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(see also

Hyperactivity is also often referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Attention

Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and they are all closely related. These conditions
predominantly in children, but sometimes symptoms can continue into adulthood. There
hard-and-fast definition of this disorder and consequently children who are merely re
find it difficult to pay attention for great lengths of time, or find it difficult to learn generak
tend to be labelled as having ADD. And children that also constantly fidget and are al the
go may well be diagnosed as having ADHD. Typical symptoms include an inabi
concentrate or sit still for any length of time, or rapid and severe mood swings, and
children often need very little sleep. Children that are affected often find themselves in t
and are shunted from school to school. They can become delinquent teenagers and often
up using drugs and alcohol.
All of these conditions are associated with an excessive intake of the sugar, art
sweeteners, colourings and preservatives that are found in prescription medicines and tho
of foods and drinks. Sensitivities to various foods and substances, such as bubble
air fresheners, spray deodorants, perfumes and toothpastes can also trigger these types
behavioural problems. Far too many children still eat huge amounts of junk foods that
devoid of vitamins, minerals and essential fats. Junk foods deplete nutrients from the body,

without any doubt, tests have shown that these children are malnourished, and this lack
proper nutrients can have a devastating effect not only on their bodies, but most impo on
their brains. Also, exposure to neurotoxins, such as lead from water pipes and car fumes,
cadmium from cigarettes, can make the problem even worse. As can overexposure to
chemicals during pregnancy.
The normal drug therapy is Ritalin, from the amphetamine family. In the US 3% of
age children take this medication, even though research has shown that it initiates changes
brain structure and function that remain long after any therapeutic effects have dissi
Ritalin may also increase the incidence of addiction to other substances such as cocaine
smoking in later life. Understandably many parents don't feel comfortable giving this drug
their child; however, others feel it is their only weapon in making the child controllable
There is a growing body of negative evidence against this drug, but on the positive
nutritionists such as Patrick Holford have shown time and time again, that if artificial add and so on are removed from the diet and
proper nutrition is practised, these children im in leaps and bounds. In prisons in the US and the UK, it has also been shown that
violent prisoners are given a better diet, plus the right vitamins, minerals and essentials fats,
become calmer and 'kinder' people.

Foods to Avoid
Any foods containing large numbers of additives, particularly the strong colourings like
tartrazine. Many sweets are bright and rainbow-coloured. The brighter the sweets the more
they should be avoided.
Greatly reduce or eliminate cola-type drinks, and any foods or drinks containing the artificial
sweetener aspartame. Look out for hidden sources such as chewing gum.
Generally cut out most foods containing sugar, such as cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and snack
bars. One specialist once told me that giving sugar to hyperactive children was 'like putting
rocket fuel in a Mini'. The odd treat is OK, but try to buy organic, low-sugar snack bars that
have been sweetened with apple juice or honey. Most of the mass-produced refined foods


(white bread, pasta and rice; packaged ready-meals and so on) should go. As an occasional
treat allow the child to eat a small amount of organic chocolate.
Citrus fruits and juices are often a problem.
If your child has a favourite food, be it cheese, eggs, wheat-based foods, milk or orange juice,
try cutting these out for 1-2 weeks and see if behaviour improves. It is usually the foods they
eat and crave the most that are triggering many of their symptoms.
Buy a book that gives you all E numbers and note which foods have the highest amounts and
avoid them like the plague.

ndly Foods
As much as possible feed your child organic foods free from pesticides and herbicides.
Try buying corn-, lentil-, rice- and spinach-based pastas.
Introduce more whole foods and grains, such as brown rice, millet, oats, quinoa, lentils and
vegetables into your child's diet.
Nature's Path makes a great breakfast cereal range that is sweetened with apple juice. Any
health shop sells ranges of wheat-free and/or low-sugar organic source cereals, mueslis and
snack bars these days. Chop an apple or banana into the cereal for added fibre and nutrients.
Alternatively make up your own muesli use organic oats as a base, and then add sunflower
and pumpkin seeds or linseeds (flax seeds), plus nuts such as Brazils or hazelnuts, to which you
can add a few organic raisins or dried apricots. Nuts and seeds are high in essential fats, and in
minerals like zinc, which are vital for healthy brain-functioning. This mix can be alternated to
suit your preference. One week add more chopped almonds or grated coconut another week
add millet or rice flakes. When serving chop a banana, add fresh blueberries, and use organic
rice milk or natural, low-fat yoghurt. Children are now discovering healthier milks such as Tiger
White made from plant extracts, which are non-dairy and high in healthier monounsaturated
fats. To find your nearest stockist call 01453 874 000.
Try organic rice, oat, or goat's milk or yoghurt, which are less likely to cause a problem. Or try
Tiger White 'milk' (see above).
Use diluted sugar-free pear, apple or even grape juice, which are less likely than the citrus
fruits to cause a problem.
Encourage the child to drink water in preference to fizzy drinks and try to encourage a taste for
fresh fruit rather than sugary sweets. If he or she still wants the bubbles add 50:50 fruit juice
to plain fizzy water don't buy flavoured waters, which tend to be high in sugars.
Add low-sugar fruit yoghurts to colourful fruit for tasty desserts that look attractive. I make
jellies with a base of low-sugar cranberry juice, camomile tea, or fresh grapes I chop fresh
fruit into the jelly liquid and allow to set. A wonderful low-sugar treat.
Sprinkle chopped nuts onto desserts as they are a rich source of minerals, but avoid peanuts. I
use organic hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, coconut, and walnuts. I whiz them all in a blender.
Keep the mixture in an air-tight jar in the fridge and sprinkle over breakfast cereals and desserts.
The mixture lasts about a week.
Give your child a serving of quality protein, such as chicken, fresh fish, eggs, tempeh, lentils and
beans, nuts and seeds, with each meal of the day. Add pumpkin seeds to a salad they are
Essential fats found in oily fish, seeds and nuts are really important in controlling this type of
behaviour. (See Fats You Need To Eat.)
Ensure plenty of iron-rich foods are included in the diet as a lack of iron can decrease attentiveness and narrow attention span. Good choices are cooked tofu, beans and pulses, spinach, eggs
(unless your child has an intolerance to eggs), cabbage, prunes, dates and apricots and pumpkin
seeds. Eat them along with some strawberries or kiwi fruit, which are rich in vitamin

C, to enhance absorption.
Use unrefined, cold-pressed, preferably organic olive, sunflower, hemp, walnut or sesame oils
for salad dressings, or drizzle over cooked foods. Cook only with the olive oil or use Higher
Nature's coconut oil instead. HN

Useful Remedies

Magnesium is known as nature's tranquilliser and many children are low in this vital mineral;
400mg daily. Dr Bernard Rimland, the director of the Autism Research Institute, has found that
combining vitamin B6 and magnesium was up to 10 times more effective than Ritalin. 50mg of
B6 should be taken in a high-strength B-complex.
Essential fatty acids are vital. Try Efalex, 1-2 spoons a day over cooked food, or add to salad
Give your child a good-quality chewable multi-vitamin and mineral that is free from artificial
additives. Solgar's chewable Kanga Vites are flavoured with natural fruit (avoid if citrus is a
problem for your child). Nature's Plus also makes a great children's range of nutrients. NP

Helpful Hints

Try to avoid smoking and drinking during pregnancy as both of these have been linked with an
increased likelihood of the child becoming hyperactive.
If the child has allergies or food intolerances, explain to the child how they affect their
behaviour and tell everyone in the school or relatives who might be giving the child food or
drinks, which they think are perfectly harmless.
For some children natural compounds found in food, called salicylates, can cause a problem (
see Autism for more details).
Homoeopathy has a great track record of dealing with ADD and hyperactivity so, if you can, get
your child along to a good homoeopath. Be prepared to be patient as it may not be an
overnight success. See Useful Information, or call the Organic Pharmacy. OP
Avoid air fresheners of all types, spray deodorants, pot-pourri, and perfumed fabric conditioners, washing powders and liquids. Try Ecover products, which contain far fewer chemicals,
available in all major supermarkets and health stores.
As children with ADHD are 7 times more likely to have food intolerances than other children,
get these checked out. Genova Diagnostics have an in-depth food intolerance test, and you can
also request that they add on food additives to the test. Contact them on 020 8336 7750, or
check out their website at
Links have been found between hyperactivity and high levels of heavy metals, namely mercury,
lead, copper and aluminium. Get these checked out with a simple non-invasive, hair mineral
analysis test. To order, call Analytical Research Laboratories on 0131 229 1077.
Patrick Holford's book Optimum Nutrition for the Mind has lots of information including details
of the Brain Bio Centre, which he founded and which successfully treats those with ADHD.
ADD and ADHD are complex conditions, and as it is important that children do not become
deficient in any nutrients, enlist the help of a qualified nutritionist. Contact the British
Association for Nutritional Therapy by checking out their website at, or calling
08706 061284 to find a nutritionist in your area.
A great site sharing stories from children affected by ADD and ADHD can be found at
For more help contact the Hyperactive Children's Support Group via, or call
01243 539966.


(see Low Blood Sugar)