Nutrition and Mental Health
Put it into perspective. Whether you are awake or asleep, your brain is always working hard to take care of your thoughts and movements, your breathing and heartbeat, and your senses. The brain requires a constant supply of fuel in order to function. "Fuel" comes from the foods that you consume - and what is in that fuel makes all the difference. In a nutshell, your diet has a direct impact on the structure and function of your brain and, in turn, your mood.
Here are some ways in which diet may potentially impact ADHD symptoms:
Balanced and Nutrient-Rich Diet: Following a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods can support overall brain health and potentially improve ADHD symptoms indirectly. Ensure that the diet includes:
Fruits and vegetables: These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support brain function.
Whole grains: Complex carbohydrates from whole grains provide a steady release of glucose, which is the brain's primary source of energy.
Lean proteins: Foods like fish, poultry, legumes, and nuts contain amino acids necessary for producing neurotransmitters, which affect attention and focus.
Healthy fats: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts may have a positive impact on brain health.
A well-rounded diet helps provide the necessary nutrients for optimal brain function and may improve attention, focus, and overall well-being.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), found in fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts, may have a modest positive effect on ADHD symptoms. Omega-3 supplementation or increasing intake of omega-3-rich foods may be considered, but it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance.
Blood Sugar Regulation: Stable blood sugar levels can improve focus and attention. Consuming regular meals and snacks that combine complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can help regulate blood sugar levels. Avoiding excessive sugary foods and refined carbohydrates that can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes may also be beneficial.
Identifying Food Sensitivities: Some individuals with ADHD may have specific food sensitivities or allergies that can exacerbate their symptoms. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods can help reduce discomfort and potential worsening of symptoms. Working with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or allergist, can assist in identifying potential food sensitivities or allergies through controlled elimination diets or allergy testing.
Caffeine and Stimulant Foods: While stimulant medications like methylphenidate and amphetamines are commonly prescribed for ADHD, excessive consumption of caffeine or stimulant foods (e.g., energy drinks, sugary snacks) may have a negative impact on symptoms. It is advisable to moderate caffeine intake and limit the consumption of highly processed foods and sugary snacks.
Collaborative Approach: It is essential to involve healthcare professionals, such as paediatricians, psychiatrists, and registered dietitians, when considering dietary modifications for managing ADHD symptoms. They can provide personalised guidance, monitor progress, and ensure that any dietary changes are safe, appropriate, and integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan.
Remember that ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, and while diet can play a role in symptom management, it should be used as part of a holistic approach that includes appropriate medical and behavioural interventions. Consulting with healthcare professionals will help create an individualised plan that considers specific needs and considerations for managing ADHD symptoms.
During this time, I focus on getting to know you and a better understanding of your nutrition-related goals.
I will ask you to walk me through what a typical day looks like in terms of how, when, and what you eat. In keeping with a holistic approach, I also spend some time discussing overall mental health, sleep habits, and exercise.
After all, nutrition, mental health, sleep, and physical activity are all very connected. I provide some basic nutrition education and then encourage you to set a small goal that I will help you achieve.
FOLLOW UP APPOINTMENTS
Follow-up appointments can range in time from thirty minutes to one hour and provide a touch- base point to discuss successes and challenges, further nutrition education, as well as setting additional goals.
For those clients who wish to focus specifically on Intuitive Eating, this is a lifelong journey with many principles to learn and practice along the way. My aim is to provide support, accountability, and additional information/education.
CELENE WINTERTON : Registered Dietitian
I graduated from the University of Alberta with my degree in Nutrition and Food Science in 2005. I have been working as a Registered Dietitian since 2012. More recently, I completed my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2021. I have had the opportunity to work in several different settings as a dietitian including the University of Alberta Hospital, as a self-employed private dietitian, for a pain management clinic, and for primary care.
When I meet with a client for the first time, my focus is to get a better understanding of what it is they are looking for. Change comes from within and must be client-driven. I’m here to provide practical tips, nutrition information, and suggestions based on the best and most current science-based evidence available to us.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I will help you to cultivate a healthy relationship with food and your body. My approach is anti-diet, weight-neutral, and HAES® aligned (health at every size). I believe in an ‘all-foods fit’ approach, focusing on changing behaviors, one small step at a time. I also have experience working with eating disorders and disordered eating, diabetes management, picky eating, digestive health, celiac disease, and vegetarian and vegan nutrition. I’m also great at providing just general nutrition support!
Initial Assessments typically take one hour. During this time, I focus on getting to know you and a better understanding of your nutrition-related goals. I will ask you to walk me through what a typical day looks like in terms of how, when, and what you eat. In keeping with a holistic approach, I also spend some time discussing overall mental health, sleep habits, and exercise. After all, nutrition, mental health, sleep, and physical activity are all very connected. I provide some basic nutrition education and then encourage you to set a small goal that I will help you achieve.
Follow-up appointments can range in time from twenty minutes to one hour and provide a touch-base point to discuss successes and challenges, further nutrition education, as well as setting additional goals. For those clients who wish to focus specifically on Intuitive Eating, this is a lifelong journey with many principles to learn and practice along the way. My aim is to provide support, accountability, and additional information/education.