Nutrition matters, this month and every month.

Here at Coromega, we are honoring National Nutrition Month by introducing you to a nutritionist with a powerful story and disciplined approach. Introducing: Shawna Hughes, a Nutritionist dedicated to improving the lives of those living with ADHD and picky eating challenges. 

  1. Shawna, we love that your expertise and passion as a Nutritionist is on using Nutrition to fuel brains (especially in children with ADHD). We can't stress enough the importance of nutrients when it comes to brain health. What inspired you to take on this specific health need in Nutrition?

My daughter was assessed for ADHD during Covid, and I noticed there was not a lot of clear, practical information for parents who wanted to use Nutrition as a part of their ADHD support plan. 

I also noticed a lot of deceptive labeling, particularly on supplements, that parents were buying. Many parents were spending money on what they thought were great, targeted products. But many of these products were actually poor quality, not potent, or contained questionable fillers. 

Having spent a ton of time researching ADHD & Nutrition, I knew most parents didn't have time or energy for that, yet I think Nutrition should be a part of supporting every health issue. I wanted to be a "go-to" source for parents for all things ADHD and Nutrition so they could stop wasting time and money and just get a step-by-step plan to follow. 

  1. As a Nutritionist, what are a few top vitamins/nutrients that you consider must-haves in a brain-friendly diet?

Well, of all the nutrients that impact brain health (pretty much all of them do!), the ones that I focus on in my work are Omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and B vitamins (especially B6, B12 and Folate which are lower in the ADHD population).

Unfortunately, several of these nutrients come from foods that kids don't eat a lot of these days, especially if they're picky. Omega-3s come mainly from fatty fish and not many kids eat sardines and salmon anymore. Zinc, and Iron are highest in meat, poultry, and seafood and when kids are picky, those tend to be the foods that get rejected. 

  1. We appreciate your knowledge and education on the importance of omega-3. What to you are the most compelling reasons why omega-3 is important in the diets of your clients?

Omega 3s are one of the most researched nutrients in brain health.

We know that higher intake is linked to better memory and increased abstract reasoning skills. 

Most people don't realize we need omega 3s to produce dopamine, which plays a crucial role in memory, concentration, and mood.

Studies have shown that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3s in their blood than the average population. And supplementing with omega-3s showed a significant improvement in their ADHD.

The problem is that although most people know about omega 3s supporting brain health, they don't realize the amount of omegas varies immensely among products. Many parents are buying products with as little as 25 mg of omega 3s and believe they've bought a quality product.

Here is the link to a meta-analysis of the studies:

  1. We see you have a lot of tips for parents with picky eaters. What can you say regarding picky eaters and omega-3?

As mentioned above, most picky eaters are not eating omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds.

In general, most picky eaters would benefit from targeted supplementation that fills in the nutrient gaps in their diet. I almost always recommend an omega-3 supplement for private clients because it's just not realistic for them to get it through diet...especially if we're just getting started on reversing picky eating. It's always best to fill in those gaps until their diet is more optimal. 

  1. When supporting young brains, are there any vitamins or additional healthy habits that pair particularly well with omega-3?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that everyone needs to start paying attention to! Most people living in Northern climates cannot get enough vitamin D from sun exposure except during summer. In fact, some pediatric societies recommend Vitamin D supplements from birth until age 18, but no one seems to hear about this except for babies. * 

Vitamin D pairs well with omega-3 because it's a fat-soluble vitamin and is best absorbed when taken with a fat (like an omega-3). Many omega-3s (like Coromega) will also contain vitamin D.

*Here is an example: from the province of Alberta:

  1. This National Nutrition Month, what one tip would you like to leave readers with about the importance of Nutrition?

I would say there are two things to remember.

First, whatever we put into our bodies impacts our health, either negatively or positively. The better we can nourish our bodies (which include our brains!), the more power we have to reach our full potential.

And second, we all start somewhere - most people's journeys towards better health don't last because they try to do "too much, too soon". My approach is the exact opposite: Do what you can right now that won't overwhelm you. Make it simple and attainable. Some examples could be:

-adding nuts to your daily oatmeal for more protein,

-start taking 1 new supplement (not 5) this week,

-replace your daily chocolate bar with a lower-sugar granola bar that you like.

Get a few small wins under your belt and keep building on the progress. Remember, eating well is a learned skill just like reading or skiing and we want to start on the bunny hill so we don't fall on our faces! :P 

A special thanks to our guest:

Shawna Hughes, BSc., is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist specializing in Nutrition support for ADHD and picky eating reversal.

She's a mom to 2 girls and knows firsthand how a balanced diet and lifestyle can impact your day-to-day life with ADHD. She's dedicated to helping other parents find what works for them so they can experience calm and predictable days.   

Her coaching programs include diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes that are catered to your family and are presented in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method that builds over time for sustainable changes.

Check out her coaching programs and book your free assessment call at