Eating fruits and vegetables may help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reduce inattention issues, a new study has suggested.
Inattention is a hallmark of ADHD and creates trouble for children to focus, difficulty in remembering things and in regulating emotions.
The study showed that kids who consumed more fruits and vegetables showed less severe symptoms of inattention, said Irene Hatsu, Associate Professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University in the US.
"Eating a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, maybe one way to reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD," Hatsu said, in the paper published online in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
The team asked parents of 134 kids with ADHD symptoms to complete a detailed questionnaire about the typical foods the children ate, including portion sizes, over a 90-day period.Researchers believe that ADHD is related to low levels of some neurotransmitters in the brain -- and vitamins and minerals play a key role as cofactors in helping the body make those important neurochemicals and in overall brain function, Hatsu said.
"Everyone tends to get irritated when they're hungry and kids with ADHD are no exception. If they're not getting enough food, it could make their symptoms worse," she said.
Also, the stress of parents who are upset about not being able to provide enough food for their children can create family tension that could lead to more symptoms for children with ADHD.
"What clinicians usually do when kids with ADHD start having more severe symptoms is increase the dose of their treatment medication, if they are on one, or put them on medication," Hatsu said.
"Our studies suggest that it is worthwhile to check the children's access to food as well as the quality of their diet to see if it may be contributing to their symptom severity."