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Avoid Non-Organic Strawberries

A great deal of research has been done on possible environmental/dietary factors influencing the development and severity of ADHD symptoms. One thing that has garnered a lot of interest over the past decade is the use of pesticides. Specifically, organophosphates are implicated in causing hyperactivity in children. These pesticides have neurotoxic properties, and while they are meant to target the nervous systems of insects and other pests, they can affect humans as well and have been associated with multiple neurological and behavioral deficits.

Initially, it was believed that only children who lived on or near farms using these chemicals were exposed to them in large enough quantities to cause neurological damage, but a study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that even those exposed to pesticides through their diet alone can develop cognitive problems such as ADHD. While many fruits may be sprayed with these pesticides, non-organic strawberries are among the very worst.

Of course, fruits are still an important part of a healthy diet, so we are not recommending that you eliminate strawberries completely. Rather, you should be careful to wash any non-organic strawberries that you buy thoroughly (the pesticides are water-soluble and thus should be able to be washed off) or you can avoid the problem of pesticides entirely by buying organic produce.

Scientific Studies:

In 2006, researchers found that children exposed to organophosphate pesticides in infancy tended to develop minor motor and learning impairments later in life. The following year, a 7-year-old boy with ADHD was put on an elimination diet that recommended removing strawberries (among other things), and his symptoms improved notably after adopting the changes.

An article published in 2010 reported that high concentrations of organophosphates in urine was associated with hyperactive behavior, and in the same year another study found that exposure to organophosphates both in the womb and as infants was associated with impaired attention later in life, as assessed by parents and by doctors.

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