Making the Most of Your Tomato Harvest

As I have mentioned before, this year was my first year growing vegetables and I am learning new strategies along the way.  I have had more success with some vegetables than with others, but I am still surprised with the amount that my gardens have produced.  Early this summer, I was worried that my tomato plants were not going to make it through the early summer months.  Luckily, I had several crops that rebounded and have started producing an abundance of tomatoes.  I love tomatoes and want to utilize every last cherry tomato if possible. Nothing is more frustrating than harvesting vegetables from your own garden and having them spoil because you waited too long to use them.  If you have an abundance of tomatoes...

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.

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...

Nutrient to Focus On: Protein

Nutrition is the process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism and repair.  Specific nutrients provide our bodies with the fuel that we need to survive.  These nutrients are categorized into two sub groups: macronutrients and micronutrients.  Protein is a macronutrient that our bodies cannot function without, which is why this week’s nutrient to focus on is protein.  Whether or not you have ADHD, protein is an essential nutrient that you must include in your diet.  For those of us with ADHD, there may be extra benefits to getting the amount of protein you need. Research suggests that ADHD is caused by low or abnormal levels of dopamine in the brain.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses across the brain.  Dopamine levels are associated with motor and cognitive function, both of which are related to  ADHD. You might be wondering, “What does dopamine have to do with protein? ” When you eat a source of protein, your body breaks the protein into amino acids and transport them across the body.   Amino acids are used to maintain your body’s muscles, blood, bones, and organs.  L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that can be used to form dopamine, which can lead to better motor and cognitive function and can potentially improve ADHD symptoms.  The bottom line: High quality protein sources can provide L-Tyrosine can lead to increased dopamine levels in the brain and potentially reduced ADHD symptoms.

Here are the six main sources of protein that you need to know:

  1. Eggs
  2. Nuts and Seeds
  3. Poultry
  4. Beans and Peas
  5. Meat
  6. Seafood

You now know the main sources of protein and how they can benefit those with ADHD.  Since it is a Monday, I want to share a “Meatless Monday” recipe with you all.  One of my go-to Meatless Monday recipes is tomato soup with chickpeas and pesto.  What goes better with tomato soup than grilled cheese? My husband and I usually split a grilled cheese sandwich to have with our tomato soup to cut down on the extra calories.  The chickpeas in this soup are a great source of protein and fiber.  What are some of your favorite Meatless Monday recipes?

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tomato Soup

Quick and easy tomato soup with chickpeas and pesto

Recipe Source: Runner’s World