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  • February 2012
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Nutrifit’s Jackie Keller Speaks on ADHD

Posted by Levine Communications Office on February 14, 2012

Diet and Exercise May Help ADHD


February 12, 2012

By: KELSEY CRUZ, getfitgetlife editor

We’ve all been there: snapped at by a lab partner for losing focus in class and almost lighting her hair on fire. Just last week, your boss ostracized you for being inattentive in your morning meeting. We all lose concentration sometimes, and it can easily affect how quickly and efficiently we get work done. But what if you suffered from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and struggled daily with laxity and impulsivity? Is drug therapy your only solution to calmer nerves? Recent studies suggest diet and exercise may be worth trying

According to a recent study in Pediatrics, maintaining a healthy diet, minimizing items known to predispose to ADHD (sugary, fatty foods), and adding omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, may help combat ADHD symptoms and offer less reliance on medications.

Adopt and maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan.

“No matter what, good nutrition and an exercise prescription are an important adjunct to any kind of illness,” says Dr. Daisy Merey, family physician, certified nutritional consultant, and a diplomat of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.

In a recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, a study found that a structured physical activity program may help to improve the muscular capacities, motor skills, and behavioral patterns of children who suffer from ADHD.

“There are two general areas where healthier choices seem most effective in dealing with ADHD,” says Dr. Wayne Anderson, medical director for Take Shape for Life Wellness Program. “The first is adding components to your diet that enhance healthy brain activity and body function or removing certain items that may potentially create dysfunction. The second area linked to improving ADHD is adding activity.”

Minimize fatty food intake

In the article, the authors – J. Gordon Millichap, MD, and Michelle M. Yee, CPNP, from Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago – point to another study published last year that links ADHD in adolescents to a “Western-style” dietary pattern, including fast food, red meat, potato chips, and soft drinks.

“Simply adding more greens and minimizing unhealthy fats, processed foods and sugars can only help the overall health status of everyone,” says Jakie Keller, board certified health and wellness coach and founder of NutriFit.“We always recommend lean protein, lots of vegetables, salad, fruit and a restriction of carbohydrates especially sugar and starches which are inflammatory,” says Dr. Merey.

Add omega-3s to your diet

Bring on the salmon and walnuts! Also found in flaxseed oil and sardines, Keller says omega-3s are favorable fatty acid chains that help reduce the inflammatory response and get blood flowing through the body and brain, increasing clarity of thought and focus.

“The more research is done, the more useful we find omega-3 fatty acids are in helping many health conditions – brain health, heart health, and anti-inflammatory health,” says Dr. Kathi Kemper, pediatrician and professor of public health sciences and pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Talk to your doctor

The study references a healthy diet and exercise plan as something that should be used when pharmacotherapy has proven unsatisfactory or unacceptable. Talk to your doctor or therapist first and see what she suggests.

“In treating AHDD, I would start with nutritional intervention and exercise and then add medications if necessary,” says Anderson. “Even if a medication is needed, it can probably be used at a lower dose, which will improve its long term safety in both children and adults.”

Dr. Kemper agrees: “For some, simply adopting a healthy diet, avoiding artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives, is enough. For others, there is a need for more exercise, more sleep, and better stress management.

”Original article at: http://getfitgetlife.org/2012/02/12/diet-and-exercise-may-help-adhd/

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