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Balsamic Fig Pork Tenderloin

Weeks ago, I promised to share a recipe that I would be testing out.  I happy to announce that I will finally be sharing this delicious pork tenderloin with you today.  As an added bonus, I will show you two different ways to prepare this dish. I am always looking for new marinade ideas and I recently discovered this balsamic fig marinade that goes extremely well with pork.  As I have mentioned in the past, the slow cooker/crock pot is something that can be used throughout the summer. It is a year round tool that I try to utilize as much as possible.  This recipe is great because it can be made in the slow cooker or on the grill.  If you do make it...

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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...

11 Ways to Meet Your Vitamin B6 Needs

This week we have focused on the important role that vitamin B6 plays in improving the symptoms of ADHD.  Increasing your vitamin B6 intake leads to increased levels of dopamine in the brain. Increased dopamine leads to increased attention and the ability to stay alert. Luckily, there are many ways to meet your vitamin B6 needs. Women need 1.3-1.5 mg of B6 and Men need 1.2-1.7 mg of B6.  There are a wide variety of foods that contain vitamin B6, but it is important to choose the foods that have a higher biological value so your body will absorb more of the nutrient.   Here are some of the top sources of Vitamin B6 to help you maximize your intake.

11 ways to Meet your Vitamin B6 Needs:

meet your vitamin B6 needs

Nutrient to Focus On: Vitamin B6

Over the last few weeks, we have discussed the importance of dopamine and how individuals with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine in their brains. We have discovered that increased levels of dopamine lead to improved ADHD symptoms.  At this point, we know that protein, zinc, iron and magnesium impact dopamine levels.  Dopamine is formed through amino acid metabolism, which requires certain coenzymes. One of these coenzymes is Vitamin B6 (also known as Pyridoxine), which is this week’s nutrient to focus on.

Last week, we investigated the role that magnesium can play in ADHD, but the key to absorbing magnesium is having adequate levels of vitamin B6.  Although more research is needed, one study found that symptoms of ADHD improved in children during an 8-week trial of magnesium and vitamin B6 supplementation.  After the trial concluded and the supplements were discontinued, the ADHD symptoms returned.  The study determined that magnesium cannot be absorbed into blood cells if vitamin B6 is not readily available. The active form of this vitamin (pyridoxine) is pyridoxal phosphate. This active form is involved in almost all reactions of amino acid metabolism in the body. One major role of the active form of B6 is in the production of neurotransmitters, which play a role in the behaviors associated with ADHD. Vitamin B6 leads to increased levels of dopamine, which causes increased alertness. This evidence shows that B6 must be included in treating ADHD symptoms. Meeting your vitamin B6 needs can easily be accomplished by including the right food sources in your diet, specifically:

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...

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