According to America’s Centers for Disease Control, 11% of four- to 17-year-olds in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD; just over 6% are taking medication. According to our pharmacy claims data, between 2008 and 2012, the number of Americans who use medication to treat ADHD rose 36%, totaling more than 4.8 million privately insured individuals in 2012.
Millions of US children are on medication for behavioral problems and depression. Children are increasingly being prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressants as young as 2 years old!
So what is causing this rise in “D” disorders like ADHD, ADD, and Depression among children and young adults? Dr. Sears, author of the NDD book, calls them “Nutrition Deficit Disorders”. He believes these disorders are the direct impact of lifestyle and food choices.
There are many studies showing that food additives, like artificial colors and food dyes, cause hyperactivity in children. In certain cases, parents have observed that their kids’ behavior became aggressive and hostile whenever they had bright red color in their drink or packaged food. European Union (EU) requires that foods containing certain food color additives include a statement on the label that this color “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” However, there is no such requirement in United States.
Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent NDD and improve your kids overall health:
– Read labels: When you buy any packaged food, make sure it does not contain any artificial colors or food dyes. If you look closely a lot of fruit juices, sports drinks, cereals, and yogurts contain them so it is possible that your child is having a high dose of these colors every day.
– Healthy fats: Human brain is 60% fat. In order for it to function efficiently, you need a diet full of good fats like fish, ghee, eggs, avocados, walnuts. Make sure your kids are getting enough fats in their diet.
– Reduce Sugar: Limiting sugar in your family’s diet makes sense in terms of overall health. Look out for any kind of sugar on food labels. Lot of times sugar is hidden in the ingredient list so you have to carefully look for names that end with “ose” like sucrose, fructose, maldextrose . In some studies, processed sugar has believed to cause an increase in hyperactivity in some kids. If our kids have a sweet tooth, serving fruits or natural sugars like honey and dates could be a good alternative.
– Good Carbs: Simple Carbs like white bread, pasta spikes up the insulin in the body. Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, contain longer chains of sugar molecules, which usually take more time for the body to break down and use. This in turn provides you with a more consistent amount of energy. Make sure you are feeding your kids good complex carbs like whole wheat, brown rice which is slowly absorbed and keep them full for a longer period of time.
Follow these guidelines to prevent the nutrition related disorders and keep you and your family healthy.