Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Creating Your ADHD Diet

How do you put together an ADHD diet for yourself or your child? The first step is to be sure to talk with the doctor who is responsible for treating your ADHD. Why? Here are three good reasons:

  1. Your doctor is the person best qualified to judge whether the changes you wish to make might be effective for you. Your doctor may request special tests that can help determine how the brain functions, so that together you can decide which diet changes might help the most.
  2. Your doctor can help you monitor the changes to your diet to make sure they really help.
  3. Some nutritional supplements are available only through a doctor's prescription. Dosages of all supplements should be carefully determined and monitored.

Once your doctor is on board, then you're ready to take your next step. Whether you are changing your food, adding supplements, or eliminating foods from your diet, here are some tips to help make your changes successful:

Recommended Related to ADD-ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. These are traits that most children display at some point or another. But to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, sometimes referred to as ADD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child's age. Adults also can have ADHD; in fact, up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children.  When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. For instance, an adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity...

Read the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms of ADHD article > >

  • Make changes slowly -- usually one at a time. That way you can test whether the change helped or not.
  • Make sure that you stick to the diet long enough to see changes. This may take a month or more. Don’t give up too soon, but also, don't stick to a plan that is not working.
  • Keep a diary of your changes and the effects, much like you would for taking ADHD medication. Include what you changed, when you did it, and the effects -- both positive and negative -- you noticed.
  • Show the diary to your doctor at each visit.

There is no one diet, food, or supplement that is proven to cure or treat ADHD. However, a healthy diet is a good idea for your whole body, including your brain.

Making an ADHD Diet Even More Effective

Don't forget about other steps to help with ADHD. These include the following:

  • Regularly take any medication that has been prescribed for ADHD.
  • Get enough sleep: at least seven to eight hours each night.
  • Get regular exercise: at least 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Learn deep-breathing techniques to help with anxiety and anger.
  • Relaxation training and meditation can help increase focus and concentration, as well as reduce distractibility.

Most of all, the more you know about your own ADHD and your overall health, the better you can assess which treatments -- including dietary changes --might help. Over time, you can determine whether specific foods, additives, or supplements make your ADHD symptoms better or worse.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 21, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Justin Timberlake
Slideshow
brain food
SLIDESHOW
 
Man distracted while working
Assessment
young man holding book
Article
 

concentration killers
SLIDESHOW
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Article
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications
Article
 

boy eating egg
Video
smiling man
Article
 
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Article
Adult man lying awake in bed
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections