`Mediterranean Diet Might Mitigate ADHD in Children, Study Suggests - Olive Oil Times


Mediterranean Diet Might Mitigate ADHD in Children, Study Suggests

By Paolo DeAndreis
Feb. 10, 2022 09:51 UTC

A new study sug­gests that adher­ing to the Mediterranean diet might cur­tail the worst episodes con­nected to atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der (ADHD).

Research out of Iran shows that chil­dren who have been diag­nosed with ADHD might find in the extra vir­gin olive oil-cen­tered eat­ing pro­gram a pre­cious ally.

Higher adher­ence to a Mediterranean diet con­tain­ing veg­eta­bles, legumes, fruits and nuts, grains, and fish could decrease the odds of ADHD in pri­mary school chil­dren.- Shahid Sadughi University of Medical Sciences reser­achers, 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than six mil­lion chil­dren under 17 years of age are diag­nosed with ADHD in the United States each year.

ADHD is a child­hood neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­der, which, in many cases, lasts into adult­hood. ADHD patients often have trou­ble focus­ing and pay­ing atten­tion, might be sub­ject to uncon­trol­lable impul­sive behav­iors, enter a state of extreme active­ness and take unnec­es­sary risks.

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They can squirm, fid­get and not get along with oth­ers. Similar epi­demi­o­log­i­cal data are found in many other coun­tries.

The study was pub­lished in Clinical Nutrition by a team of nutri­tion researchers at Shahid Sadughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran. They inves­ti­gated the asso­ci­a­tion between adher­ence to the MedDiet and odds of ADHD in Iranian chil­dren.

The researchers ana­lyzed the nutri­tional behav­iors and men­tal con­di­tions of 360 chil­dren aged 7 to 13 years old. One hun­dred twenty of them, diag­nosed with ADHD, were assigned to a first group, while the oth­ers were part of two con­trol groups.

To pro­ceed with the screen­ing and ver­ify the ADHD diag­no­sis, sci­en­tists used the pro­ce­dures described by the Diagnostic and sta­tis­ti­cal man­ual of men­tal dis­or­ders” pub­lished by the American Psychiatric Association.

A val­i­dated food fre­quency ques­tion­naire was used to mea­sure food intake,” the research reads, while the asso­ci­a­tion of adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet with the odds ratio of ADHD [has been] exam­ined by logis­tic regres­sion.”

The researchers adjusted the data for poten­tial con­founders,” includ­ing par­ents’ edu­ca­tional level, fam­ily eco­nomic sta­tus and ADHD his­tory, phys­i­cal activ­ity and energy intake.

The results showed that the chil­dren in the high­est ter­tile of adher­ence to MedDiet had lower odds of hav­ing ADHD when com­pared to the chil­dren in the low­est.

In addi­tion, an asso­ci­a­tion was observed between increas­ing trend adher­ence to Mediterranean diet and decrease odds of ADHD after full adjust­ments,” the sci­en­tists wrote.

In a recent paper pub­lished by Scientific Reports, a research team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands con­firmed the role of food intake in address­ing ADHD insur­gence.

See Also:Mediterranean Diet Linked With Long-Term Health Benefits for Teenagers

In their study, con­ducted on boys of 8 to 10 years of age, the sci­en­tists exam­ined the results of dietary lim­i­ta­tion and inter­ven­tions, some focus­ing on intro­duc­ing olive oil, with results show­ing reduced ADHD symp­toms.

Even with their dif­fer­ent approach to a broader under­stand­ing of ADHD insur­gence, both stud­ies con­firm pre­vi­ous research, which had also asso­ci­ated reduced ADHD with Mediterranean diet adher­ence.

Research con­ducted in 2017 in Spain on 120 chil­dren between 6 and 16 years has shown that ADHD-diag­nosed young­sters can sig­nif­i­cantly ben­e­fit from a healthy diet.


More specif­i­cally, the researchers from the University of Barcelona found that those par­tic­i­pants who did not closely adhere to MedDiet had a three to seven times greater risk of ADHD.

Examining that study’s results, Michael Wald, direc­tor of longevity ser­vices at Integrated Nutrition in Mount Kisco, New York, told Olive Oil Times that ADHD is known to involve abnor­mal­i­ties in the cell mem­brane struc­ture of brain neu­rons.”

These cells are partly com­posed of unsat­u­rated fat that includes omega‑3 fatty acids, which pro­vide neuro-pro­tec­tion and afford the brain and ner­vous sys­tem the abil­ity to self-cor­rect,” he added. The MedDiet is par­tic­u­larly high in healthy fat, as it includes the omega‑3 fatty acids from fish, along with the monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids found in avo­ca­dos and olive oil.”

These fats become incor­po­rated into the brains of those with ADHD, poten­tially improv­ing mem­ory, atten­tion, mood, behav­ior and even learn­ing,” Wald con­cluded.

Nutrition’s role in cur­tail­ing ADHD is seen as a pri­or­ity by researchers. The sci­en­tific team of the Wageningen University spec­i­fied in their paper how gen­er­ally pre­scribed drugs for ADHD are not effec­tive 24 hours per day and can cause sleep­ing prob­lems, decreased appetite, headache and stom­ach-ache, fre­quently result­ing in dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of the med­ica­tion.”

Therefore, novel treat­ments, prefer­ably aim­ing at the under­ly­ing trig­gers or causes of ADHD, are needed,” they added.

The Iranian research team has also stressed the grow­ing evi­dence of how a healthy nutri­tion reg­i­men can sig­nif­i­cantly address ADHD.

We found that higher adher­ence to a Mediterranean diet con­tain­ing veg­eta­bles, legumes, fruits and nuts, grains, and fish could decrease the odds of ADHD in pri­mary school chil­dren. Further stud­ies are sug­gested to approve our vision,” the researchers con­cluded.


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