ADHD and the Mediterranean diet

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has shown that following a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Most common mental disorders among children

The attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder belongs to the field of neurobiology, and affects around 3,4% of children and adolescents worldwide. This is one of the most common mental disorders among children and teenagers, and its consequences can last until adulthood.

Symptoms of ADHD

The main symptoms are hyperactivity, impulsiveness and attention-deficit, which are more intense than in children of the same age who don’t suffer from this illness.

So far, the most efficient intervention for ADHD is a combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments, with the intervention of an educational psychologist.

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Diet and ADHD

The mechanisms that link a low-quality diet and ADHD are still unknown. Previous scientific studies have associated some dietary patterns (diets with processed food and low in fruit and vegetables) with ADHD.

However, it is known that an unbalanced dietary pattern can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients (iron, zinc, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, etc.) for cognitive and physical growth, and they seem to play an essential role in the etiology of ADHD.

Mediterranean diet: nutrition and health

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole carbohydrates and healthier fats, provides most of the nutrients in the right proportion.

The new study doesn’t state that the Mediterranean diet could be a protection factor against ADHD, but it indicates that children and adolescents need to eat a healthy diet, as this is the time when their bodies need the best nutrients to grow properly and achieve a healthy life during adulthood.

The researchers believe that more studies are needed to determine if a change in dietary habits towards a healthy diet – such as the Mediterranean one – could serve to reverse or improve ADHD symptoms.

Source: Universidad de Barcelona via Sciencedaily.com

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