrings, lemon sole, place, cod, brown rice, onions, tomatoes, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and cashews Vital for brain function and calm mood. Foods include - Quorn, peas, tofu, chickpeas, prawns, squid, chicken, turkey, lean red meat, white fish, oatcakes, oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat noodles, pine nuts, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, crab, lobster and sardines Essential for blood sugar balance, energy production and brain function. Foods include brown rice, lentils, pulses, oats, rye, bananas, nuts and seeds Low levels of iron can result in poor delivery of oxygen to the brain. Foods include — lean red meat, spinach, parsley, kale, spinach, spring greens, lentils, sardines, shrimp, oatcakes, rye bread, quinoa, watercress, sesame seeds and cashews



More information can be found in the ‘Food Doctor Babies and Children’ book by Vicki Edgson available from The Food Doctor website For more information about this or other conditions, to book a consultation or to speak to Ian Marber, The Food Doctor, please call our Holland Park Clinic on:

FREE PHONE 0800 093 5877 © The Food Doctor 2003

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