Many people try to find natural ways to cope with bipolar disorder symptoms. Sometimes, taking medication can be scary or expensive for patients who would like relief. So, many choose to try changing their diet. In this article, we will discuss how diet can help with bipolar disorder symptoms.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a condition in which someone has severe mood swings. One month you may be manic, or overly excited to the point where it’s unrealistic. Then, the next month you may be depressed, or overcome with sadness. Some people with bipolar disorder can have sleep problems or have issues completing everyday tasks. So, it’s important to take a bipolar disorder test and contact a counselor to seek a diagnosis.
Foods That Can Help With Bipolar Disorder
Thankfully, there are many foods that can help with mental health disorders. Although they likely won’t be as effective as medication or therapy, food can still help minimize some symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Most cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna can help with symptoms of bipolar disorder. All of these fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids. While researchers are still looking into if omega-3s directly help with mood disorders, many people believe they can help nerve cell signals. Omega-3s are a critical acid in your brain because they help facilitate signaling between your brain’s cells. So, foods high in omega-3s may help your brain function more efficiently.
Omega-3s are primarily a natural option to treat depression or bipolar depression. This is because omega-3 fatty acids have eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Because many people with bipolar disorder can struggle with periods of depressive symptoms, it’s worth adding foods that are high in omega-3s, such as cold-water fish, to your diet.
Another diet recommendation is to take a magnesium supplement. Similarly to omega-3 fatty acids, a magnesium deficiency is related to several mental health disorders. These include depressive disorders (including bipolar depression), anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and possibly even schizophrenia. Although there isn’t much research on magnesium and bipolar, there is sufficient evidence to conclude a magnesium deficiency can lead to several mental health disorders.
The best dosage for magnesium when trying to avoid mental health concerns is 320 to 420 milligrams. However, it’s important to consult your doctor to help you make a decision on if you should take this much magnesium, especially if you already consume it through food. Foods that are high in magnesium are salmon, avocados, legumes, and spinach. So, if you havea high volume of any of these foods on a daily basis, you are likely getting more than enough magnesium each day.
Heavily processed and sugary candy bars have given chocolate and other cocoa products a bad name. However, cocoa is considered a superfood amongst many healthcare professionals. For one, dark chocolate is high in magnesium, which we know can help with depression. But also, dark chocolate has a de-stressing effect. According to some research, it can help lower the stress hormone, cortisol.
The reason it’s important to keep your stress low when you have bipolar disorder is that it can trigger a manic or depressive episode. According to the Mayo Clinic, periods of high stress or trauma can triggersymptoms of bipolar disorder.So, eating foods like dark chocolate that can lower your cortisol levels can be helpful. However, nothing is more effective than protecting yourself from stressful environments such as a toxic workplace or busy crowd.
Changing Your Diet To Help With Bipolar Disorder
Overall, it’s important to eat healthy foods when trying to treat a mental illness with your diet. Highly processed foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar can disrupt your blood sugar levels severely, so it’s important to try to eat healthily as much as possible. However, focusing on the foods mentioned in this article should help you stabilize some bipolar disorder symptoms.