Nutrition in Hyperactive Children

There is a disorder that we have been hearing more about in recent years: Hyperactivity. Previously, mothers used to say that my child is a little active. now the active child’s name has become hyperactive? do you? Let’s see first, what does this hyperactivity mean?

hyperactivity; It is a childhood mental disorder that begins before the age of 7 and is characterized by decreased or impaired attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Only the children we used to call too active or naughty have changed. Now the children are not only too active, but also attention deficit and concentration disorder have developed and children have started to act according to their impulses. Of course, this situation negatively affects their mental development, compliance with social rules, adaptation and school success in the future, hyperactive children cannot show the expected success even though they do not have an intelligence problem.

Does the child not progress despite the medications given? Something is obviously wrong. What is it? Maybe something you never thought of is triggering hyperactivity from the bottom up. Let’s go a little deeper then.

Studies have shown that nutrition directly affects hyperactivity. When the relationship between nutrition and hyperactivity is investigated, two types of diets emerge: ‘Western’ and ‘Healthy’.
Western style diet; It is a diet that is mostly fast food, processed foods, packaged foods are consumed excessively, poor in terms of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and rich in carbohydrates and fats.

Healthy eating; adequate and balanced nutrition, nutrition with foods rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

While researches found Western-style diet to be associated with hyperactivity, no relationship was found between healthy eating and hyperactivity. When hyperactive children started to eat a healthy diet, symptoms decreased. It has been observed that especially food additives increase symptoms in hyperactive children.
Assuming that approximately 75% of processed food products are consumed in the kitchens of Western countries, it has been calculated that people take about 5-6 kg of additives each year with these products. Parallel to this rapid increase in consumption, an increase is observed in the highly variable side effects of additives. Just like the increase in the number of children diagnosed with hyperactivity in recent years.
Let’s take a look at the food additives that cause hyperactivity:
Tartrazine (E101) is a colorant often used in soft drinks.
Erythrosine (E127) is widely used in children’s confectionery.
It is also found in caramels (E150), cola drinks, chips, bread, sauce and many other foodstuffs.
Benzoates (E210-E219), preservative.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) (E221) is used as a flavoring in soups, sauces and meat products.
Aspartame, sweetener.
Sucrose, sweetener.

So how should a hyperactive child be fed?

– Dear parents, in order for your child’s hyperactivity to heal, you must first correct his eating habits. If you cannot do this alone, you should definitely seek help from a dietitian. Because if the hyperactive child is not treated, he will become a hyperactive adult and his success in life will be low with much more problems to deal with in his life, but with undeveloped social skills.
– Foods containing food additives supported by researches that cause hyperactivity should be avoided.
– A healthy and adequate nutrition plan should be arranged with 3 main meals and 1-2 snacks a day.
– Meal times should be regular and at the same time.
– The effect of omega-3 and EPA/DEHA polyunsaturated fatty acids on hyperactivity was observed. Therefore, fish should be eaten 2 days a week, and if the child does not like fish, it should be added to his diet as a supplement.
– If the child is overweight, weight loss should be achieved at a rate appropriate for his age with a healthy and adequate nutrition and sports program.
– If the child has a weakness problem, he should gain weight in a healthy way with a diet that will not trigger his hyperactivity.
– The nutrition of the child should never be left to his own initiative, useful foods should be given to him gradually, trying to make him like it, and avoiding harmful foods should be done slowly without squeezing the child.
This treatment process is a long-term treatment based on behavior change that requires patience. Dear parents, you may get angry during this process, but stay calm and try to reach the result with slow progress. Remember, everything has a time.

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