[Parent Connection] ADHD

June 23, 2023

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting up to 15% of children and 8% of adults yearly. Symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can significantly impact a person’s daily life. While the exact causes of ADHD are not fully understood, research suggests that genetic and environmental factors may play a role.

According to a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders in 2020, the prevalence of ADHD among children in Hong Kong is around 8.3%, comparable with prevalence found in other countries. The study also found that boys were more likely to have ADHD than girls, with a male to female ratio 3.7:1.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in nutrition management and treatment of ADHD.  Below are the nutrients that have shown to have positive impact with ADHD.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been studied extensively for their potential benefits in treatment of ADHD. Though, the exact mechanisms by which omega-3 fatty acids may improve ADHD symptoms are not fully understood, it is thought that they may help to improve neuronal functioning and reduce inflammation in the brain. Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), flaxseeds and walnuts are rich in Omega-3.


Iron is an essential nutrient that is important for brain development and function. It is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, and deficiency in iron linked to cognitive and behavioral problems. A study found that children with ADHD were more likely to have iron deficiency than children without ADHD; thus, adequate iron intake may be an important part of managing ADHD symptoms. Good sources of iron include liver, red meat, beans (such as red kidney beans, edamame beans and chickpeas), nuts, dried fruit, fortified breakfast cereals.


Zinc is another essential nutrient that is important for brain development and function. It is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters and linked to cognitive and behavioral problems. A study found that supplementing with zinc showed improve symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD. Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, pork, chicken, tofu, nuts, chickpeas, lentils, yogurt, oats, and mushrooms.

Although there are no official dietary guidelines for ADHD, a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables paired with whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins, is the best diet option. Below is a simple and delicious baked salmon with quinoa and veggies stir-fry recipe that packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Baked Salmon with Quinoa and Vegetable stir-fry

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4
– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 cups water
– 2 x 120g salmon fillet
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/8 tsp pepper
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
– 1 zucchini, chopped
– 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
– 1 tbsp grated ginger
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 2 tbsp honey
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1.       Wash the quinoa thoroughly, place in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
2.       Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked.
3.       Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until onion is translucent.
4.       Add bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms to the skillet and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes.
5.       Add grated ginger, soy sauce, and honey to the skillet and stir to combine.
6.       Add cooked quinoa to the skillet and stir-fry for an additional 2-3 minutes.
7.       Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
8.       Divide the quinoa stir-fry to four plates, place the salmon fillet on top.  
9.       Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.


  1. Bloch, M. H., & Qawasmi, A. (2011). Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptomatology: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(10), 991-1000.
  2. Konofal, E., Lecendreux, M., Arnulf, I., Mouren, M. C., & Iron, A. (2004). Iron deficiency in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 158(12), 1113-1115.
  3. Akbari, V., & Hendy, M. (2013). The effect of zinc supplementation in the treatment of children with ADHD: a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 18(8), 661.
  4. Hariri, M., Djazayery, A., Djalali, M., Saedisomeolia, A., Rahimi, A., Abdolahian, E., … & Zarei, M. (2012). Effect of zinc supplementation on efficacy of iron supplementation in improvement of symptoms and normalization of iron status in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a double-blind and placebo-controlled trial. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 36(1), 136-143.
  5. Milte, C. M., Sinn, N., & Buckley, J. D. (2012). Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the treatment of ADHD: a systematic review. European Journal of Pediatrics, 171(3), 433-441.
  6. Sinn, N., Bryan, J., & Wilson, C. (2008). Cognitive effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms: a randomised controlled trial. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 78(4-5), 311-326.