Bipolar disorder is a serious medical condition that affects relationships, careers and can lead to suicide. People experience drastic mood swings from euphoric highs to depressing lows. Causes can be heredity, childhood trauma, sleep disturbances and substance abuse. A misconception of bipolar is that a person needs to be hospitalized for treatment. However, with medication and psychotherapy, people with bipolar disorder can lead healthy, productive lives. A bipolar disorder diet which includes mood stabilizing foods can also help manage symptoms. Here are some tips:
Fish oil supplements and fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, have been found to reduce symptoms of clinical depression, which is common in bipolar disorder. Vegetarians can take omega-3s derived from nuts and eggs. Omega-3s have a mood-stabilizing effect and offer other health benefits.
Magnesium has been found to regulate sleep and reduce bouts of mania. Some mood stabilizing foods that contain magnesium are black beans, cashews, almonds and spinach. It can also be taken as a supplement.
3. Limit sweets
Many processed foods contain an abundant amount of sugar. Sweets can cause blood sugar highs and lows leading to increased mood swings. If you’re craving sweets, try some fruit. The natural sugar in fruit can help maintain blood sugar balance.
4. Limit salt
With bipolar disorder, salt intake should not be too high or too low. Low sodium in the bloodstream can interfere with the absorption of medications. Excess sodium can cause hypertension and increase the risk of stroke. Try to keep your salt intake in check by avoiding processed foods which are often high in sodium. Ask your doctor what your sodium intake should be.
5. Healthy fats
Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut and coconut oil are all healthy fats that can be added to the diet. These foods can also help you feel more full and less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks. Healthy fat is also good for general health.
Foods such as yogurt, bananas, sourdough bread and some cheeses contain probiotics, a healthy bacteria known to promote a healthy gut. Probiotic supplements are also available.
7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant and should be avoided, especially when experiencing a manic phase. Alcohol can interfere with medication absorption and disrupt sleep. Neither of these adds any nutritional value so try to steer clear when possible.
8. Smaller, frequent meals
Dietitians often recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals to keep blood sugar stable. Try to avoid going long periods without eating to help stabilize moods.
9. Anti-inflammatory foods
Inflammation is thought to be at the root of many health conditions and mental health disorders. Foods considered anti-inflammatory include green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, berries and olive oil.
In conclusion, following a bipolar disorder diet can help you stay healthy and stabilize moods. Reading food labels and learning about overall nutrition can do wonders for your health. Many of these tips can help ward off other medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.