With attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity on the rise, a lot of attention has been paid recently to the role that diet plays in children's ability to learn and concentrate. Scientific studies and anecdotal evidence suggests that many such difficulties can be eliminated through proper nutrition.

High fat diets impede glucose metabolism, which is critical for memory, concentration, and learning ability. Another important factor is the lack of nutritional quality in today's packaged and processed foods. Eating adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is critical for proper mental function. Sugar, wheat, and gluten may also contribute to learning problems in some cases, but much of the evidence is anecdotal.

Beneficial Foods

Blueberries Significantly improve learning capacity.
Cranberries Protect brain cells from age-related damage, thereby protecting cognition and the ability to learn at advanced ages.
Pumpkin Seeds High levels of both zinc and omega-3 fatty acids together help improve thinking skills.

Beneficial Nutrients

Boron May improve learning ability.
Iodine Iodine deficiency can reduce IQ and is the leading cause of mental retardation worldwide.
Iron May relieve symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A deficiency in iron may diminish cognitive function.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Required for proper brain development in the fetus and through childhood. A deficiency can lead to an inability to focus and concentrate.
Protein/Amino Acids Deficiencies in the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine have been linked to lack of focus and concentration, and attention deficit disorder (ADD).
Zinc Helps improve thinking skills.