ADD/ADHD: 7 Natural Ways You Can Reduce Symptoms
As we all know, there seems to currently be a continuing epidemic of ADD and ADHD in Ottawa and across Canada, with more and more adults, children and youth being diagnosed with the disorder.
The symptoms of attention-deficit, impulsiveness and restlessness can severely impact everyday life, and the ability to focus and to achieve whether at work or school.
The medical profession has few answers beyond medication, so I would like to offer some simple ways in which you can help to reduce or even resolve your symptoms.
1. Increase exercise
It has been shown that incorporating exercise into your everyday routine can significantly reduce symptoms.
I remember reading many years ago about Daly Thompson. He was an Olympic medalist in the decathlon in the 1980s. He was unable to focus at school and was doing badly academically until he was sent to a special school for ‘Troubled Children”.
The school was unique in that it provided several hours of Phys-ed classes every afternoon. His grades improved dramatically, and he commented that it was such a relief to be able to MOVE instead of being tied to a desk all day.
2. Address Food Allergies and Intolerances
As a natural allergist, I see many people, especially children, who’s ADD / ADHD is being triggered, at least in part, by what they are eating.
The common allergens I see are wheat, milk, nightshade vegetables (in particular tomato, bell peppers, potato), food additives/colours. It is possible, however, to react to any food that you are eating.
I had one notable case where the mother complained that her two-year-old was sleeping only a couple of hours a night, was a nightmare to handle during the day, being aggressive and confrontational. She was exhausted. Following removal of milk products and potatoes from his diet, he started sleeping 9 hours per night and became much better behaved during the day.
3. Nutrition and Real Food
“We are what we eat” – nothing could be truer.
Changing the diet to include more fresh vegetables, fewer sugars (processed grains, fruits, potato, candies, etc.) and little-processed foods can have a significant impact on ADD / ADHD symptoms. It also helps to ensure proper nutrition.
Supplementing the diet with Vit D, Vit B12 (fish, poultry, meat, eggs) and B6 (beef, poultry, organ meats), Omega 3 oils (fish/chia/flax/hemp, etc.), and zinc (nuts, beans, red meat, seafood) can also be beneficial.
It has also been shown to be helpful to eat more protein, especially at breakfast and lunch.
Talk to your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist about the right nutrition for you or your child.
This is about being able to be present in the here and now.
Even small children can benefit from mindfulness. It can be as simple as asking them to describe what they hear, smell or see at that moment, or what the food they are eating tastes/feels/smells/looks like, allowing them to connect.
For older youngsters and adults yoga and developing a meditation practice can be helpful.
5. Disconnecting and Unplugging
We all spend far too much time in front of screens, whether for work, school, or gaming and staying in touch with our friends and family.
In addition to the addictive nature of these devices and the fact that it removes us from reality, every electronic device emits its frequency, whether the TV, computer screen, laptop, gaming console, etc. Even after they are turned off, they continue to emit for upwards of an hour. Reducing screen time has been shown to assist with ADD / ADHD symptoms so try to build in other activities and games that do not require screen time.
6. Chemicals and Toxins
When choosing household cleaning products, body products, dental products, shampoos, etc. select those which are natural and unscented.
Consider seeking advice from your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor regarding the possibility of heavy metal toxicity such as mercury and lead and the ways that this can be resolved.
7. Get out in Nature
Getting regular outdoor time has been shown to be extremely beneficial to those with ADD / ADHD.
I hope these suggestions assist you in controlling your ADD / ADD symptoms.
If you have any questions or simply want to know more, please contact me today.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I would like to hear from you
Does your child have ADHD?
What have you tried to help their symptoms?
Let us know in the comments below.