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5 Foods to Feed Your Child With ADHD—and 5 to Avoid

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CHOOSE: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) Here is one fat you want your child to have: DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is the key to unlocking an ADHD child's brain. Studies have found that children with learning disorders, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, often have an EFA deficiency.The right kinds of fat are needed to help the brain fire information efficiently from synapse to synapse. An ADHD child experiences a miscommunication between brain cells, says clinical nutritionist Marcia Zimmerman. A message is fired, but not received, "so then it gets sucked back up into the neuron that sent it in the first place," says Zimmerman. The EFAs help the brain cells receive the messages sent between synapses, thus eliminating the chatter and preventing the sending neuron from scooping up its own message.  Fish, flax seeds and nuts are great sources of EFAs. (Try this ginger-roasted salmon recipe.) The specific EFA to look for is the omega-3 essential fatty acid DHA that's found in fish and some algae. Fish oil supplements are an efficient way to help your child get the amount he needs. DHA omega-3 eggs and other foods with DHA added to them are also good sources. EFAs from flax seed and other sources can work too, but the body needs to convert it into the form most advantageous for one's body, so they're a less efficient source. (How about some Fig 'n Flax Thumbprint Cookies?) Video: Could these foods trigger ADHD in kids?> By Jean Weiss for MSN Health & Fitness
© Boy eating salmon dinner (© Corbis)
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