HyperactivityWhat is Hyperactivity?

Hyperactivity is a behavioral disorder wherein a person gets easily excited and could not remain still. This behavior is usually found in children.


Another term for this kind of behavior is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). At times, it is also referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


What Causes Hyperactivity?

For young children, being hyperactive is often normal. But there are some things that usually bring about this disorder. Some of them are the following:

  • Neurological disorder. When the part of the brain, which is responsible for inhibiting actions does not function properly, it often results to hyperactive behavior.
  • Hyperthyroidism. Studies have shown that the oversecretion of the thyroid hormone, speeds up the metabolism, resulting to hyperactivity.
  • Dyslexia has been known to lead to hyperactivity in children. When children find it hard to read, write or spell, they become restless.
  • Hearing problems. People who could not hear usually show hyperactive behavior.
  • Mental illness. Hyperactivity is often common for people who suffer from certain mental illness.
  • Panic attacks. When this sets in, a person usually becomes hyperactive.
  • Excessive intake of sugar, junk foods, artificial colourings and preservatives. These wreak havoc to the body causing hyperactivity.


Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Hyperactivity

Most parents would ask, “Is my child hyperactive?” The following are signs and symptoms that would help you determine whether a child is indeed suffering from hyperactivity:

  • Could not sit still for a long time
  • Inability to focus or concentrate on a particular thing
  • Severe mood swings
  • Sleeps for short periods only

One must remember that some children may exhibit only one or two of these symptoms. There are cases wherein children may not be hyperactive at all but their behaviours are just normal part of their growing up. If you are not sure about the condition of your child, it is best to consult a physician.


Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Hyperactivity

Treating hyperactivity could be a long process. Some would go for drugs, while others would go for natural means. Changing the diet into a healthier one is sometimes the best way of treating hyperactivity.


Ritalin is the usual drug used in treating hyperactivity. In the United States, approximately 3% school-age kids take this drug. Certain research have shown that the drug causes some changes in the structure of the child’s brain that actually linger even after the therapeutic effects of the drug are gone. One downside of this drug is that it was known to increase the risk of developing an addiction to some prohibited substances in later life. Some of the said substances are cocaine and also smoking.

While there are parents who believe that this particular drug is the only way to control their hyperactive children, some parents believe otherwise and disapprove of giving such drug to their children.

Diet for Hyperactivity

Patrick Holford, director and the founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition located in London and a British nutritional therapist, believes that giving children the right nutrition and removing artificial additives from their diet could greatly contribute in the treatment of hyperactivity. The following dietary recommendations have to be taken into consideration.

  • Foods that contain additives and other strong colourings such as tartazine should be avoided. This would include rainbow coloured sweets that kids really love
  • Foods and drinks that contain aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener, must be eliminated from the diet.
  • Cola-type drinks have to be avoided as well.
  • As much as possible, foods that contain sugar must be removed from the diet. Cakes, chocolates and biscuits are not to be indulged in.
  • If kids would whine for some chocolates and other sweet foods, look for organic ones.
  • Juices and citrus fruits could be a problem for children with hyperactivity.
  • Cheese and eggs, along with other wheat-based foods should be cut off from the kids’ diet for 1 to 2 weeks. After this period, try to see whether the behaviour of your child improves. Sometimes, it is just the food that they crave for that triggers their “restless” behaviour.
  • Buy organic food. This could greatly help those with hyperactivity.
  • Go for whole foods. Whole grains, brown rice, oats, millet and vegetables should be included.
  • Essential fatty acids (EFA) and zinc are essential for healthy brain functioning. Nuts and seeds are good sources of zinc and EFA.
  • Organic yoghurt, rice and goat’s milk are often better alternatives to other dairy products.
  • Drink water instead of fizzy drinks.
  • For desserts, use low-sugar fruit yoghurt.
  • Your child should not miss protein. Fresh fish, eggs, lentils and chicken, along with beans and nuts are all good sources of protein.
  • Make sure that your child has his daily serving of iron-rich foods. Beans, tofu, spinach, eggs, prunes, dates and pumpkin seeds are good sources of iron. To enhance iron absorption, eating kiwi, strawberries and other fruits is a must.
  • For salad dressings, use organic sunflower,  walnut or olive oil.

Helpful Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Avoid drinking and smoking while pregnant. These habits have been linked to hyperactivity in children.
  • Food intolerances should be determined at an early age, and therefore, foods that children have intolerance should not be given to them.
  • Try to avoid spray deodorants, air fresheners, washing powders and fabric conditioners at home.
  • Check your home for the presence of heavy metals like lead, mercury, copper and aluminium. Your home must not be replete with these metals as studies have shown a link between them and hyperactivity.

Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs for Hyperactivity

  • Magnesium (400mg daily). Most children who suffer from hyperactivity are low in this mineral.
  • Multi-vitamin. Give children chewable multi-vitamins to provide them with the  nutrients that they need.



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