Can a Poor Diet Cause ADHD?

Smiling pregnant woman reaching into a bowl of apples When you’re pregnant you hear a lot of “don’ts”: don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, eat fish or have your hair dyed to name a few. One “don’t” that applies to everyone could cause more harm than we realize to pregnant women.

According to a new study, eating an unhealthy diet high in fat and sugar during pregnancy could be linked to the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

The Prevalence of ADHD

Those who suffer from ADHD have difficulty staying focused, are easily distracted and often impulsive. According to Mayo Clinic, there are three million new cases of ADHD a year in the United States. Although it often develops during childhood, ADHD can affect adults and continue throughout your lifetime. Right now, the condition cannot be cured.

Details of the Study

The study that revealed this potential connection took place at King’s College London. The researchers set out to determine if there was a link between bad diet and ADHD by examining children with conduct problems, which is often associated with the condition. The DNA of approximately 164 children, 83 who showed very clear signs of misconduct early in life and 81 who showed mild symptoms, was studied. Their mothers’ diets helped conclude that poor prenatal nutrition could be an influencer in the development of ADHD.

What Should Pregnant Women Eat?

Eating a diet high in fat and sugar during pregnancy is not only bad for your baby’s health, but your own as well. It can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart problems. For both of your well-beings, the following foods are definitely “do’s” for pregnant women:

  • Fruits and vegetables that are rich in anti-oxidants
  • Foods that are rich in protein like yogurt, chicken and eggs
  • Foods containing high amounts of:
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Zinc

Low-intensity, low-impact exercise is not only safe, but encouraged during pregnancy. To get started, explore our facility at North Haven Health & Racquet today.