You are what you eat


“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates

More and more research is drawing connections between the gut, sometimes referred to as the second brain, and mental health in general. For people with ADHD, you can’t go wrong paying attention to nutrition, including the gut biome, the complex ecosystem of microorganisms that help you digest food. And there is emerging evidence that the gut may play a more crucial role in ADHD than previously thought.

How nutrition helps

To be clear, more research needs to be done on specific nutritional approaches to ADHD, but there is growing evidence that Vitamin E, particularly DHA, helps brain health in general and may help provide better control over visual input, reducing distractions. Mapping the brain-gut-relationship requires many more years of research, but even so, there seems to be a clear connection between probiotics and brain health, especially when started early in life.

Why nutrition works

brain healthy foods versus bad brain foodsThe brain, and the gut, represent massively complex systems individually, let alone as linked systems. Nutrition makes sure all of those brain-gut interactions are firing at maximum efficiency. If you are exercising regularly, meditating , and have all the other organizing techniques in place but eat a terrible diet, you may negate all the other work you’re doing. Unless you have a really well organized approach to your food, possibly working with a dietician, supplements can help make sure that even the most healthy eaters get what they need on a regular basis.

What to do

If you can afford it, go to see a dietician, making sure that she or he has familiarity with brain health, and work with that professional to develop a plan around your diet. You can also apply organizational tactics to help you improve your diet. Plan your meals. Label your refrigerator and pantry to make it easy to put together healthy ingredients. Use pill organizers to lay out whatever supplements you may take. Minimally, get on a good probiotic (which can include making your own kombucha, kefir or kimchi) and a good multi-vitamin and see if you notice improvements. Vitamin E is another critical supplement, which is more available in fish oil form, but you can use flaxseed oil if you are vegetarian.

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