Have you tried any of the “superfoods” that have been getting lots of press lately? I am pretty crazy sometimes about getting really good nutrition into my two boys with ADHD and I love how the superfoods can really add a big boost to just about anything! I’ve tried many of them and for our family, I’ve found the Best Superfoods for ADHD.
I am convinced that what my ADHD kiddos eat can really shape how they feel and act. They do well with a basic, healthy breakfast and lunch, for sure. But superfoods have been making a huge comeback and are so readily available, I’ve been using them for awhile now. With so many great options that can give my boys an even greater nutritional punch, who can argue against using these amazing, nutrient-dense foods.
I’ll give you inside look into which of these amazing foods we’ve found to be the best superfoods for adhd – and the entire family will benefit!
What makes a superfood… SUPER?
Superfoods are foods that contain significantly higher quantities of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other brain-boosting, body-loving ingredients than most other foods. Super foods are found in nature and have been around for thousands of years. Although I am not brand loyal, I do buy organic whenever possible. It’s best to get these powerful foods in their organic form to make sure there are not pesky toxins to negate all their positive qualities.
So, just what are, in my opinion, the best superfoods for ADHD? Here, in no particular order, are my boy’s favorites:
ADHD Superfood #1 – Chia Seeds
Once used by the Ancient Incans and Mayans as a dietary staple, these tiny seeds have been gaining in popularity in our modern culture, as well. And for good reason. A 2 Tablespoon serving of chia seeds gives you 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 5 grams of Omega 3’s(remember how good these fats are for your brain?).
If that’s not enough to sell you, this small serving provides 30% of your daily dose of magnesium(relaxes, remember?) and phosphorus. Magnesium calms the nervous system and fights depression and is involved in over 600 reactions in our body.
How I get Chia Seeds in our diet.
Chia seeds mix easily into many foods we already eat, like yogurt or oatmeal. We have tried chia puddings, but my kids tend to not like the slimy texture chia seeds get when they soak. I’ve had the most success putting them into baked goods, like our cowboy cookies or baked oatmeal. They are easy to add into a gluten free cake mix, as well.
ADHD Superfood #2 – Hemp Seeds
I first came across hemp seeds when I was trying to get more protein in my kids diet. Neither of my kids are real meat lovers, and we are super low on dairy, so I needed a good plant source for protein. Hemp seeds pack a good protein punch – and thats just for starters.
A two tablespoon serving provides 5 grams of protein, 300 mg. of potassium(close to one banana!) plus lots of vitamin A and iron. They are also filled with lots of good fats – Omega 3’s and 6’s – which we know are great for ADHD brains.
How I get hemp seeds in our diet.
Hemp seeds are easy to get in because they have such a mild, nutty flavor. I primarily bake with them because they are simple to add to my baked oatmeal, cookies, or granola bars. I also add them to yogurt, sprinkle over salads, add them to our oatmeal sundaes or press them into a peanut butter sandwich.
ADHD Superfood #3 – Cacao Powder
This is hands down my ADHD kiddos favorite superfood! It makes everything taste so decadent!! Cacao is very different from the cocoa powder of my youth. Cacao is the unprocessed version of cocoa, which means it’s kept all the goodness and has no added pesky chemicals. Ancient cultures called this the drink of the God’s – and for good reason!
Cacao is immensely helpful in boosting the brain’s feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine – two chemical ADHDer’s typically struggle to produce. Cacao also improves brain function and has a very high iron content – a nutrient typically low in kids with ADHD.
How I get Cacao Powder into our diet
Its a no brainer to get raw cacao powder into my kids diet! I make energy balls every week with cacao for easy, on the go breakfasts or snacks. The whole family loves raw cacao in smoothies(I can pack a ton of greens when I add about two tablespoons of cacao). or just stir it into yogurt. It also makes a mean, avocado mousse.
ADHD Superfood #4 – Maca Root
While Maca powder is kind of new to us, it’s been on the superfood scene for thousands of years. Part of the cabbage family, it’s most commonly grown in the mountainous regions of Peru.
To be honest, I started using maca for myself to balance my own hormones, but soon heard about all of its other benefits. There’s so much more that makes this a great ADHD Superfood.
Maca is an adaptogen herb which means it not only promotes your overall well-being, but it helps your nervous system more easily adapt to new situations, as well. Maca can help promote emotional well-being and boost memory – all things my kids struggle with.
Maca Root also helps to reduce cortisol levels, which is so helpful if you have an ADHD kiddo like mine who is in fight or flight mode on a daily basis.
How I get Maca Root into our diet
Maca Root is most commonly found ground into a fine powder. Its taste and smell are very pleasant, almost ginger or cinnamon-like.
I add it to our baked oatmeal and cookies, as well as put it into smoothies. The powder is easily added to almost energy ball recipe, too.
ADHD Superfood #5 – Flax Seed Meal
Flax has been used for its healing and nutritive powers since 650 B.C. and is probably the superfood that was first popularized in our modern culture.
Flax seed meal(make sure to grind the seeds yourself or purchase them ground) is high in essential fatty acids which are a great foundation for a healthy diet. There have been many studies which have linked an increase in essential fatty acids to an improvement in the symptoms of ADHD.
Gut health is being touted as an important thing for everyone, and may be a link to most chronic illnesses, including ADHD. Researchers are finding out that an unhealthy gut can cause issues for our emotions and brain functioning. Flax seeds are very high in fiber which keeps things moving along in our gut.
How I get flax seed meal into our diet
Like hemp seeds, flax seed meal is a pretty painless add-in. It’s nutty and mild and fairly undetectable in baked goods or oatmeal. I sprinkle it on pancakes (we called it sprinkles when my kids were little and it sounds like a treat, doesn’t it?) and stir it into yogurt, too.
ADHD Superfood # 6 – Nutritional Yeast
I will be honest and say that I do not eat this myself. It kind of grosses me out. But my kids LOVE it. They ask for it all the time,in fact and I feed it to them freely!
Nutritional yeast is grown on molasses (or the like) and then harvested and heated, so it stops growing. It’s then crumbled into flakes and packaged for sale.
Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, which means it has all 18 amino acids. It also is loaded with B vitamins, which help keep a stable mood and alleviate depression . Nutritional yeast also has loads of trace minerals such as zinc and selenium which aid the function of the brain.
How I get Nutritional Yeast into my kids diet.
My kids use Nutritional Yeast as you would parmesan cheese – sprinkled on pastas, soups and salads. They also love it on buttered toast!
If you eat popcorn, it’s great sprinkled on when the corn is hot.
I’m excited to hear which superfoods you like the best! Many of you will remember the craze of sneaking healthy foods into kids meals – While not a horrible idea, I was never a huge fan of it…seemed like a lot of work. I want my kids to learn to eat the healthy stuff without me pulling one over on them.
10 years later and the idea of upping the nutritional value in foods is still in vogue – only now it makes more sense because of a whole host of super foods. I love adding an extra punch for my kiddos with ADHD in everything from baked goodies to oatmeal to smoothies. Theses new superfoods add a ton of value and most mix in seamlessly – no need to hide them from anyone.