Back to school with ADHD: Natural tips to help with the transition

It’s back to school time and for those parents whose children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) this can be a challenging time of transition.  It is a time for establishing new routines and adjusting to the structure of the school system.

Pharmaceutical medications are helpful for many children, however often parents come to my office looking for some natural options. Choosing medication is a personal decision based on the needs of your child, family and teachers. The following is a list of natural tips to help support your child with the back to school transition, regardless if they are on medication or not.

Nutrition:

  1. Stay hydrated! Equip your child with a water bottle and encourage them to finish it throughout the day. Dehydration contributes to lack of concentration and information processing.
  2. Avoid artificial chemicals: Pack lunches full of whole foods versus packaged foods which often contain artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. These chemicals stimulate the nervous system and contribute to restlessness and mood changes.
  3. Add more protein: Protein keeps blood sugar levels from fluctuating. High and low blood sugar levels lead to hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating and mood changes such as irritability and anxiety.

Check out these Healthy nut-free snacks for back to school which are high in protein!

Vitamin and mineral supplements:

  1. Consider zinc supplementation for hyperactivity and impulsivity. Always speak to your doctor or naturopath before taking supplements to figure out if they are needed and what the appropriate dose should be. Try adding more zinc containing foods to the diet such as chicken, turkey, fish, pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed butter (great replacement for peanut butter!).
  2. Additional B vitamins can be helpful for improving cognitive function.  B vitamins are essential for producing neurotransmitters that influence mood and can be helpful for anxiety and depression. A B-complex is generally safe because the body breaks down these vitamins and you urinate them out daily.  Make sure you take a b-complex vitamin with meals to prevent nausea.  It is best to take it in the morning with breakfast because it also helps improve energy throughout the day.
  3. A fish oil supplement is the best way to get an appropriate dose of omega-3 fatty acids.  The two major types are ecosapentanoic acid  (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA).  A combination of EPA and DHA is important for supporting nervous system function leading to improved learning, attention and concentration in the classroom.  Nourishing the brain with omega-3 fatty acids is essential for improving mood.

    Fish oil is available in liquid or capsules.  You can freeze the capsules to prevent it from repeating or purchase an enteric coated brand.  Liquid fish oil is great for children because it can be mixed into a smoothie or juice.  There are even delicious gummies and chewable capsules for the picky eater!

    If you follow a vegan diet or are allergic to fish, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseed oil, chia seeds and hemp seed.  However, much higher doses are needed to absorb the same amount that is found naturally in fish oil.

Botanical medicine:

  1. Calming lemon balm or lavender tea: Brew a batch of lemon balm (aka Melissa officinalis) or lavender tea and store in a glass jug in your fridge. It can be added as a smoothie base, as a popsicle base, frozen into ice cubes and added to your child’s water bottle, or mixed in with a little juice. These are all creative ways to have your child experience the calming effects of lemon balm and lavender without having to drink the hot tea directly.
  2. Chamomile tea has digestive healing properties in addition to a calming effect. Paired with ginger root, licorice root and peppermint tea, these make a great addition if your child suffers from ‘nervous stomach’ or is experiencing digestive side effects from their medication.
  3. Concentrated herbal tinctures: Teas are generally safe because they are very dilute. However, if you are looking for something with a stronger effect a herbal tincture where the herbs have been soaked in alcohol and the medicinal properties of the herbs have been extracted is another option. There are many options at the health food store such as St. Francis brand Tilia Calm. Be sure to read the instructions based on your child’s weight and avoid herbal tinctures if your child suffers from allergies to any of the ingredients.
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Healthy glowing skin from the inside out

Hello! Lately I’ve had quite a few clients with skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. I personally have had acne and eczema and understand that horrible, itchy rash that won’t go away. Both were on my face too so that really didn’t help my self-confidence. I tried all those topical creams and ointments but nothing really worked until I discovered that skin issues are a manifestation of an internal imbalance, usually with your digestion, immune system or ability to detoxify.

Let’s talk about glowing healthy skin from the inside out!

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and one of your primary sources of detoxification. Many factors can influence the health of your skin:

  • Chemical toxins built up in your body that your skin is trying to eliminate
  • Food sensitivities and poor digestive tract function lead to excessive inflammation molecules that deposit in the skin. Poor digestion also leads to poor absorption of essential nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids which are vital in maintaining healthy skin
  • Since 80% of your immune system is in the lining of the digestive system, digestive issues cause immune system issues and your immune system may not be able to manage inflammation effectively leading to skin issues. It’s all interconnected!
  • Hormone imbalances like excess estrogen and testosterone lead to acne, or lowering levels of progesterone and estrogen can lead to dry itchy skin especially in menopause.
  • Stress! If your nervous system is under constant stress you will release more histamine which leads to the itchiness and discomfort

Often there is more than one factor influencing the health of your skin and it can be challenging to identify where you need the most support. If you experience acne, eczema, or psoriasis it’s time to consider treating your skin from the inside out with some natural options.

Book your healthy skin appointment today!

Dr. Ellen Simone, Naturopath

Top 5 naturopathic treatments for healthy skin

Want healthy glowing skin? Check out my latest article on page 20 of Healthy Directions Magazine:

healthydirections

Enjoy!

Prevent cold and flu with these 3 supervitamins

It’s that time of year when the days get shorter and the temperature goes down signalling the beginning of that dreaded cold and flu season.

Whether you are a professional who wants to avoid missing a crucial work day, a parent who wants to keep their child healthy and in school, or an athlete who can’t miss a day of your strict training schedule, these 3 supervitamins can help boost your immune system to prevent the cold and flu this winter.

These 3 supervitamins are crucial to supporting a healthy immune system.  You can easily maintain their levels through changing your diet to incorporate foods containing high amounts of these vitamins.

*If considering taking these vitamins in supplement form, it is best to speak to your health care provider first because these vitamins in high doses can cause adverse effects and interfere with certain medications and medical conditions.

1. Vitamin A/beta-carotene: You can find vitamin A in foods as well as beta-carotene which your body turns into vitamin A.  Anything orange and yellow coloured contains vitamin A. Try adding some warm autumn foods like squash, sweet potato and carrots to your diet.  Red peppers, green kale and spinach contain high amounts of vitamin A.  Eggs are also high in vitamin A and are a source of complete protein.

Check out this Sweet Potato Salad recipe! It includes red peppers, and you can easily add some spinach and a boiled egg to increase the vitamin A content.

2. Vitamin C: This supernutrient is well-known for boosting the immune system.  Vitamin C is easily found in foods such as berries, oranges, grapefruit, apples, kiwis and green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, herbs and spices.

Check out my quick and easy Blueberry Smoothie recipe. It is high in vitamin C and you can add in some orange juice or apple sauce to increase the vitamin C content.

3. Vitamin E: Not only is vitamin E good for your skin, it also supports a healthy immune system! You can find vitamin E in avocado, nuts (almonds, peanuts), sunflower seeds, dried apricots, paprika, basil and oregano.

Check out this delicious Ultimate Guacamole recipe! Guacamole makes a great dip or spread and you can sprinkle your nuts and seeds on top or tweak the taste by adding paprika, basil and oregano.

A home-made trail mix of raw almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds and dried apricots also make a healthy vitamin E packed snack for those of you on the go.

Feel free to share other recipes containing these 3 immune boosting supervitamins!