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Balsamic Chicken Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

Hopefully you have figured out a few different ways to maximize your tomato harvest from my last post. One of the ways I suggested you utilize your tomatoes is by making a pasta salad with tomatoes.  Personally, I am not a big fan of pasta salad with a mayonnaise base.  This pasta salad recipe uses a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and tastes delicious with fresh tomatoes. I discovered this recipe from my mother-in-law.  This is one of my husbands favorite recipes that his mom used to make him.  She gave him the recipe a few years ago for him to someday cook.  Sadly, he never learned to cook so I ended up making her recipe. For this recipe, I usually use cherry tomatoes.  You...

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...

Slow Cooker Sunday Recipe: BBQ Chicken

As the weather starts to get warmer, I tend to move away from using the crockpot. This spring I am going to try something new and continue to use the slow cooker to make more seasonal dishes.  The bottom line is that the slow cooker makes life easier and allows me to do yard work all day and still have a delicious meal on the table for dinner.  This week's slow cooker recipe is Succulent BBQ Chicken. This recipe can be rich in vitamin B6 and zinc, which can improve ADHD symptoms, if you choose a combination of light and dark meat. Chicken is also a great source of protein, which is also important for individuals with ADHD.   The trick to this recipe is...

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!

10 Sources of Powerful Probiotics

Yesterday, you learned about the power of probiotics and the benefits of these healthy microbes for individuals with ADHD. The brain-gut axis is a very powerful connection that is extremely important for those of us with ADHD to keep in mind.  Now that you know you need to include probiotics in your diet, what foods should you look for?  I have put together a list of the sources of probiotics so that you can maximize your healthy microbe intake and hopefully correct any imbalance in your gut micro-biome. Here are 10 Probiotic Rich Foods: Yogurt: One of the best sources of probiotics you can eat. Be sure to choose yogurt that says live and active cultures on the label to ensure you are getting the probiotics...

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 Tips to Help You Meet Your Zinc Needs Every Day

This week, we have focused on zinc and the critical role that this trace mineral plays in ADHD. Zinc is involved in Essential fatty acid conversion (Omega-3s) Brain development (deficiency is associated with inattentiveness) Neurotransmitter conversion (critical in ADHD because of already low levels) So how do you make sure that you are getting the zinc that you need each day? As a reminder, women need 8 mg and men need 11 mg.  Here are the 5 sources of zinc for meat eaters and 5 tips for vegetarians 5 Tips for Meat Eaters: Beef (Chuck Roast): 7 mg in 3 oz of braised beef Pork Shoulder: 3 oz contains 4.2 mg of zinc; Pork Chops contain 2.9 mg in 3 oz cooked Oysters: Just one medium oyster contains 5.3 mg of zinc Alaskan King Crab: 6.5 mg in...

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.

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