ADD and the Mediterranean Diet

ADD and the Mediterranean Diet
In the 1990's a lot of the media buzz was about "The Mediterranean Diet." It was seen as a different way to eat and become healthier. Just what is The Mediterranean Diet? How does this diet affect Attention Deficit Disorder?

It was noticed for years that certain countries that clustered around the Mediterranean Sea had lower rates of cardiovascular disease. This phenomenon was linked to the type and quantity of the foods that were regularly consumed in these countries. An eating plan, called The Mediterranean Diet, was developed and promoted.

One of the main tenets of this diet is the consumption of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is preferred. The diet is heavily plant based. Vegetables, which includes leafy green veggies are eaten in abundance. Fruit is also central to this diet, although it is eaten more sparingly than veggies. Grains, especially whole grains, are consumed. Beans, peas, seeds, and nuts are also advocated by this diet.

What is not encouraged was food from animals. Red meat is seldom eaten, and eggs are consumed in low amounts. Processed meats, which contain large amounts of saturated fats and harmful chemicals, are strictly limited. Instead, eat fish. Choose the type that is typically low in mercury. The ones to avoid eating, more than just occasionally, include tuna, swordfish, and shark. Wild caught salmon and pollock are good choices. Early studies showed that farmed fish has been known to contain PCBs. Some people contest those early findings, but I prefer wild caught fish that are harvested in a sustainable manner. Poultry is a good choice to have on a moderate basis. Baking, roasting, or poaching without the skin make this food healthier. Fried chicken, although it is poultry, is not really on the Mediterranean Diet.

Strictly limit sweets. Replace sugar-laden desserts with fresh fruit. It might take some time for your palate to appreciate the sweetness of the fruit, especially if you regularly consume soda and candy. Adults might also want to replace dessert with a glass of red wine. Just one glass will do!

What does all of this good eating do for the person with Attention Deficit Disorder? According to a new study listed in the journal Pediatrics, children and adolescents who do not follow a Mediterranean Diet or healthy eating are at a greater risk for a diagnosis of ADHD. This was a small study of 120 children, 60 of whom had ADHD and 60 controls without the diagnosis.

The study did not show a cause and effect, but it did show that children with ADHD eat more sweets and fast food, but they also eat fewer fruits and vegetables than their undiagnosed peers. The researchers were not sure if that was a cause of the ADHD, or whether the ADHD caused the children to follow the unhealthy eating patterns to satisfy some need caused by the Attention Deficit Disorder. They also found that poor nutrition mad the symptoms worse. More study on this subject needs to be done.

There have been other studies that show healthy eating, including more omega-3 fatty acids, nutrient dense foods, with fewer sweets and processed foods, lessens the negative symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. If you don't already have a healthy eating plan, The Mediterranean Diet might be a good place to start. It is not an extreme diet, and there is a lot of information about it available on the internet. Healthy eating increases the likelihood that your brain will function at its optimum level. So, turn your creativity loose! Make a plan for yourself and your loved ones that lets everybody be at their best.


Healthy Fish Guide

Universidad de Barcelona. (2017, February 1). Mediterranean diet linked to a lower risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2017 from

Medscape-Lower Adherence to Mediterranean Diet Linked to ADHD

Here is an Amazon link with a book to get you started! If you have Kindle Unlimited, it is a freebie.

Mediterranean Diet: The Essential Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners - with Over 60 Recipes & 14 Day Diet Meal Plan

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