Foods to Avoid for Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a reaction in the brain causing people to swing between highly elevated and manic moods, to the other side, where they fall into a deep depression.

Each bipolar patient is different, and there is no set pattern of which mood their brain may be putting them in. Sometimes, a person may swing back and forth between manic and depressive states, while others may have several swings of manic states or depression, before swinging the other way.

Nobody is clear exactly what causes people to become bipolar, but their hormones, as well as stressors in life, greatly contribute to it. Left untreated, a patient with bipolar disorder can be in a bad psychological state for a year or more, while with medication, such as lithium, most people with bipolar disorder can lead normal lives, with only occasional relapses. Besides medication, evidence shows that what you eat can greatly contribute to your being more healthy (particularly against the side effects of depression) or worsen symptoms. Food and drinks that can worsen symptoms include:

1. Alcohol

At first, alcohol may tend to relax you, but after a few drinks, you may feel considerably more jittery.

2. Highly caffeinated drinks 

Not only does caffeine make you feel more jittery, but it can also interfere with your ability to sleep, which is essential for control of bipolar disorder. Other foods that don’t necessarily accelerate the symptoms of being bipolar but which don’t mix well with most drugs to control it include:

  • Grapefruit and grapefruit juice
  • Aged cheeses
  • Cured meats
  • Dried fruit
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi

On the other hand, there are several foods that preliminary research has shown can contribute greatly to an overall sense of health, and in particular, fight off depression. These include:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids 

Particularly from sources of cold fish such as mackerel, salmon and halibut, omega-3 fatty acids are not only essential for proper brain and heart health, but studies have shown that it helps reduce sources of depression.

2. Serotonin-producing foods

Foods such as whole-grain toast, whole grain pasta, and brown rice, for example, boost the amount of serotonin in the body, which has been described as a feel-good chemical and may contribute to your feeling in greater control.

3. Selenium producing foods

Foods containing selenium, such as brazil nuts, steak, and turkey can also contribute

to stabilizing your moods.

4. Additional foods

Other foods have been shown by research to have promise in stabilizing moods and reducing depression include:

  • Dark chocolate, which can lower stress
  • Beans, which contribute to magnesium levels,
  • Nuts such as almonds and brazil nuts which contain magnesium that helps eliminate stress
  • Probiotics eliminate inflammation
  • Herbal teas, which can lead to a calm feeling