ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Children with ADHD have been shown to do poorly on a diet including gluten. Therefore, today there has been much hype about patients with ADHD to follow a gluten (and often caisin free) free diet. This could just be a coincidence in that now as many as 1 in 100 Americans are either diagnosed or yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease. They could also simply have a sensitivity to gluten, in which patients experience symptoms similar to the celiac disease patients: headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, gas, bloating and many more. Unfortunately, many cases of celiac remain undiagnosed, partially because the patience symptoms are silent despite small bowel mucosal lesions.
Interestingly, the psychological and behavioral symptoms of ADHD are now coinciding with those of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. It is now recommended that celiac disease be included in the ADHD symptoms list. This was decided after a study that revealed that people with ADHD who tested positive for celiac disease reported an improvement in their behavior and functioning after 6 months on a gluten free diet.
I have accounted many times in my writing the association between your gut and brain, and here is just another example of what you put into your stomach affecting how you behave and respond to the environment. Grains are inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has chronic inflammation at its root. It is very common for people to experience a variety of mental health and emotional improvements upon eliminating gluten from their diet.
One of the keep culprits in this allergic reaction that occurs in the body is all due to a protein found in wheat called gliadin molecules. Gliadin molecules react with a protein in the gut that cause the lining to leak and results in the influx of undigested wheat proteins and stomach bacteria. Wheat also contains high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin, a type of lectin that also reaks havoc in the body. Rice, spelt and rye also have these lectins. Lectins are very small molecules and hard to digest, so they have a tendency to accumulate in the body and disrupt bodily functions.
Since there is a very real connection between the health of your gut and the health of your brain, by putting good foods into your body, you can avoid and take care of your mental health while at the same time taking care of your digestive health. In fact there are many studies that point to gastrointestinal disease being a culprit in neurological diseases. In fact, during fetal development, your brain and gut were once the same tissue. And then one part turns into the central nervous system and the other develops into your enteric nervous system. When your gut is unhealthy, inflamed and overworked, chemicals made by the body can affect the brain and result in a multitude of neurological disorders. Thus, by adhering to a gluten free diet, those patients with ADHD might notice a significant change in their behavior and functioning due to an increase in overall gut health.
Peanut Butter French Toast Waffles*
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 T sugar
16 slices gluten free brown rice bread
4 large eggs
¾ cup rice or almond milk
½ t vanilla
8 T smooth peanut butter
The night before put out bread to let get hard overnight.
Combine the fruit and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil, stir occasionally for 10 minutes
Cool to room temperature
Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
Spread 1 T peanut butter on 4 slices of bread. Top with remaining 4 slices of bread.
Soak sandwiches in egg mixture for 4 minutes per side.
Heat a waffle iron coated with olive oil.
Place sandwich in the waffle iron, pressing firmly until closed. Cook until golden brown.
Remove ‘waffle’ onto a plate. Drizzle berry syrup on top. Enjoy!