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Could your Diet be messing with your head?

The relationship between processed food consumption and the body, specifically in terms of insulin levels and brain function, is intricate. High intake of processed foods can elevate insulin levels, which negatively impacts brain health and cognitive function. This connection between diet, insulin regulation, and brain wellness is crucial. Various studies underline the effects on metabolic health and mental capabilities, providing deep insights into the interaction between processed food consumption, insulin dynamics, and brain health. This topic is widely explored in scientific literature, offering comprehensive understanding and evidence.

Creating a detailed diet guide tailored to improve brain health and alleviate symptoms of ADHD involves a focus on nutrient-rich foods, particularly those high in protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and hydration while avoiding processed foods. Here’s how to structure this diet:

Breakfast (High-Protein Focus):

  • Aim for: Starting the day with high-protein foods can help improve concentration and extend the effectiveness of ADHD medications.

  • Foods to Include: Eggs (scrambled, boiled, poached), lean meats like chicken or turkey, Greek yogurt, or smoothies with protein powder and nuts. Add whole grains like oats or whole grain toast for fibre.

  • Example Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms, a side of whole grain toast, and a handful of almonds.

Mid-Morning Snack:

  • Aim for: A protein-rich snack to maintain energy levels and focus.

  • Foods to Include: A small handful of nuts, a piece of cheese, or a hard-boiled egg.

  • Example Snack: A small apple with a tablespoon of almond butter.

Lunch (Balanced Focus):

  • Aim for: A balance of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

  • Foods to Include: Grilled chicken or fish, a large salad with lots of vegetables, olive oil dressing, and a side of quinoa or brown rice.

  • Example Lunch: Grilled salmon salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and a vinaigrette dressing.

Afternoon Snack:

  • Aim for: Another opportunity for a high-protein snack to support afternoon focus and activities.

  • Foods to Include: Greek yogurt, a protein shake, or a small portion of mixed nuts.

  • Example Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus.

Dinner (Complex Carbohydrates Focus):

  • Aim for: Incorporate more complex carbohydrates towards the evening to help with sleep.

  • Foods to Include: Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Include a lean protein source and a complex carbohydrate like whole grain pasta, beans, or legumes.

  • Example Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with a side of sweet potato mash and steamed green beans.

Evening Snack (Optional):

  • Aim for: If needed, a small, carbohydrate-rich snack can help promote sleep.

  • Foods to Include: A small bowl of mixed berries, a few slices of apple, or a small portion of whole grain crackers.

  • Example Snack: A small pear or a few slices of kiwi.


  • Throughout the Day: Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining energy levels and cognitive function.

Healthy Fats and Omega-3s:

  • Daily: Incorporate sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as they are beneficial for brain health.

  • Foods to Include: Add flaxseeds or chia seeds to your morning smoothie, eat fish like salmon or mackerel several times a week, snack on walnuts or Brazil nuts, and use olive or canola oil in cooking.

  • Supplementation: Consider an omega-3 supplement if you're not getting enough from your diet.

Avoiding Processed Foods:

  • Why: Processed foods often contain additives, preservatives, and high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats that can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. They can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, affecting energy and concentration.

  • How: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Prepare meals from scratch as much as possible, and read labels to avoid foods with added sugars and preservatives.

General Tips:

  • Plan meals and snacks in advance to avoid the temptation of fast food or processed snacks.

  • Keep healthy snacks readily available to manage hunger and maintain focus.

  • Be mindful of portion sizes to maintain overall health and energy levels.

Remember, dietary changes should complement other treatment strategies for ADHD, such as medication, coaching and regular physical activity. It's also important to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have any health conditions or dietary restrictions.

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