There is no evidence to suggest that any particular type of food affects schizophrenia. However, it is true that a wholesome diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, dairy, omega-3 fatty acids, and other trace minerals help schizophrenia patients maintain a healthy body weight and keep fit.
Along with medication that helps in keeping them stable, excellent nutrition, safe lifestyle habits, and regular exercise are good for mental well-being and proper body functioning. Since people showing symptoms of schizophrenia tend to sometimes follow unhealthy eating habits, here is a simple food guide that might help manage this chronic mental condition better.
Include all food groups
Schizophrenia patients veer towards a high-fat, low-protein diet that leads to weight gain and other health complications like high blood pressure or diabetes, in addition to the existing condition. The goal hence is to modify dietary eating patterns to include all food groups in proper amounts. Schizophrenia patients should get adequate fiber from fruits like apples, pears, and berries; Vitamin B and folic acid from whole grains, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, spinach, fish, and eggs. Also, tap into potassium present in sweet potatoes and kidney beans, zinc from oysters and crabs, and yogurt for healthy gut bacteria. All of these vitamin and mineral-rich foods help alleviate schizophrenia symptoms.
Serotonin-rich foods calm the mind
Research shows that foods rich in serotonin calm the mind. It is because they minimize anxiety-prone habits and lifestyles, and instead encourage control over moods and behavior. Apart from that, niacin, Vitamin C, and omega-3 fats are beneficial in dealing with schizophrenia symptoms. Eating whole-grain foods like whole-grain bread or pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and boneless chicken is ideal for one’s body to produce serotonin.
Omega-3 foods assist neurotransmitters
Omega-3 fatty acids facilitate proper brain functioning by establishing correct neural connections and excellent signaling between neurotransmitters. They work as mood stabilizers and prevent or subdue symptoms of schizophrenia, like depression and anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally present in abundance in cold-water fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna, trout, herring, halibut, and sardines, and eggs, and flax seeds.
Selenium improves moods
Selenium is a trace element that impacts moods. Both extremely high and low levels are damaging and can worsen symptoms of schizophrenia. Selenium-rich foods like tuna, ham, mushroom, soybeans, steak, shrimp, turkey, sardine, Brazil nuts, and halibut help balance mood fluctuations by reducing inflammation. Selenium also prevents cell damage in the brain because it is a powerful antioxidant. Yet it must be a minimum quantity, so it does not work in reverse and have a detrimental effect.
Avoid processed foods
Not just achieving an ideal weight, a modified diet that restricts unhealthy food also reduces negative symptoms of schizophrenia associated with moods and behavior. When schizophrenia symptoms surface, patients are not in a proper mental state to evaluate what they eat or make an effort to buy the right ingredients for a healthy meal. But, however difficult it may seem at the moment, making a deliberate effort to avoid pre-made lunches, packed sandwiches, and processed foods with sugar, additives, and preservatives help reduce the worsening of schizophrenia symptoms considerably.
Restrict substances that cause addiction
Restricting the consumption of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and fat-heavy red meat brings about positive outcomes to schizophrenia episodes by making the condition more manageable. Quitting such foods is especially hard for schizophrenia patients because they have a high tendency to abuse these. So the effort must be a determined one.
Lower medicine intake
When healthy food is the option, naturally, foods detrimental to health are avoided. It, in turn, leads to reduced recurrence of schizophrenic episodes and with lesser intensity. All these changes work like a chain reaction, resulting in lowering the dosage of medications, and hence the dependence on it.