Bipolar Disorder – What to Eat and Avoid for Maintaining Optimum Health

bad foods for bipolar disorder

The body and brain require adequate and timely nourishment to function properly. It helps regulate a bipolar patients weight. Weight fluctuations can hamper recovery from episodes of manic depression. A study reports that nearly seven out of ten bipolar patients in America are struggling with obesity.

Another study carried out in 2013 revealed that one in ten bipolar sufferers struggled to control binge-eating impulses. Such binge eating episodes result from a deficiency of serotonin in the brain. A serotonin shortfall triggers a desire for carbohydrates and sugars. The raised serotonin levels may improve your mood but you will pile on the pounds. Obesity brings with it other issues such as diabetes and hypertension.

A healthy diet ensures that our body gets its required quantity of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. These nutrients ensure the smooth running of the body and keep our mood stable.

Blood sugar levels influence moods; consuming sugar rich foods at the expense of nutritious items can result in peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels; such alterations can bring on an episode of manic depression.

Research produced in the Journal of Psychiatric Research shows that along with sugars – fatty foods, alcohol, and caffeine too can worsen the situation for bipolar patients.

People with bipolar disorder should pay particular attention to their intake of fatty acids; they should consume more omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 fatty acids. The former are obtained from fatty fish such as cod and salmon, while sources of the latter include vegetable oils.

Healthy foods are doubly useful for those diagnosed with bipolar because not only do they reduce the frequency and lower the intensity of episodes, they keep obesity, hearty conditions and allied diseases at bay.

Food items that you should certainly stay away from


  1. Caffeine

Not only does this stimulant stoke mania on its own, it interferes with sleep patterns. Loss of sleep is a known initiator of bipolar mood swings.

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol interferes with sleep patterns and also prevents medicines, for example, lithium, from working. The risk of premature death in bipolars has been found to be higher for those who abuse alcohol.

  1. Sugar

Sugar cravings and obesity worsen mood swings for bipolars. Weight gain brings on additional issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as arthritis. The subject has to take more medication than he otherwise would require. Obesity interferes with the working of many medications.

  1. Fat

The body’s requirements of fats should be met through low-fat dairy products, nuts, and lean meats. Fried and greasy foods should be avoided. Saturated fats and trans fats should be consumed in moderation.

One of the misconceptions that people have about healthy food is that it is drab and does not taste that great. That’s untrue. Healthy food tastes great and there’s a lot of variety to choose from. Whole grain breads, unpolished rice, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat meats can be cooked in many interesting ways.

Include nuts, spinach, and black beans in your diet. These are good sources of magnesium, which enables us to enjoy sound sleep. As mentioned earlier, disturbed sleep is a trigger for bipolar disorder. Magnesium has a similar effect as a mood stabilizer as lithium. Appropriate amounts of this mineral can reduce one’s dependence on drugs.

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