The ability to concentrate and retain information is a key element in the learning process. For some students it is easy to focus during class or while doing school work, but for others it is an impossible and endless struggle.
Brain food for kids with ADD, ADHD and Autism:
For children with disorders like attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism sometimes medication is often prescribed. In some cases diet can also play a huge role in providing the proper brain food for kids that they need in order to be able to concentrate and focus when they are in school.
There have not been any conclusive studies that have been able to prove that any particular diet or foods are able to cure any of these disorders, but many cases have experienced a reduction of symptoms after implementing a particular diet.
Not all people are the same, therefore the best way to find out what foods are best for your child is to do an elimination diet where your child cuts out all possible irritating foods and then slowly adds them back into their diet one at a time to see if they do well eating that particular food. Here is a list of common foods to try cutting out in order to improve concentration and one’s ability to focus.
Food to avoid to improve concentration
Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and some oats and other grains that are relatives of the wheat family. Going on a strictly gluten free diet has helped some children with ADD, ADHD or Autism to be able to concentrate better.
Casein (Dairy): Casein is a protein in dairy products that many people find difficult to tolerate. Eliminating casein from their diets has also helped people with ADD, ADHD or Autism.
Sugar: Foods that are high in sugar as well as processed foods like white flour, white rice, sugary cereals, white bread, pasta, etc. are a major culprit that elevate ADD and ADHD symptoms as well as symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Artificial food coloring: Most processed foods contain artificial food coloring that have been linked to aggravating symptoms of ADD, ADHD and Autism.
Brain Food for kids to support concentration:
Protein: Eating protein rich meals especially for breakfast and lunch instead of pure carbohydrates will supply your child with energy and fuel for their brain that will last throughout the day.
Bananas: Bananas are great for improving learning because they are full of vitamin C, B6 that helps improve concentration. They are also full of fiber and contain potassium that’s good for the brain.
Brain Food for kids to support memory retention
Fish: Fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating rich oily fish like salmon at least twice a week is good for the body and for the brain.
Avocados: Avocados are full of vitamins E and C and they contain good fats that are good for supporting brain function.
Nuts: Nuts contain vitamin E and are full of good fats. Kids love peanut butter, and it is an easy, healthy snack that is good for their brain too!
Other important practices that improve learning and concentration:
Whether or not your child has been diagnosed with a learning or attention deficit disorder, all students benefit from these key elements.
Exercise: Getting enough exercise every day is important. Recess and P.E. are not just meant for fun. Exercise helps to get oxygen flowing to the brain, which in turn improves concentration.
Sleep: A good night of sleep is a necessity for growing children, teenagers and adults. We all need adequate rest in order to be able to function at school or at work. Kids who get the recommended hours of sleep do better on tests and retain information more effectively than students who don’t get enough sleep.
Balanced Meals: We have already mentioned a list of foods to avoid and foods to incorporate into your diet, but another important factor in maximizing concentration and focus is the amount of food that you eat. Meals should be balanced in nutrients and also in portion size. Make sure your family is eating enough for breakfast so that they have energy and brainpower to focus. On the other hand it is important not to eat too large of meals, as this can induce tiredness, which can make it just as difficult to concentrate.
Not all people are the same and what works for one person may be different for another. This article just offers suggestions of things to consider trying for your child to improve concentration and learning.