|Diet, ADHD, Disease, Stroke and Heart Attacks. How Little We Know!|
You do not read much about diet for ADHD or for other health conditions because we are only now learning about the specific diet interventions that prevent medical illness. Today, doctors mention diets only in passing (if they mention them at all) and part of the reason for this is that diet studies are notoriously difficult to perform (we lie or forget about what we eat) and diet changes, in our culture, are extremely difficult to stick with. If they were not, less than 74% of us would be overweight.
The New England Journal of Medicine just published the results of a study that looked at how effectively the Mediterranean diet prevented heart disease or stroke in people such as smokers who were at high risk of developing heart problems. After five years, the study was stopped and the researchers concluded that a diet rich in either extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduced the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by 30 percent.
This was a huge finding! This simple diet intervention brought about a very large reduction in cardiac and stroke risk. Medicines such as beta blockers that people at high risk for heart attacks are frequently prescribed do not reduce the risks by 30%, not even close.
Researchers have known for years that diets that are rich in vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, high in fiber, fish and vegetables protect us against obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and some brain disorders. Most nutritionist believe that there are multiple factors in diets such as the Mediterranean diet that makes them beneficial. This study is one of many that in attempting to drill down on the exact reason for these health benefits. While this study was able to single out tree nuts and extra virgin olive oil as being a key component contributing to health benefits, many scientists agree that taking vitamins, mineral or supplements will not replace the synergistic effect of all the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients contained in a whole foods diet.
It may not only be the nutritious components of foods that affects health, some scientists believe that hidden food sensitivities are making us fat, diabetic, prone to heart disease and prone to ADHD. According to the well respected INCA study, the diet that has proven to be most helpful for ADHD is a diet that is very anti-allergenic and almost Paleo like. The INCA ADHD Restricted diet study
allowed kids to eat only rice meat, vegetables, pears, and water. After nine weeks, greater than 65% of the kids that consumed the restricted diet had reductions in both oppositional and ADHD symptoms. Some researchers have looked at the Omega-3 fatty acids and have found that this supplement helps ADHD but most studies have found that supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids without reducing the amount of bad fatty acids consumed, will do little for the symptoms of ADHD.
With rates of obesity, diabetes and ADHD skyrocketing, the medical research community is finally taking a very close look at how and what we are eating is effecting our health. We need to know more. This research cannot be completed soon enough!