Adopt a Mediterranean diet if you're pregnant.

New research has found that children are less likely to have ADHD if they are exposed to the healthy regime.

Characterised by a high consumption of vegetables and olive oil, experts believe it's range of nutrients stops the attention disorder from manifesting.

Healthy eating is known to play a crucial role in the development of a child, meaning certain conditions can be prevented in the womb, reports the Daily Mail.


The research, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, studied more than 120 children.

Spanish scientists found that those with high sugar and fat intake were seven times more likely to have the disorder.

They also identified a trend that youngsters who rarely eat fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables often display ADHD symptoms.

However, they were unable to find a direct link between diet and diagnosis, suggesting it could even be a case of reverse-causation.

Study author José Ángel Alda, from the University of Barcelona, said: "We don't know if these kids suffer from ADHD due an unhealthy diet or if the disorder makes them to eat an excess of fat and sugar to balance their impulsiveness or emotional distress.

"We believe this is a vicious circle: the impulsiveness of children with ADHD makes them to eat unhealthily.

"Therefore they don't eat the nutrients they need and it all worsens their symptoms."

ADHD is believed to affect up to 4 per cent of children across the world, and it can last until adulthood.

Investment: Experts have said that the benefits of a Mediterranean diet can start in the womb. Photo / 123RF
Investment: Experts have said that the benefits of a Mediterranean diet can start in the womb. Photo / 123RF

The main symptoms are hyperactivity, impulsiveness and attention-deficit, which show more intensely in children of the same age who don't suffer from this illness, the NHS says.

The findings come just weeks after it was revealed that a Mediterranean diet could stop the brains of 70 year-olds from shrinking.

The benefits are believed to come from the antioxidants found in vegetables, olive oil and red wine.

Compounds found within them are thought to reduce damage in the brain from oxidation, which leads to neural degeneration.

Previous studies have found a Mediterranean diet, which is also low in meat and dairy, may protect against dementia.

The diet has also been found to cut the risk of Parkinson's disease and dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.