Body Wisdom

Balancing ADHD with Mother Nature

ADHD is one of the most prevalent chronic mental health conditions affecting school-aged children these days. It is considered the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. Both children and their caregivers go through hardships to manage this condition. Is there a way out? Does Mother Nature have an answer? Read on to know more.

 

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Though it is called a disorder, it is more of an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters and hormones in the body.

There is no single cause for ADHD. It may be attributed to either heredity, trauma to the brain or exposure to toxic substances, alcohol and smoking during pregnancy or premature birth and side effect of medications.

Making holistic lifestyle changes and using behavioural therapies can create a huge impact on the overall health of the child. It is important to know that kids with ADHD are just as smart as those without ADHD and this disorder has nothing to do with their IQ.

Symptoms

The child has extremely high energy levels and is always on “the go”. They have difficulty focussing their attention onto anything, play or study or any instructions given to them. They may be fidgety, distracted and may lose their things easily, forget their assignments or make frequent errors. They may be impulsive and aggressive in their behaviour. They may talk nonstop, be impatient or even have trouble controlling their emotions.

Why is it important to manage ADHD behaviour

Children with ADHD may have a hard time in school. Since it is difficult for them to focus their attention, they may not learn everything they are taught. They may not know how to organise things, share things, take turns, manage their emotions and may thus have trouble maintaining friendships.

Management of ADHD

We are aware that our brain is constantly working. It requires fuel. This fuel is supplied from the food we consume. If we supply our body with unrefined, unprocessed food, which includes a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables then we get all the necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants required to restore the perfect balance in our body. Regular consumption of balanced food and a return to a nature synced lifestyle helps in improving the attention span and behaviour pattern.

Introduce these changes slowly and make them a part of your child’s daily habits.

  1. Removal of all processed and packed foods. All processed and packed food generally have food additives, artificial colours, flavour enhancers, preservatives etc. added to it. Research shows that these artificial chemicals disturb with the body’s balance and result in increased hyperactivity.

  2. Sugar is also known to cause interference with neurotransmitters responsible for keeping moods stable. This often leads to anxiety in children. It is therefore important that all kinds of sweets, jams, jellies, candies, lollies to be replaced with natural sugar like dates, apricots, figs and raisins or unrefined jaggery.

  3. All oily and fried foods to be removed from their diets. All fried foods are rich in trans fats. These are unhealthy for the body and disrupt the production of hormones. It is therefore important to replace the unhealthy fats with healthy omega-3 fats present in nuts & seeds such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and green leafy vegetables.

  4. All dairy, gluten and animal foods to be eliminated as these cause inflammation in the body and may aggravate the symptoms of ADHD. Animal foods are also full of chemicals fed to animals and they disturb the hormones in the child’s body.

  5. All refined and polished grains to be replaced with whole grains. Whole grains are an important source of vitamins and refining the grains removes the B- vitamins and other important nutrients.

  6. Provide healthier school snacks like fruits, raw vegetables, roasted peanuts or other homemade snacks. Homemade snacks are always a better option than any of the packet snacks available in the market since we know the ingredients of the snack.

  7. Doing yoga and breathing exercises surely help to create a harmony between body, mind and soul. It would also help the child concentrate better.

  8. Exposure and playing in nature and sunshine to be encouraged. Examples could be playing barefoot on grass, tending to a garden, outside play, walking in the sunlight etc. These activities help ground the child, reduce inflammations, soothe the nervous system and balance the cycles of digestion, sleep and other activities happening in the body. Mother nature thus helps the child improve concentration, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

  9. Use of plastic in the form of water-bottles, tiffins or any other plastic materials to be removed. Plastic contains harmful chemicals which are hormonal disruptors.

  10. Children should be encouraged to reduce screen time. Kids often engage in gaming activities or watch too many videos. This leads to distractions which affect their eating, sleeping patterns and social interactions. All this affect their behaviour.

Do these changes sound overwhelming? Too much change for the child and too much for you to do? Please remember the age-old saying – slow and steady wins the race! You can also take help from Wellcure’s Nature-Nurtures Program where the entire focus is on simplifying this journey for you.

Tips for Parents

Parents are the primary caregivers of the child and their approach to this situation has a great bearing on the child’s behaviour.

  1. Stay Positive. As a parent maintain a positive attitude towards your child. Remain calm, this would help you connect with the child and also maintain a focus. Avoid using negative language when in conversation with your child.

  2. Take care of yourself. It is important that you also take care of your own health. Eat right, sleep and exercise are extremely important. Only when you are healthy can you take care of someone else.

  3. Believe in your child. Make a list of all the positive and unique qualities of your child. The other changes which you desire will follow. Trust that your child will learn and change.

  4. Follow a routine. It is important to establish and follow a routine for all daily activities. Try doing this in the form of some fun for the child. To help you achieve this maybe you can use clocks, timers or charts.

  5. Appreciate. Remember that all children misbehave at some point and it is a part of their growing up, so be kind to yourself and appreciate whatever little challenges you are overcoming

Conclusion

ADHD is not negative behaviour. It does not affect a person’s intelligence. We have some great celebrities and thinkers with ADHD like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Michael Phelps and Paris Hilton to name a few. But, this did not stop them from becoming successful. A little more planning and a positive approach may be required, but this should not stop you or your child from enjoying a pleasurable and fulfilling life.

You can read on to see how Prashanthi tackled ADHD in her child the natural way – I tackled my daughter’s attention deficit hyperactivity issues by going back to natural foods.

Further reading:

  1. Natural foods

  2. Circadian rhythm of the body'

 

(About the author: Anju Chhabra holds certification on Whole Food Plant-based nutrition from Dr Campbell's Centre of Nutrition Studies and has also done her Masters in Nutrition and Food Science. She strongly believes that food has the power to heal, cure and prevent diseases. Currently working as Health Coach, to bring about a change by spreading awareness on health and well-being.)

 

 



Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.


11:11 AM | 03-12-2019

Sometimes I think it’s just a name .. kids will be kids. With right nutrition for the body mind and soul, they get better. Well written Anju !

Reply
Anju Chhabra

11:11 AM | 03-12-2019

Right, agree with you Smitha


11:10 AM | 03-12-2019

It is sad to see lively children jailed and burdened by school work, fed unnatural foods and then labelled as ADHD by us adults

Reply
Anju Chhabra

11:10 AM | 03-12-2019

Agreed Asha.


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