Sunday, February 17, 2008

Key Role of Food on Mood & Behaviors: Addressing ADHD, Anxiety, Irritability & Blood Sugar Swings

Growing up we've all heard how we should eat a balanced diet and to avoid sweet and fried foods. Well, now there is scientific research and findings that highlight the role sugar, junk food and skipping meals plays on our moods. From road rage, ADHD and anxiety attacks- our bodies speak to us each time we feel hungry, irritable and lack the essential nutrients to manage and regulate our moods.

This is of special interest to parents raising children with ADHD, Depression and even Autism. Science is showcasing the key role food plays in regulating the body to focus on school work, balance moods and help our kids feel more in control of their environments. As we find- the root of the issue is essential address versus giving our children pharmaceutical drugs that only mask the symptoms.

Food and Mood:
The body uses neuronutrients to make neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that regulate mood. Most neurotransmitters are made from protein building blocks called amino acids, along with vitamins and minerals. Food and supplemental neuronutrients is a major way to improve mood.

Addressing ADHD with Supplementation:
Avoiding refined oils found in fries and nearly all packaged foods, fast foods and microwave meals. Instead emphasize fish, so long as it's not deep fried. In addition take:
*omega-3 fish oils (3 grams daily)
*gamma-linolenic acid (a plant oil 200 mg daily)
*GABA (400-500mg, twice daily)
*Pycnogenol (100mg, twice daily)

Addressing Anxiety & Panic Attacks:
Often the effects of caffeine can mimic the early symptoms of an anxiety attack (jittery, high strung felings, nervousness, worry and tension), it's important to wean off of coffee and colas. Bouts of low blood sugar also can resemble anxiety, so it's good to avoid sugary foods and refined carbohydrates that quickly boost and then drop blood sugar levels.

To ease anxiety and panic symptoms:
*A high potency B-complex supplement
*Vitamin C
*Magnesium citrate (300 mg, twice daily)

Additional alternative & complementary therapies can boost brain levels of GABA resultin gin greater calm and better mental focus include:
*GABA (gamma-aminobutryic acid) 200 mg, twice daily
*L-theanine (100 mg, twice daily)

Balancing Blood Sugar:

Nowadays, balancing blood sugar is getting more focus and emphasis knowing that pre-diabetes is a condition that develops over a span of 10-20 years. The links between diabetes and heart disease is alarming as now heart disease is the biggest killer of men and women.

High blood sugar suppresses orexin, a brain chemincal responsible for alertness. When blood sugar is low, hunger and irritability increase. Mood swings and physical weakness are also symptoms of blood sugar swings. These all point to poor glucose tolerance, a form of prediabetes.

Stay away from sugary sweets, alcohol, soft drinks, bagels and muffins. Eat lean proteins such as fish and chicked and high-fiber veggies like broccoli, spinach and cauliflower.

A quick mood stabilizer is turkey and cheese- it acts fast.

Eating a diet of healthy whole foods that supply abundant neuronutrients plus a high-potency multivitamin or B-complex supplement. Then try other supplements as needed to mellow your mood.

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