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Can Diet Help Eliminate the Need for Drugs?

Can Diet Help Eliminate the Need for Drugs?
By: Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects about five percent of school age kids. While many doctors treat it with medication, many parents are now looking at what's on their child's plate first.

Parents of children with ADHD desperately search for something that can help.  Many turn to medication.  New research suggests parents might want to try diet before drugs.  Is that the way to go?  

Doctor Stephen Jordan is a neuropsycologist at Saint Francis Medical Center.  He said drugs like ritalin really do work.

"In terms of consistency in working, it's the stimulant drugs that tend to help slow down the kids where they'd have a chance at success," said Dr. Jordan. 

But, what if you want to try something else first? Here are five foods some doctors say to avoid: 

#1 Additives (like artificial dyes and flavors)

#2 Sugar (including artificial sweeteners)

#3 Bad fats (like trans and saturated fats)

#4 Caffeine

#5 Salt (including processed foods that are high in sodium)

As for what to try:

#1 Essential fatty acids (Omega 3)

#2 Vitamin B

#3 Protein

#4 Calcium and Magnesium

#5 Trace Minerals (Zinc and Iron)

"I think if you're eating a healthy diet, you may see an improvement.  Is that going to keep you from medication?  We'll probably just have to wait and see," said Southeast Missouri Hospital Dietician Lea Anne Lambert.

"I think if you have a child and every time they have sugar on board they're much more hyper.  I'd probably reduce the sugar, but I don't think by itself most kids or adults with A.D.D. are going to cure themselves by changing their diet," Dr. Jordan said.

The diet is not guaranteed to help.  However, both the psychologist and the dietician say eating better won't hurt.

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