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Nutritional Approach to ADHD & Overall Brain Health

Where do we start?


  • ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the central nervous system and involves symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

  • ADHD affects 5% of children and 4% of adults in Canada.

  • Research shows that nutrition plays an important role in reducing the severity of symptoms.*

  • Including whole, healthy, unprocessed, good-quality sources of protein, fibre, healthy fats and oils, fruit, veggies and whole grains can bolster brain and gut health, leading to happier, healthier children and families.

  • Balancing blood sugar and optimizing brain health will help to support all areas of your child's well-being and may reduce cognitive and behavioural symptoms of ADHD, as supported by research.*


Focus on supporting neurotransmitter production (specifically, dopamine) in the brain, bolstering healthy gut microbiota and balancing blood sugar levels are the 3 keys to helping your child support overall brain health.

1. Probiotics

Support healthy gut microbiome, needed to maintain gut health, absorption of nutrients and elimination of neurotoxins.

2. Essential Fatty Acids

Supports cell membrane integrity to bolster overall brain function.

3. Fibre

Aids the digestive system in the process of nutrient absorption and the elimination of harmful neurotoxins in support of healthy brain function.

4. Protein

Associated with attentiveness and focus. Required to build and repair tissues and also balances blood sugar to stabilize mood.

5. Magnesium

Supports growth, immune system function, neurotransmitter and nerve function, has a calming effect and stabilizes mood.

6. Vitamin C

A crucial antioxidant, combats infection, helps to eliminate many environmental & food toxins as well as supporting collagen generation for growth and repair to support overall brain health.


The reduction of ADHD symptoms and support of brain health primarily centres around reducing the toxic load on the body by preventing neurotoxins from entering the brain and disrupting neurotransmitter function (especially dopamine production). By eliminating foods that may have an allergenic or sensitivity potential or intolerance, we may be able to reduce the symptom trigger. Consuming foods low in refined sugars may also help to stabilize mood and reduce hyperactivity behaviours.

1. Refined Sugar & Refined Carbs

These spike blood sugars resulting in a sugar-low afterwards. Low blood glucose levels have a negative effect on mood, impulsive behaviour, focus and attention.*

2. Artificial Colours, Flavours, Preservatives (Especially Sodium Benzoate) & MSG

Considered excitotoxins (chemicals that reach the brain and overstimulate neurotransmitters) when eliminated, studies demonstrate a positive impact on mood and behaviour of those with ADHD.*

3. Partially Hydrogenated Oils/Trans Fats

These take the place of healthy fats in the cell membrane, hardening them and resulting in poor nutrient absorption, directly affecting the function and development of the brain.*

4. Non-Organic Processed Meats

Contain nitrates, a preservative that restricts oxygen transport in the body and also converts to carcinogenic nitrosamines, increasing neurotoxic load and affecting brain function.*

5. Dairy

Another possible sensitivity or allergy that may be associated with ADHD. Contains the protein casein, which may initiate inflammatory reactions in those sensitive to it, as well as lactose, a sugar that raises blood glucose levels, further encouraging ADHD symptoms.*

6. Gluten

There may a possible association with gluten sensitivity or allergy with ADHD. This may lead to impaired digestion, exposure to neurotoxins and affect overall brain function.*


  • Always offer a protein or healthy fat with a carbohydrate (fruit, veggie or whole grain) to balance blood sugar. For example, suggest apple slices with a side of sunflower seed or cashew butter or mashed avocado on gluten-free rice cakes.

  • In a smoothie, ramp up the protein by adding an organic vanilla-flavoured protein powder, spinach, hemp seeds and a little coconut kefir. They won't even notice!

  • Blend or food-process veggies like zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato, and add them to your usual spaghetti sauce, chilli or even chicken soup!

  • Mix in a little quinoa with whole-grain brown rice. It cooks in the same proportions and adds a protein punch!

  • Nutritional yeast is your new best friend. Sprinkle it on pasta, soups, salads, steamed veggies, cooked meats, and basically anything savoury to increase the nutrient value of every meal.

  • Always ask yourself: "How can I jam more nutrition into this meal?" Puree, chop, grate...whatever it takes to get those nutrients in!


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