Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC
So many people suffer from bipolar disorder in modern times. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2.8% of the American population suffers from bipolar disorder. That works out to around seven million people by current estimates. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that people are looking for good ways to help make a living with bipolar disorder easier. This is why the phrase “bipolar diet” has become so prevalent as of late. Many people are looking for natural ways to help fight bipolar disorder that won’t give them any side effects.
Sadly, there isn’t a specific “bipolar diet” that will help you alleviate your mental health issues. There are no special foods out there that can turn your bipolar disorder around, but that doesn’t mean that what you eat can’t play a role in supporting your mental health. You see, there are still food choices that will be beneficial to you. However, this diet is just something that helps people out no matter what type of health problems they have. If you want to go on a “bipolar diet,” then it’s going to be about making positive health choices and getting away from bad foods for you.
Stop Eating Processed Foods
One of the biggest changes that will help you out with your health is to stop eating processed foods. Admittedly, it can be hard to completely cut processed foods from your diet in this era. It’s just going to be beneficial to avoid eating processed foods as much as possible. This means not buying frozen foods from the grocery store or other processed foods containing many chemicals and additives. If you cut this type of food from your diet, then your overall health will improve quite a bit.
This isn’t necessarily going to reduce your bipolar disorder symptoms, but it should help you feel happier and more energetic. Eating bad foods for you will make you feel more sluggish, and processed foods also have very high-calorie content on average. This means that you will be more likely to become overweight or develop other health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. Essentially, dietary changes are about supporting your mental health by making your body feel the best that they can.
Avoid Sugary Snacks
Sugary snacks might be harder to resist for some than others, but you should try to limit your intake of stuff like this. You’re going to be more at risk for diabetes if you don’t keep your sugar intake at reasonable levels. Sugary snacks should be saved as occasional treats instead of becoming something that you consume every single day. Showing discipline when it comes to eating snacks will help you maintain a better physique, and you’ll be less likely to encounter various health problems later on in life.
Cut Your Red Meat Intake
Red meat is a staple of the American diet, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all that good for you. Of course, red meat is a fine source of nutrients, but this meat is also highly fatty while not being so good for your heart. There are better types of meat out there that you can eat that will be good for your body. Even just eating more chicken would likely be a healthier choice than regularly consuming red meat. You don’t need to stop eating red meat entirely if it’s something you enjoy, but having fewer red meat meals each week might be a solid idea.
Consider Eating More Fish
Fish is going to be a fantastic replacement for red meat in your diet if you’re willing to eat it. Many people have made the switch to fish because they are a great source of beneficial nutrients. Cold-water fish are especially nutrient-dense, and this is going to make it possible for you to get many nutrients without taking in too many calories. You can eat fish without ruining your diet, and you’re also going to get filled up nicely. If you’re not against eating meat, fish should become a big part of your diet moving forward.
Start Eating More Fruits And Vegetables
Experts say that the people who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are going to live longer lives. This means that you should try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables regularly. These are foods that are very good for you and will help you to maintain a healthy body. It’s also great because many fruits are naturally sweet, and you can use them to satisfy the sweet cravings you get when you’re getting used to avoiding sugary snacks.
Best of all, there are so many different varieties of fruits and vegetables that it will be hard to get bored with them. You can always try out some different fruits when you start to get a little bored eating your current favorite. Maybe you’ll eat lots of bananas for one week and then you’ll decide to get yourself some pears the next. Vegetables can be approached in much the same way since you can find many different kinds to appeal to different tastes. Once you’ve discovered many fruits and vegetables that you enjoy, it’ll be simpler to move forward with a good diet.
It’s also good to know that eating more fruits and vegetables will be good for the planet. Climate change is on many people’s minds, and experts say that meat production is contributing to it. Eating more fruits and vegetables while abstaining from meat more often will be good for the entire world. It’s great for your health, and you’re going to feel good about doing your part to work toward a better tomorrow. Even if you aren’t used to eating lots of fruits and vegetables right now, it’s going to be possible to love it once you’ve grown accustomed to it.
Getting fresh fruits and vegetables should also make a difference. Try to shop at local farmer’s markets where you can get fresh ingredients to work with. Having fresh fruits and vegetables will wind up being even tastier than the stuff you’ll get in cans at your local grocery store. Either way, just know that this is a good life choice to make. It’ll help you stay in better shape to have an easier time staying positive while you deal with your bipolar disorder.
One of the most practical ways to ensure that you maintain a healthy weight is to simply count calories. Paying attention to your daily caloric intake will make it easier to manage your weight. You can easily do some math based on your current weight and the calories you’re taking in. You’ll need to eat a certain number of calories each day to maintain your current body weight, and eating fewer calories than that should cause you to lose weight. Not everyone counts calories, but those that do will be able to lose weight easier.
Exercise More Often
Exercise is going to be helpful for anyone who wants to get into better shape. It also helps that many doctors and therapists recommend getting exercise to help mitigate some bipolar symptoms. You see, part of dealing with bipolar disorder is about going through periods of depression. Exercise can make you happier and boost your mood, so it makes sense that it would be good for depression in that way. It’s also easier to stay positive and happy when you’re proud of your body. Your hard work in the gym can pay off with increased confidence.
Try to maintain a regular exercise schedule to get the results you’re looking for. If you’re able to do this often enough, then you’ll get into better shape and feel better about yourself mentally. If you’re still going through lots of problems with depression, then you might want to take a depression test. Talk to your doctor about the results and how you’re feeling. Exercise is an effective tool for managing your symptoms, but it isn’t necessarily a cure. Just know that it helps you out a lot even if it can’t take your bipolar symptoms away completely.
Diet Does Make A Difference
Even though there isn’t a specific bipolar diet that can take away your bipolar disorder issues, your diet can still play a role in making your life better. If you’re able to commit to eating more fruits and vegetables, you will feel a lot better overall. Just cutting out processed foods and sugary snacks from your diet will be a huge help. It might not be easy at first when you’re used to eating a lot of junk food, but many people have been able to turn things around and start feeling better.
This is something that will take you some time, and you might not transform your body overnight. It can feel like hard work, but it’s also going to be very satisfying to see your physical health improve. Better physical conditioning will benefit your mental health in various ways. How you feel about your body does play a role in your overall mental health, after all. Hopefully, this simple diet and exercise advice will be beneficial to you. Just know that you have the power to make a difference. Your diet can’t replace traditional treatments for bipolar disorder, but it can help work along with them to give you a better life.