Help Your Child Focus Naturally

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is thought to affect between three to five percent of children. Many take prescription drugs to address symptoms associated with ADHD. According to an editorial in the British Medical Journal, eliminating artificial color additives and preservatives from the diets of children diagnosed with ADHD should be considered part of the standard treatment. Of course you should consult your pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s treatment for ADHD, but since diet is heavily linked to child’s focus issues some dietary changes could naturally increase your child’s focus in school. Consider one of these suggestions:

  • Skip foods that aggravate mental focus

    Foods with refined sugar, too many carbohydrates, and corn syrup are said to aggravate ADHD. Food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, and caffeine found in sodas can make focusing difficult. Additionally, essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency has been linked to ADHD in many cases. So skip the junk food, processed foods, and sodas. If you think your child could have EFA, try using flax seed oil. Add flax seeds to smoothies or oatmeal.

  • Make sure your child eats breakfast

    A hungry child has trouble focusing. When blood sugars are low brain function decreases. Serve your child whole foods like fruits, oatmeal, and whole grain toasts. On a special day, try my sweet potato pancakes:

    • Sweet Potatoes Pancakes
      1 cup grated organic sweet potatoes, roasted and mashed
      3/4 cup whole organic wheat flour
      1 tbsp sugar
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp sea salt
      2 tbsp olive oilBeat all of the ingredients together until smooth.Pour mixture into skillet with olive oil until the mixture is brown on one side (it will bubble). Do the same with the other side.Serve with good quality organic butter and real maple syrup. Serves 3
  • Pack your kid’s lunch

    This is the easiest way to ensure that your child isn’t eating tons of additives. Here’s a guide to packing a greener lunch.

  • Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

    By Sara Novak, Planet Green


    William C
    William Cabout a year ago

    Thank you.

    W. C
    W. Cabout a year ago


    W. C
    W. Cabout a year ago

    Thank you.

    Heidi H.
    Past Member 5 years ago

    It isn't difficult to eat good, healthy food. In fact, a good salad is made in less time than it takes to heat a ready meal in a microwave.

    Lisa A.
    Lisa A8 years ago

    My nephew has ADHD, and yes, caffeinated soft drinks do temporarily help him-- but there are healthier things we could give him that also contain caffeine-- such as organic green or especially black tea, sweetened with Stevia, that I'm sure would still help him focus as well as colas. He loves iced tea tremendously, but his parents tend to limit him on that.

    I truly believe he has some heavy metals in him - like aluminum and mercury -- from all of the tons of vaccines he received when he was an orphan in Russia, and then new ones required when he came to the U.S. When he was three, he had a constant facial tic. With proper nutrition, we noticed the tic went away. Arent' facial tics a sign of nuerological issues?

    He loves apples and would go out of his way to eat raw apples when in the U.S. Raw apples have a toxin cleansing affect, and do gradually --slowly-- chelate out some heavy metals, so I wonder if his body was craving them for that reason.

    Naturally the entire medical establishment would totally brush the idea of vaccinations as a possible indirect cause for ADHD in some children, but that doesnt sway my opinion. I think there is a tie-in. With some children, perhaps, their systems are strong enough to withstand thimerasol preservatives in vaccines, but in others, it may be the "straw that breaks the camels' back."

    Sherry Paschal
    Sherry Paschal8 years ago

    Thanks for the info on the essential fatty acids. I'll have to see if that gives my teen "adult and myself a boost with the focus. I have to agree with the first post. Caffiene has the opposite effect on an ADHD brain that it does on the general population. It helps slow our brains down so we can focus on one thing at a time instead of flitting from one thing to another with the attention span the size of a gnat. Unfortunately, caffiene isn't quite stong enough to sustain this like the meds are. The bad thing about the stuff that has caffiene in it is the corn syrup in soda isn't processed properly by our bodies like regular sugar, it's been found to have mercury in it and the corn from which the high fructose corn suryp comes has been breed that way & specifically selected for that property a sort of genetic manipulation of a food crop. Another problem with soda is the phosphoric acid used in the cola drinks. It leaches calcium from your bones. A large number of sodas now have sodium benzoate in them which is a nasty preservative that can do damage to cells at the dna level. So while caffine in of itself is actually beneficial to those of us with ADHD, the usual delivery mechanism has it's own poisons. (Diet drinks are even worse with the artificial sweeteners being horrible for ADHD & the high sodium in one of those drinks isn't good for anybody)

    Nancy G.
    Nancy Goetz8 years ago

    Your post has a mix of good ideas and things that are just ideas that don't match up with reality. Please check your facts better. Caffeine is NOT a deterrant to focusing in ADHD. As a stimulant it has just the opposite effect and drugs like Ritalin work by their stimulating effect as well. This is real basic knowledge in ADHD. There are also only certain sodas that contain caffeine, including the colas and Mountain Dew, which would help in focusing. The sugar content is another issue, supposedly not documented in the studies to have an effect, but I have my doubts. There is such a thing as biochemical individuality.
    Re: the artificial coloring and additives, an editorial does not science make. I have not read the editorial but have seen the results of some studies. Studies have shown that there is a small percentage of children that are affected by these ingredients. (Probably adults as well). It is easy to figure out as the effect is fairly quick. So if you or your child is one of them, then by all means eliminate them from the diet. This is not always an easy thing to do, especially in social situations. So if you or your child is not affected then why insist on this restriction? I don't recommend them for general health reasons, but do not believe in arbitray restrictions if they do not apply to you. Life for the parent of an ADHD chid is is hard enough without added pressure for a strict diet if it does not even work.

    Justine Schulz
    Justine Schulz8 years ago

    I will definitely try that sweet potato pancakes recipe

    SA P.
    Andy Morgan8 years ago

    Thank you for the info. Though some in my family are gluten sensitive, I like the recipe & will attempt to modify it with wheat free alternative mix :).

    Cheryl B.
    Cheryl B8 years ago

    Thanks for the info