In two studies done in Holland, Lidy Pelsser, Ph.D., demonstrated that an elimination diet (eliminating sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, certain meats, and food dyes) improved symptoms in 70 percent of children with ADD. (That was without eating some of the powerful brain-focusing foods that I will tell you about later.) As someone who knows what it's like to grow up in a household filled with drama, this little food fact got my attention.
Everything you put on the end of your fork matters. When you eat to improve your health, you improve the quality of your life. Food impacts neurotransmitter levels of serotonin and dopamine, which play a big role in how you feel and perceive the world. Serotonin, for instance, is responsible for mood, sleep regulation, and appetite control.
When levels of this neurotransmitter drop, the results can be depression, anxiety, and negativity. This may be why we crave carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, and chocolate, all of which raise serotonin levels temporarily. Complex carbs, such as apples and sweet potatoes, work the same magic, but don't set you up for more cravings.
Likewise, dopamine helps to increase focus and motivation. Eating small amounts of protein throughout the day can boost dopamine and stabilize blood sugar.
It is critical to make sure that the food you eat is loaded with nutrients that your body is able to properly digest and absorb. At the Amen Clinic, we created nine simple food guidelines to help you heal your brain and body.