In last five years, the number of cases of ADD or hyperactivity medications has doubled. ADD is a central nervous system disorder. According to Ayurveda it’s the imbalance of the VATA (Air) in the body. As the Vata holds characteristics of being light, mobile and dry, it dominates our thought process and movement of our body. The resulting brain chemistry imbalance affects thinking, mood and activity. Learning and behaviour problems occur like lack of concentration, mood swings, sleep disturbances, anxiety, low stress tolerance and aggressive behaviour. Thus, eliminating the causing or contributing factors to this problem is very important.
To counteract the toxic affect, being produced during the over stimulation of CNS, it’s better to adopt a safe and natural side to cure. For this purpose instead of switching onto ADHD drugs to release good neurotransmitters in the nervous system, why not practicing yoga and meditation for balancing the vitiated Vata, which is the root cause of the disorder? The practice of yoga and meditation is beyond compare. The results are always stupendous when we stick to natural things. This is achieved by both the ways, that’s along with the yoga and meditation practices, healthy diet instructions are also needed to cope up well with the health problems.
Foods that most typically interferes with brain chemistry include sugar, food additives, dairy products (especially factory-farmed products containing growth hormones, steroids), corn, chocolate, caffeine and soy sugar laden foods (Ati Madhur rasa) aggravates the already hyperactive nervous system in such people. Then there are environmental pollutants that exacerbate ADD such as heavy metals like aluminium, lead as well as pesticides, herbicides etc.
As per Ayurveda, taking omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidant supplements on daily basis helps to cure ADD to a large extent as these release anti-inflammatory substances and especially the DHA plays a vital role in curing brain and vision related problems. The body cannot make essential fatty acids, so these nutrients must be consumed in the diet and is obtained from salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish, as well as for the vegetarians from some seeds and oils.
The primary compounds in antioxidants is ‘tanin”. Sources of tanin include tea, chestnuts, red wine, grapes and grapeseeds. Turmeric (Haldi) is best known for its anti-inflammatory role as it’s the excellent source of curcumin. Ashwagandha and Brahmi are very effective in relaxing the hyperactive and disturbed nervous system as they possess anti-stress and neuro-tonic properties which nourishes and strengthens the nerves.
Deficiencies of particular vitamins or minerals — such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6 — have been documented in children with ADD. Eat a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthful unsaturated fats, and good sources of protein. Avoid unhealthy saturated and trans-fats, rapidly digested carbohydrates. Whole grains, whole wheat breads should be consumed and for balance of healthy eating, plenty of physical activity is also needed, going for the walks in the nature and a daily routine of yoga and meditation practice.
Consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking and recreational drugs must be avoided as they overstimulate the central nervous system and worsen the mental health.
Besides all this, an Ayurvedic treatment of Shirodhara on the forehead has always been a good option for having a long lasting, relaxed state of mind.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Dr. Shruti Bhardwaj, Therapeutic Nutritionist