Tuesday, 7 April 2015

ADHD & Diet

Our brains are extremely sensitive to nutrient availability and are the most energy demanding organ in our body. In fact, our brain requires approximately 125 grams of glucose every day (a very important reason not to cut out carbs).

An astonishing 60% of our brain (dry matter) is fat. This fat comes from and is directly influenced by our diet! Our diet can change cognition, learning, behavior, sleep, focus, and memory by influencing the brain's development.

Children with diagnosed ADHD have significantly lower levels of omega 3 and omega 6 fats: arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These children (from the same study) also had a higher number of behavioral problems and higher incidences of those behavior problems, as well as temper tantrums and sleep deficits.

Note: Arachidonic acid is an Omega-6 fat. Decosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid are Omega-3 fatty acids. In the typical Canadian diet, we do not get enough omega-3 fats.

Another study also found that lower levels of AA and DHA are linked with more learning difficulties and more visual or auditory deficits.
In fact, the physical symptoms of many children with ADHD (more urination, greater thirst, dry skin) are like those of a fatty acid deficiency.

Foods for healthy brain development:* 

  • Fatty fish, seafood (eg. salmon, sardines, herring, cod liver)
  • Flax seed oil (great to hide in smoothies, salad dressings, or in cereals)
  • Ground flax seeds (go rancid quickly: best to refrigerate)
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Fish oil
  • Omega-3 enriched eggs
*It's also recommended not to restrict fat consumption from whole foods in children.
See "Dietitians of Canada" for a list of foods with omega-3 fats & the amount of omega-3s they contain.

TL;DR ADHD is a multifactorial condition that is associated with low levels of AA and DHA (omega 6 and omega 3 fats). A diet rich in omega-3 fats can help healthy brain development and may prevent ADHD.


Stevens, 1995: Essential fatty acid metabolism in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/62/4/761.full.pdf

Mazurak, V. Anti-aging Nutrients: Can the aging process be slowed? [Pdf document]


Monday, 6 April 2015

Community Nutrition: False Advertising

This video is self explanatory. We watched it in my community nutrition class: CBC Marketplace Food Fiction: Lousy Labels.
If you have some time, I highly recommend you watch it so you can be more aware of false food claims when going grocery shopping. The food ingredient list and nutrition table are much more reliable than the claims on the front of the label... 

It frustrates me that, as consumers, we must research and criticize every ingredient on the food label to determine whether a product truly is healthy. Eating right should not be this difficult! Click here for a list of 10 ingredients to avoid in your foods, by Food Matters.

Friday, 3 April 2015

30 day Yoga Challenge - Complete!

It's been a busy month! I was able to complete all 30 days of yoga (see my day 3 update here). I feel so much stronger, flexible, and overall balanced. Sometimes it was inconvenient to set aside an hour plus driving for yoga and for myself, but in the end it was always worth it.
As a bonus, that yoga place is giving anyone who successfully completed the challenge another 30 days free. Woohoo :)

And I'm happy to say that I can now hold myself in the crow position for a fair while! At the beginning of this challenge I couldn't even get myself up...

I'm currently working on my headstands.

 See how I got my legs up a bit? That's so exciting!! But I'm pretty terrified of holding my feet up right over my head so I'll need to work on trusting my body as well as strength.

The cat in the background is our beloved Silver... relaxing in the sun :)
Isn't he just adorable??