Foods to Eat and Avoid for Bipolar Patients
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes unusual mood swings from highs to lows. What you eat or drink can affect the intensity of those mood swings with a healthy, balanced diet. According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, patients with bipolar disorder should be careful about the kinds of fats they eat to include omega 3 fats and fewer omega 6 fats. By knowing what foods to avoid and which to eat will keep your mood swings in check, reduce periods of mania, and improve your heart rate.
It is important to avoid stimulants like coffee that trigger mania and can impair your sleep. Alcohol can also affect bipolar mood swings and can interact negatively with lithium, the most common bipolar medication. Eating a diet high in sugar will make it harder to control your weight and obesity which can make bipolar medications less effective. Always talk to a doctor about your salt intake as changing how much salt is in your diet can affect lithium levels. Eat less of saturated fats and trans fats as well as oils used for frying which are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Eating high fat meats can delay the time for bipolar medications to be absorbed in the system. If you are taking antidepressants like MAO inhibitors, do not eat foods that have tyramine like overly ripe bananas, fermented cheese, tap beer, aged meats, Chianti wine, and soy sauce to prevent severe hypertension.
Bipolar disorder patients should keep a lot of foods with omega 3s in their diet such as salmon and other fatty cold water fish, nuts, flaxseed, and basil. Instead of eating junk food like chips, eat crispy vegetables with hummus. If you are in the mood for something sweet, eat whole grain bread or crackers spread with fruit preserves. Avoid caffeine and alcohol and drink herbal tea or a decaf latte instead. Eat plenty of fresh salads if you still feel hungry as well as steamed or broiled fish. Foods that have magnesium like whole grains, dark leafy vegetables like spinach, and beans have the effects of lithium that decrease the need for medication but at the same time should not replace lithium. Healthy fats like avocados and olive oils can help you be full longer. Eating any of these foods will keep you more in control of your bipolar disorder and decrease your mood swing symptoms.