Food for Hyperactive Kids

If you have a hyperactive kid who can drive you nuts, you may literally want to feed him nuts. The thought behind a diet for hyperactive kids is that certain foods may help the brain function better by decreasing the symptoms that hyperactive kids have, such as being restless and unable to focus. Certain foods, such as proteins -- which include nuts -- are brain food.

Sugar and Preservatives

While many people believe that sugar is to blame for a child's hyperactivity, no study has ever linked sugar with hyperactivity. What researchers at the University of Southampton in England found out, however, is that preservatives can cause hyperactivity, particularly sodium benzoate when it is combined with yellow and red food dyes. You find this combination in sodas, candy and ice cream.

Types of Diets

Diet is not the only measure to take when treating hyperactive kids, but diet can play a role. Treat hyperactivity in kids by offering nutritious foods. Supplement food with vitamins to make up for any deficiencies, and eliminate foods that you suspect contribute to the hyperactivity. Discuss giving your child supplements with his health care provider.

What to Eat

Feed your child plenty of protein that you find in beans, meat, eggs, cheese and nuts in the morning and for an after-school snack. Eating vegetables and fruits are good any time of the day. Some fruits, such as tangerines, pears, apples, kiwi, grapefruit and oranges, may help your child sleep and are good to offer at or after dinner. Omega-3 fatty acids that you get in salmon, tuna, walnuts and olive oil are good brain foods.

Getting Your Kid to Eat

If your child is used to a diet filled with junk food, soda, candy and ice cream, it may be difficult to get her to switch to healthy foods, but it's not impossible. It helps if you are a good role model and quit eating the junk food yourself. Limit snacks, and don't allow any snacks two hours before a meal. If your child is hungry at mealtimes, she may be more willing to try healthier foods. Get your child to help with food preparation because that could get her interested in trying new foods.

Calming Foods

Some foods have a calming effect on children and adults, so you may want to keep your house stocked with them. Getting back to the nuts again, almonds contain B vitamins that help with stress. Avocados lower blood pressure because of the potassium and monounsaturated fat they contain. Skim milk is good for insomnia and restlessness. Oatmeal helps your brain produce serotonin, a relaxing brain chemical. Oranges reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Spinach and salmon also can help calm you down.

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Published: Jan. 4, 2011

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