If you are the parent of a hyperactive little child, chances are you that you are searching for ways to direct your child’s enormous energies into something productive. A lot of outdoor play and exercise will definitely help your child get rid of that excess of energy. In addition, it is worth your while to change your child’s diet to see more visible changes in his/her behaviour.
Here are 5 foods that you can try to include in your diet to reduce your child’s hyperactivity and increase their attention span:
- Protein: Make sure your child is getting enough protein in his/her diet. Soya, lentils, dairy products, poultry, eggs, etc are all great sources of protein. Try to start the day with a protein-rich breakfast because proteins help to control blood sugar surges. Blood sugar surges increase hyperactivity.
- Multivitamins: A lot of picky eaters do not get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in their natural diet. In such cases, supplement their diet with multivitamin syrups and chews. There are studies that have shown that children with low levels of Vitamin B tend to be more aggressive and have lower IQ scores than after they start receiving vitamin supplements. If your child is willing to eat healthier, increase your child’s portions of cooked vegetables and salads.
- Zinc: Low levels of zinc can result in children having difficulties in paying attention. You can discuss getting zinc supplements for your child with his/her paediatrician. However, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, toasted wheat germ (which can be added to your chapatti dough), lamb, chicken, spinach, cocoa and chocolate are all delicious sources of zinc.
- Iron: Iron is needed to control dopamine. Dopamine is called a “feel good” neurotransmitter. When released into the body, it makes a child feel satisfied, motivated and happy. It also helps children maintain their mood, stay focussed, improve their working memory and their muscle control. Chickpeas/Kabuli channa, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, all kinds of dried beans, lentils, spinach, sesame seeds, etc can give your child the iron he/she needs.
- Magnesium: Magnesium helps to calm the brain down. Again, while all multivitamin supplements can provide your child with their daily requirement of magnesium, it is best to increase magnesium levels through diet. Dark leafy greens like fenugreek (methi) and spinach, nuts and seeds, soya beans, bananas, dark chocolate, yogurt are all rich sources of magnesium.
While some children are inherently bursting at the seams in energy, children who are labelled hyperactive, have trouble paying attention and controlling their impulses. For such children a balanced diet with adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, and plenty of exercises are important. That and an established routine will help to reduce your child’s hyperactivity and improve their focus.