Cool Off the Burning Brain with Anti-Inflammatory Diet




What is the anti-inflammatory diet? It sounds more like a diet for grandma’s old arthritic hip. How does it help ADHD?

You are absolutely correct. It does help grandma’s arthritic hip by reducing inflammation. It also helps with other inflammatory illness such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.

The anti-inflammatory diet as its name implies helps to reduce and fight against inflammation. It accomplishes the anti-inflammatory property by excluding foods that induce inflammations, while encourage intake of food that is neutral or support the body’s immune system to fight inflammation.

With inflammatory, we usually think of red, swollen and painful joint, which is the body’s immune system’s response to injury. So, in another word, inflammatory is good because our body is either fighting off an infection or trying to heal an injury.

However, the inflammation we’re talking about here is CHRONIC, which means the body’s immune system is constantly being activated for no reason.

This is not good for the body. You might think it’s a good idea because your body is being protected.

It is this overactive immune system that increases your risk of allergies because it is attacking anything that comes its way. It also weakens the immune response when the next big insult comes around. When the immune system is constantly doing things it’s not supposed to do, this takes resources away from its main tasks, such as detoxification, fighting infection, tissue healing, getting rid of cancer cells, etc.

SO, HOW DOES THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET HELP ADHD?

It is thought that ADHD is the result of chronic systemic inflammation of the body. This systemic inflammation affects the whole body including the brain resulting in functioning and communication error.

You might think how the brain is involved in all this. Think the last time you’re in pain. Were you able to focus? Remember the headaches you have, stomachache, someone stepped on your toe. Our whole body is connected, when one part is not well, our brain is not well too. But we can control or minimize the insult to the brain by following the principle of an anti-inflammatory diet.

WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION IN THE BODY?

1. Toxic metals in the environment

2. Pesticides, preservatives and toxic chemicals

3. Hidden food allergies, such as gluten (wheat), casein (milk), eggs, soy, corn and nuts. But wheat and milk are the biggest culprit.

4. Excess sugar and animal fats intake

5. Chronic stress.

FOODS TO INCLUDE:

  1. Fresh whole natural foods, preferably organic. Buy fresh fruits/vegetables from local farmer’s market. Because these produce does not have to travel long distance, last chemicals are used. Choose cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, onions, cabbage, and garlic. These are excellent sources of sulfur, which help boost the sulfation process in the body’s detoxification.

2. Choose low-fat lean protein as well as seafood, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acid, which has great anti-inflammatory property. Choose organic chicken, grass-fed beef, veal, lamb, buffalo, bison and other game meat because of their lack of antibiotics and hormones. Nuts, seeds and beans are also very good sources of protein. Include a variety of them as snacks or complement to salads and entrees.

3. Choose natural sugar, such as those that comes naturally with fruits or vegetables, honey, agave nectar, stevia, etc.

4. Use fresh spices and herbs to flavor your foods. Garlic, ginger and curcumin are excellent anti-inflammatory herbs to use.

5. Filtered water. Drink water only from BPA-free water bottles.

FOODS TO AVOID:

  1. Added sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. These sugars are stripped of all nutrients during processing. It is basically empty calories. High fructose corn syrup is thought to be the culprit of the current obesity epidemic. It supposedly causes an addictive effect on its consumers, causing them to want to eat more of the food it is in.

2. Processed foods – anything that comes in a can or box and can last for years. These food are stripped bare of all nutrients, which are replaced with artificial flavorings, food coloring, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG), etc. Frozen fruits and vegetables are fine as long as they are free of preservatives and processing.

3. Trans fats – found in many processed foods and margarine. These fats increased bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood. As a result, plague start building up in the artery creating a source of inflammation.

4. Grains and dairy products are the greatest culprit of hidden food allergies.

5. Fish with high mercury content, such as shark, mackerel and swordfish. Limit tuna to one 6-ounce can a week. Even better yet, choose canned wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acid instead for your “tuna” sandwich.

6. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, Saccharin and acesulfame potassium. These are man-made sugar from the labs. The studies that show these artificial sweeteners are safe are done on adult subjects and sponsored by the manufacturers of these “sugars”. There are no “long-term” studies on both adults and children. Therefore, the long-term effects on children’s growth are “unknown”.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET AND LIFESTYLE

The anti-inflammatory diet is not just about foods. It is a lifestyle. You can’t completely treat the inflammation in your body just with foods, and induce the inflammation back with your lifestyle choices, such as chronic stress, lack of exercise, exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals.

1. Daily physical activities. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, ideally 60 minutes. Physical activities not only help with weight, it helps to clear your thoughts (especially negative ones), facilitate the circulation of the lymphatic system, the super highway of your immune system, and increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (your feel-good chemical).

Read: SPARK

2. Use environmentally friendly products. Avoid using Styrofoam, which released estrogen-like chemicals when in contact with heat or being heated. Avoid canned foods or juices or beverages, as the inner lining of the cans are lined with BPA to avoid corrosion of metal from contact with acidic contents.

3. Volunteer and give back to your community. The sense of giving and community boost dopamine levels in the brain. Remember, dopamine is the brain chemical that is found to be low in children with ADHD.

4. Learn relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, prayers, breathing exercise, etc. Focus on positive thoughts everyday. If need to, turn off the news channel.

Namaste…




Specific Carbohydrate Diet




The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is another diet that aims to eradicate intestinal yeast infection by carbohydrate restriction. Elaine Gottschall introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in her book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet”.

It was originally introduced to treat many severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, etc.

Over the years people have also find other uses of the Special Carbohydrate Diet, such as treating autism, ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language delay, etc.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet suggests that many body ailments, such gastrointestinal diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast/Candida in the intestine. These harmful residents thrive on carbohydrates that are not completely digested.

Complex carbohydrates in our diet take longer to digest, and end up further down to the large intestines where bacteria and yeast lives. These undigested carbohydrates provide a good source of nutrients for these harmful bugs.

The more yeast are in the body, the more toxins the yeast produces, which are the causes of many of the behaviors we see in children with ADHD, autism, and other developmental disorders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by eliminating all complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides (multiple-molecule sugars, such as lactose, sucrose, starch, etc) to minimize any undigested carbohydrates from entered the lower portion of the intestines where these harmful bacteria and yeast reside.

In the SCD only monosaacharides, which are single molecule sugars, such as glucose, fructose, galactose are allowed. It is speculated that these single-molecule sugars, because of their simple structure, are easily absorbed in the upper intestine, leaving no undigested carbohydrates that would enter the lower intestine to be used by harmful bacteria or yeast/Candida. As a result, starving the harmful organisms to death and putting a stop to toxin production.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet emphasizes on carbohydrate restriction to eradicate the harmful toxin-producing organisms in our intestines. At the same time, good beneficial bacteria is introduced through SCD’s homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheeses.

Hallmark of the Diet:

1. Avoid all polysaccharides, such as lactose, sucrose, and any complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides are molecules made up of two or sugar units. These require special enzymes to break down the chain into single sugar units.

2. Allow only monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. Monosaccharides are single unit molecules.

3. Only carbohydrates from fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed.

4. Honey and saccharine are the only allowed sweeteners. Saccharine is an artificial sweetener.

5. Only meats in pure unprocessed form are allowed.

6. Homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheese are allowed as a way to introduce good bacteria into the intestines. As you know dairy products are good sources of lactose, which is a two-molecule sugar (galactose and glucose). However, the fermenting processes breaks up the lactose molecules into one unit each of galactose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides, which are allowed on this diet. Recipes are provided in the book.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

When starting this diet, you will not feel great instantly. In fact, you will start feeling really sick, which is a good sign. Yes. That’s right. “It’s a GOOD SIGN”. This is a sign that the diet is working because the yeast/Candida is dying.

Remember there is an excessive amount of yeast in your body, so when they die, all the toxins from the yeast are being released, and that’s what’s making you sick. This is called “toxic die off“.

Besides, the fact that you’re missing your sugar and carbohydrates can make you feel cranky too. Expect some ADHD-related behaviors or symptoms to worsen during “toxic die off” and there may be regression in younger children. Don’t be discouraged. After the yeast/candida and their toxins are eradicated, you will discover the improvements.

For people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein, the goat’s milk may or may not be well tolerated. Be cautious about following the Specific Carbohydrate diet if you are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. There are alternatives yogurt that can be made from non-dairy beverages, such as coconut or rice milk.

Saccharine is an artificial sweetener that some of you may avoid due to its synthetic nature. You may use honey instead.

WARNING

This is a very restrictive and regimented diet to follow. What I have here is just the surface of the diet. There are more to this diet than just avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, and eating yogurts. You’ll probably need some kitchen skills to maneuver around with some recipes.




ADHD Diet that Works

ADHD Diet That Works

Before we ponder further about various ADHD Diets out there…let’s first discuss whether diets works for ADHD.

So Do ADHD diets help?

In March 2011, FDA started looking into science review of the relationship between ADHD symptoms and food colorings. Until now there are no conclusive studies or research to show that any diets are effective in treating any symptoms of ADHD.

Science or myth?

So science is telling us “no, ADHD diets do not help”. But interestingly, many referrals I received are parents of children with newly diagnosed ADHD, and would like to try diet first before starting ADHD medications.

Do parents know something intuitively?

Mmmm…

If you change your child’s diet in a good way and you notice improvements in his behaviors, then who cares what the study said.

In my opinion, after working in the healthcare field for over 10 years, scientific studies and researches only prove, at their best, what is most likely to happen to a certain population. Just because 70% of the studied population response to a certain treatment does not mean the other 30% possibility does not exist.

We all need to remember each of us is genetically different in some minor ways, that is, each of us interpret taste and smell differently, react to food and chemical differently. Thus, it makes sense that it is possible that some children are more sensitive to certain food coloring and preservatives used in processing food, and some of us just have a harder time excreting environmental toxins in our food supply.

Some of these claims of ADHD diets have to be legitimate for people to continue to talk about it and trying it despite inconclusive scientific results. Especially with how fast news spread nowadays. If none of these ADHD diets work, we would have heard enough of it by now. Besides, I have seen enough patients in my practice to say that I believe in dietary approach.

If you are willing to accept the challenge of a new diet and lifestyle and know what you are doing or have a registered dietitian, who is knowledgeable in these ADHD diets, willing to work with you, why not give it a try. That’s the only way to know if it works for YOU or YOUR children, not some research done on other children or adults.

So let’s get started in exploring different diets that may help with alleviating some ADHD symptoms.

We need to start with basic…is your child eating a well-balanced diet with 3 meals and 1-2 snacks throughout the day?

Always remember to start with a good nutritional foundation for your child. Otherwise, you’ll be just running in circles with all these ADHD treatment options.

Ensure that your children are well-fed in the morning with a champion high protein breakfast. No one can focus and think well on an empty tank. This is the simplest thing you can do to help your child start the day out right. Give them fuel for their brains so they can focus.

To understand how and what diet works for ADHD, we need to understand the Causes of ADHD – abnormal physiology of the ADHD brain or premature prefrontal cortex, systemic oxidative stress, poor food and nutrition intake, leaky gut as a result of candida overgrowth, food allergy or sensitivity and environmental toxins.

Please refer to Causes of ADHD
Based on the possible causes of ADHD, our diet needs to be nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens,, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

Wow…is there really a diet that does all of these?

In fact, there is…

Eat a Plant-based Whole Foods Diet

Watch Food Matters

The plant-based diet is nutrient-dense, free of toxins and allergens, and rich in antioxidants that promotes detoxification, enhance immune system and reduces inflammation.

In a plant-based diet, nutrition comes mostly from plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds.
Unprocessed whole food from various plant sources are naturally rich in antioxidants that promotes the nutrients our body needs to function optimally, supports detoxification process, reduces inflammation and immune-enhancing.

Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, pork, seafood) are restricted as they induce inflammation, and not to mention filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Excessive cooking or overcooking of meat produces carcinogens that are harmful to our body.

Not to mention…the plant-based diet is also animal-friendly.

Watch Vegucated

Processed foods and fast foods are avoided because these are loaded with toxins ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, food coloring, and preservatives that damage brain cells.

In fact, some food colorings and high fructose corn syrup are banned in some European countries due to the documented hyperactivity in children after consumption. We are so behind in the United States.

Organic options are emphasis to ensure the both natural ingredients without toxic pesticides and genetically altered species.

Read Plant-based Diet

What about the Gluten-free Casein-Free Diet that You Hear Everyone’s Bragging About?

Well…I would say it doesn’t hurt to try it for a while along with the plant-based diet. After all, many children with ADHD and even adults have problems with dairy and gluten.

In fact, dairy products are not even good for our body, and we don’t need dairy in our diet to get calcium.

In the book China Study, Dr. Campbell reveals that the whole dietary recommendation to have daily intake of dairy product is a scam. In fact, countries that consume the most dairy products also have the most incidences of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Dairy products can also cause liver cancer.

In my practice, I see so many constipated kids. And many parents can pinpoint the cause to dairy products.

So, yes to casein-free or better yet dairy-free diet.

Gluten-free diet is a little tricky.

I would say eliminate gluten only if your child is sensitive or has reaction to it.

The Feingold Diet is the first ADHD diet known. It focuses on eliminating artificial food colorings, preservatives and natural salicylates (a cousin of aspirin).

The Candida Diet focuses on treating the underlying leaky gut, which is the result of candida overgrowth. It emphasizes on low simple sugar and low carbohydrate intake to starve off the yeast population. Antifungal medications or herbs may be used together to facilitate the eradication of yeast.

While starving the yeast to death, you also bring in new residence, probiotics (good bacteria) and a non-pathogenic yeast, into the picture.

The Body Ecology diet encourages fermented vegetables and beverages, such as kim chee and kefir, to re-introduce beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet introduces beneficial bacteria through a homemade goat’s milk yogurt.

Low FODMAP Diet maybe used to reduce symptoms of gas, bloating, cramping and/or diarrhea as a result of excessive fermentation of fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. FODMAP is an acronym for “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols”. FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and are then fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of carbohydrates contributes to irritable bowel syndrome and functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Interest in juicing has exploded in the last decade due to a number of books, videos that claims the extraordinary healing power of juicing or juice fast.

Documentaries such as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Beautiful Truth have increased the awareness that many disease can be cured by simply changing one’s dietary habits. Drinking freshly made juices daily is advocated to cure many currently considered “uncurable” diseases and illnesses, such as cancer (including end stage), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Are You Ready for a Change for the Better?