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ADHD Diet: Organic Diet

In today's highly-industrialized world, there is no shortage of chemical toxins in our atmosphere, environment, and food. A growing number of studies conclude that pesticides may be among the toxins that trigger a host of developmental problems in children, including attention deficit hyperactive disorder.   A study published in the December 2006 issue of the scientific journal Pediatrics revealed that children who had high levels of pesticides in their bloodstream had higher rates of psychomotor and cognitive developmental delays, and scored lower on age-specific intelligence tests.

Pesticides are formulated to damage the nervous system of insects, but the human brain happens to share some of the same neurotransmitters insects have.  When a child eats food contaminated with pesticides, the production of neurotransmitters becomes disrupted; that may lead to hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. The same thing happens for pregnant women who eat food contaminated by pesticide – the developing nervous system of the baby in utero may be damaged.  Although commercial pesticide manufacturers are required to prove that their products do not have chemicals that will cause cancer or birth defects, there is no law that requires them to test for their neurological and chronic effects.  As a matter of fact, the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States has only tested nine out of 350 commercial pesticides used on important food crops like soy, wheat, and corn!

For these reasons, going on an organic diet has benefitted many children suffering from ADHD.  Organic diet restricts all foods to organically-grown produce, meaning fruits and vegetables grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and farm animals raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and anti-parasite drugs. A study done by Emory University put children with high levels of pesticides on an organic diet, and discovered that the pesticide levels of their blood were lowered until they were virtually undetectable.  The obvious result is that children with learning and behavioral difficulties benefit from switching to an organic diet and detoxification program.

It is easy to do an organic diet on your own, especially now that the organic food industry is booming.  The most important foods to buy organically are rice, corn, soy, wheat, baby food, oats, milk, bananas, and apples. When doing groceries, look for fruits, vegetables, and meat with labels that say "certified organic." You may encounter labels such as "naturally grown" and "all-natural". These are fine as well, but they are not the same as certified organic foods, which have to comply with strict regulations and standards.  Producers need to be certified by a USDA-accredited agent before they can sell or label their products as "certified organic", "organic", or "100% organic."

You may also want to enhance your child's organic diet by eliminating processed food and food items with artificial additives. These foods have a lot of chemicals and synthetic ingredients that are known to aggravate ADHD in children.  Since one of the purposes of going on an organic diet is to remove the toxins, additives, and pesticides that hamper your child's development, eliminating these foods may help improve your child's behavior and school performance.