If you’d like to provide healthier meals for your child with ADD/ADHD (or yourself if you have the disorder), then don’t overlook the mineral zinc. For nearly a decade studies have shown that one of the traits many with ADD/ADHD share is some level of zinc deficiency.
Not only that, but according to research performed several years ago children who took zinc supplements in addition to their regular ADD/ADHD prescription medications benefited on two levels. While it was a small study, it was well designed.
First, these children experienced a greater degree of improvement in their symptoms than those students who only took prescription medications. Secondly, the individuals who supplemented their diets with zinc also displayed the improvement in symptoms quicker than those who hadn’t taken the dietary supplements.
Now you just might be asking yourself: How much zinc does a child need to stay healthy? And the next natural question to follow is: What foods can we find it in?
According to the National Institutes of Health, children up to three years of age need a minimum of 3 mg of zinc to maintain health. Those students between the ages of four to eight years require 5 mg, while those up to 18 need 11 mg if they are male and 9 if they’re female.
While those numbers may not sound like much, zinc isn’t found in abundance in many of the foods we eat regularly. But you can find a few foods that are rich in this trace mineral, most of them falling into the seafood and meat categories.
Six medium oysters, for example, contain 76.7 mg of zinc. Your family doesn’t dine on oysters much? Neither does mine. But consider serving your family beef shank on occasion. Three ounces of this meat contains 8.9 mg of zinc.
If you do eat seafood keep in mind that 6.5 ounces the Alaska king crab has 6.5 mg of zinc, while the same size pork shoulder has a little more than 4 mg.
If chicken is more your style, then you’ll be pleased to know that a chicken leg contains 2.7 mg of zinc. Nuts are also a decent source of zinc with a one-ounce serving of almonds containing 1.0 mg of zinc and the same amount of cashews coming in at 1.6 mg of the trace mineral.
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