Mediterranean diet may influence ADHD

Spanish researchers recently published an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ academic journal Pediatrics that shows a possible connection between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and prevalence of ADHD in children and adolescents.

The researchers studied 120 children and teenagers (60 who had been diagnosed with ADHD and 60 controls). They measured dietary intake, adherence to a Mediterranean diet, and familial background. Then they used logistic regression to determine any association between ADHD and adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

They discovered that the less participants adhered to a Mediterranean diet, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with ADHD.

So, what constitutes a Mediterranean diet? Well, in this case, it referred to diets that included the following:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Rice

Something else researchers noted was that not only was not following a Mediterranean diet connected to having ADHD, but so were the following dietary habits:

  • Skipping breakfast
  • Eating fast food
  • High consumption of sugar, candy, and soft drinks

While the researches caution about concluding causality in this study, they also point out the importance of considering whole diets rather than specific nutrients in addressing ADHD:

Although these cross-sectional associations do not establish causality, they raise the question of whether low adherence to a Mediterranean diet might play a role in ADHD development. Our data support the notion that not only “specific nutrients” but also the “whole diet” should be considered in ADHD.

Once again, research shows the connection between mental health and nutrition.