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Focus on Folate: Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, & Herbs

This week we have been focusing on folate as the nutrient of the week. In the last post you learned how much folate you need and where you can find it. As I have mentioned before, I am a big believer in meeting your nutrient needs through diet. This recipe helps you focus on folate and meet your daily needs and uses fresh seasonal vegetables! This is a great seasonal pasta recipe. My husband loves Fettuccini Alfredo, but I don't like to make it because it is high calorie, and high in fat.  This is a great substitute for a white cream sauce and uses seasonal vegetables! We already have fresh asparagus in Maine and soon we will have fresh peas from the garden. This is a...

Focus on Folate

Happy Monday everyone! I apologize for my brief hiatus. I started a per diem dietitian job at a hospital and have been training, so I haven't had much time to write.  This is the post from a week and a half ago. I just wanted to refresh your memory on the importance of folate before I share with you the best sources of vitamin B9 and some new recipes. Over the past two weeks, we have discussed some important updates on some of the key nutrients that help improve ADHD symptoms, including, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.  This week we will turn our attention to a new nutrient and the role it plays in ADHD.  Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that plays an important role...

Magnesium Rich Weeknight Wonder Recipe

This week we are focusing on the mineral magnesium and the role that it can play in improving your ADHD symptoms.  This delicious recipe features spinach and avocado, which are both great sources of magnesium and spinach is in season during the Spring.   This week’s weeknight wonder recipe is Spaghetti with Spinach Avocado Sauce, which is originally from CookingLight magazine. When I first saw this recipe, I couldn’t wait to make it because I love just about anything with avocado.  I hope you enjoy this great combination of flavors.

All New Weeknight Wonder Recipe to Maximize Your Magnesium Intake!

The Pros of Probiotics

Did you know that the bacteria in your gut and your ADHD symptoms might be connected? I certainly didn’t until I began researching for this week’s nutrient-probiotics.  I recently learned about the gut-brain continuum and decided to explore this topic in more detail this week. The gut-brain axis must be considered when managing any type of neurological condition, including ADHD. The gut micro-biome is controlled by the enteric nervous system. It has over 100 million neurons and 30 neurotransmitters and it is where 95% of the body’s serotonin is found. The gut micro-biome has the ability to modulate brain activity, specifically mood and behavior.

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Zinc

This week we have looked at the benefits of zinc and the important role it can play in improving ADHD symptoms.  Here are 5 things you probably don’t know about zinc:

  1. Men and Women have different daily zinc needs. Men need 11 mg/day and Women need 8 mg/day. Infants and young children need 2-5 mg/day. Older girls/adolescents need 8 mg/day and older boys/adolescents need 11 mg/day.
  2. The Upper Limit of zinc is 40 mg/day. Excess zinc can lead to a copper or an iron deficiency because zinc inhibits the absorption of iron and zinc. Phytates(compounds found in grains also known as phytic acid) and copper can decrease the absorption of zinc.
  3. One of the most common signs of zinc deficiency in children is inattentiveness, which is one of the most common symptoms of ADHD.
  4. Zinc causes increased taste acuity, it enhances insulin action and it stabilizes DNA and RNA
  5. Zinc deficiency results in reduced immune function, poor wound healing, poor growth and hypogeusia

This Braised Chicken Thigh recipe is a simple way to boost your zinc intake for the day.

Nutrient to Focus On: Zinc

By now, you know that diet and exercise play a crucial role in ADHD.  Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and iron all have the potential to improve ADHD symptoms.  This week, we will turn the focus on zinc. Zinc is a trace element and a micro-mineral. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.  Zinc has many important functions: it regulates the activity of intracellular brain signals (including dopamine); it regulates the activity of fatty acids and melatonin; and it plays a structural role in protein.  Each of these functions plays an important role in the symptoms of ADHD, which is why zinc is the nutrient to focus on this week.

Some studies have shown that children with ADHD have lower levels of zinc than children without ADHD, which suggests a relationship between zinc concentrations and ADHD symptoms. Another research study suggested that zinc may help improve ADHD related behavior and symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be the most effective nutrients in reducing ADHD symptoms through diet. Zinc provides protection against oxidative damage of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Without zinc, these benefits may be compromised if the omega-3 fatty acids oxidize and form free radicals. Zinc supplements have shown to alleviate some symptoms of ADHD including hyperactivity and impulsivity. I believe that you and your child can meet your daily Zinc needs by including the right foods in your diet.  The best sources of zinc are animal proteins including meat, fish and poultry.  Pork shoulder is a great source of zinc, with 4.2 mg in a 3 ounce serving, which is why I have chosen Pork Carnitas as today’s recipe.

Vegetarian Friendly Ways to Add Iron to Each Meal

Happy April Fool’s Day! This week, we have been focused on iron and the role it plays in improving ADHD symptoms.  A diet rich in iron leads to increased dopamine production which improves cognitive function.  You now know ways to optimize iron absorption, but how much iron do you need each day  The USDA iron recommendation is 18 milligrams for women and 8 milligrams for men. If you are a vegetarian, it is recommended that you try to consume twice the amount of dietary iron because non-heme (vegetarian) sources of iron are absorbed less efficiently than heme (meat) iron. Here are some meat-free strategies to help you get to 18 mg of Iron that you need each day.

4 Ways to Absorb More Iron

As you may know, this week's Nutrient to Focus on is Iron.  Did you know that iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world? Many individuals struggle to maintain their iron levels, especially those of us with ADHD.  If you are trying to increase the iron in your diet, you need to know these 4 strategies to maximize your iron absorption. Here are 4 Ways to Maximize Your Iron Absorption: Watch out for Calcium: this mineral can block iron absorption in the small intestine.  If you are taking an iron supplement, avoid eating dairy within 30 minutes of taking the iron supplement. For dietary iron, avoid adding dairy to a meal to maximize iron absorption. Vitamin C: This vitamin has the opposite affect of Calcium...

Crispy Garlicky Chicken Thighs

In case you missed it, last week's nutrient to focus on was protein. Chicken is a great source of protein and is a leaner option. For more protein ideas, check out 8 Surprising Sources of Protein and 5 Ways to Easily Add Protein. As promised, here is the quick and easy weeknight wonder: Garlicky Chicken Thighs. This simple recipe is a one pot meal and takes very little time to prepare. The recipe is originally from "Two in the Kitchen", which means that the recipe is meant to serve two. While the ingredients listed are meant for two, this recipe could easily be doubled or tripled if you have 4 or 6 people to feed. Ingredients: 1lb skin on bone in chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat Salt Freshly ground...

Fight ADHD with Flaxseed

Last week, we discovered that Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acids that individuals with ADD and ADHD must include in their diets(in case you missed it, read more here). Omega-3s can help fight inflammation and improve ADD and ADHD symptoms. Yesterday we featured a delicious salmon recipe, but I realized many people do not eat fish for a number of reasons.   As a result, today I am focusing on flaxseed. Flaxseeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, manganese, and vitamin B1. If you are anything like me, getting out the door in the morning can be a major struggle and I don’t even have kids to worry about. Thats why this recipe I recently discovered, No Bake Energy Bites, is one of the many quick bites I like to have for those (many) chaotic mornings.  I have created my own version of these, which I have included below.  I prefer almond butter, but you can substitute with other types of nut butter.  If you add the chia seeds to these delicious bites of energy, then you will increase the nutritional density of these delightful snacks. These energy bites are quick and easy to make and don’t require any cooking.   I hope you all enjoy.

No Bake Energy Bites (original recipe found here )

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