Can I Manage ADHD Through Diet and Exercise? ADHD Treatment Programs

Can I Manage ADHD Through Diet and Exercise? ADHD Treatment Programs

Poor diet and lack of exercise can intensify the symptoms of ADHD. Making the switch to a holistic diet and partaking in regular physical activity drastically reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the underlying indicators of ADHD. Individuals who follow a healthy diet and exercise plan are able to better manage their ADHD. When it comes to effective, ADHD Treatment Programs, Wilderness therapy, is also considered to be a highly effective solution.


ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting over six million American youths—almost 10% of school children—many of which carry it forward into adulthood. ADHD is categorized into three types, which are:

  • Inattentive ADHD (formerly known as ADD)
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
  • Combined ADHD

The symptoms used to diagnose ADHD can manifest in a variety of combinations within an individual. Those who suffer from ADHD exhibit their symptoms over an extended period of time, and to a degree that they begin to interfere with the individual’s mental development and ability to interact socially.

ADHD and the effects of poor diet

ADHD is made better or worse with diet. Processed foods, gluten, sugar, artificial coloring and flavoring, lack of vitamins and minerals, all inflate the symptoms of ADHD. Lack of physical activity only adds to the problem. A successful approach to treatment must take this into account.

Sugar: Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity are all increased with the intake of refined sugars. Sugar deprives the body of vitamins and minerals and prevents blood sugar levels from remaining stable.

Gluten: Many psychological and behavioral symptoms of gluten intolerance overlap with the indicators for ADHD, such as irritability and feeling fidgety. Removing gluten from the diet has resulted in significant improvements in behavior and ability to think.

Artificial Coloring/ Food dyes: Some studies have indicated that ingesting food dyes can trigger or exaggerate the symptoms of ADHD, particularly red dyes.  Eliminating food dye has been shown in some children to lessen the symptoms, especially hyperactivity.

Lack of vitamins and minerals: With the current average diet, most children are deficient in vitamins and minerals. B6 is needed to make and use the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine—all chemicals that are out of balance in ADHD sufferers. Magnesium deficiency is characterized by irritability, decreased attention span and confusion, which again are underlying symptoms of ADHD. Omega-3 fatty acids are related to cognitive functioning. Zinc regulates brain activity and melatonin, which is linked to behavior. Addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies in a child can have positive impacts on reducing the symptoms of ADHD.

Physical Activity: Exercising outdoors is extremely beneficial to sufferers of ADHD. Sunshine, air, and exercise relieves stress, boosts mood, calms the mind and reduces feelings of aggression, all of which help to manage ADHD. Regular exercise also works to directly impact the symptoms of ADHD by improving alertness, concentration and general cognitive abilities.

The introduction of proper diet and physical activity is an effective remedy in lessening, and even eliminating, the symptoms of ADHD. Under the appropriate guidance of medical and health professionals, it is possible that proper diet and exercise can sometimes even replace medication. Depending on the individual circumstances, a significant lifestyle change can replace the need for medication if the underlying cause of the ADHD is predominately environmental.

Wilderness therapy is highly effective in treating ADHD by incorporating holistic nutrition and physical activity into the overall program.

ADHD is a complicated disorder in which environmental and nutritional factors play major roles. Wilderness therapy is an effective tool in treating and managing ADHD because it addresses both these factors, as well as the behavioral aspects, in its all-encompassing approach to treatment. The improvements that individuals feel and their increased ability to self-manage when they are following a holistic dietary plan and engage in physical activity is motivation for individuals to continue making healthy food choices when they return home.

When seeking natural ADHD Treatment Programs, Wilderness therapy, can be an excellent solution. Call Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980 to learn how we can help.