by Dr. Emil Tompkins, a family Chiropractor in Tucson, AZ with a passion for health and wellness.
I want to tell you a story about an elephant. There were a group of students that went to the zoo and while they were at the zoo they went to the elephant exhibit. Once in the exhibit, they had a chance to get close and actually touch the elephant. These kids were blind so they couldn’t actually see the elephant but, they were allowed to touch the elephant. The teacher then asked the kids to describe the elephant. Some of the kids touched the elephant and said, “it’s big, it’s big and wide like a blanket.” Another child touched the tail and said “it is long and thin with hair in the back like a paintbrush.” While someone else touched the leg and the foot and said “it’s really large like a tree trunk.” Are any of these kids lying? They have a different story and they are absolutely telling the truth. The reason why is because the part of the elephant they are touching makes up that elephant. So, each of the kids are right.
When we start to talk about natural ways to help children and help adults with Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD we take that approach – the multi-systems approach. We can then start to see some really fantastic changes that we will be outlining in our big workshop that will be coming up called Focus: Natural Alternatives for Attention Deficit Disorder.
But what we are going to focus on today is 4 foods that feed ADHD. The last thing we want to do is take in things that are going to give us more problems.
Food 1: Sugar
The first one is sugar. There are lots of studies on sugar and inflammation and on sugar and hyperactivity. If you have children, you know what happens when you give your kid too much sugar. You can see the hyperactivity. Is sugar the cause of ADHD? It’s most likely not at all the cause for ADHD. However, it is certainly something that is going to create more hyperactivity. Therefore, it is something that we are going to want to eliminate. Plus, some of the effects that sugar has on insulin balance when your blood sugar goes up and down will affect your brain, it will affect cognitive ability, it will affect memory and it can cause that whole brain fog effect. So, we really need to think about reducing and eliminating sugar.
Food 2: Allergens
The second food is going to be allergens. If we are allergic or sensitive to certain foods, that food can create heightened neuro-responses and heightened immune responses that will affect our energy levels. It can cause hyperactivity, and it can cause an inability to pay attention because of certain sensory issues that are affected. We want to make sure that we avoid foods that we are allergic to. That would mean getting an allergy test to see if we have any food allergies. One thing to realize however, is that a lot of us can have sensitivity to foods that will never show up in an allergy test so it can still be a problem. We want to make sure that we are not sensitive to certain foods. It takes a very complex elimination diet to be able to do this right and understand if the food is bothering you. This is something that you may want to consider. We do have a nutritional program in our office that can accomplish that goal and it is something we can guide you through at some point. The most common foods that our body can be allergic to are wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish or shellfish. These items would be the foods we would want to eliminate because of those allergies.
Food 3: Food Dyes
Many of the dyes they use in foods (Yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, m blue to name a few) have been scientifically studied and determined to cause hyperactivity. The yellow dyes number 5 and number 6 actually create DNA damage if you ingest enough of it. When the DNA is damaged, chromosomal damage happens and hyperactivity can happen. Cancer is also more likely to happen in people that are ingesting huge amounts of the yellow dye number 5. Where do you find that dye – basically in anything that is processed (they do that to make it more appealing to the eye). Processed food in any shade of yellow, brown, orange can have some of that yellow number 5 or number 6 in it. It can be a big, big problem. The key is to avoid things with food dyes and preservatives altogether.
Food 4: Wheat
Wheat is another food to avoid. Wheat is high allergy inducing food which can have a tremendously negative impact on our health for a number of reasons. One reason is that wheat is considered an endorphin. An endorphin is something you have probably heard of. Endorphin is something that when your body produces it, you feel good. Let’s say you go on a really long run. Your body uses endorphins and it feels really good. Something from inside of the body is released to make you feel good. Wheat, unfortunately, is an ex-endorphin, which is something that comes from outside of the body that actually helps you feel good. But when eat wheat, although it helps you feel good, it is not doing anything positive for your health. It only becomes addictive. Wheat is addictive and it will affect you negatively. It causes great changes in your blood sugar levels that will affect your energy levels. Wheat is also neurotoxic, it affects your brain and your nervous system. It is something that you want to avoid as much as you possibly can. Wheat is a big one that we usually want to remove from our diets.
There you have it – the 4 foods to avoid. We have sugars, allergens, dyes/preservatives, and wheat. If you manage to avoid those foods, you will have an impact on your attention span and on your focus. Your child’s behavior will improve. You’ll have an impact on all those things. But remember, the elephant. It is not just a trunk, or just legs, or just a tail, or just a big body. The elephant is the whole picture. When it comes to your health you want to look at the whole picture.
What if I want more?
If you would like to have a consultation with me at any time about how to help you or your child with Attention Deficit Disorder, you can contact our office at 520-572-2596.
Wishing you a happy and healthy day.