Several studies over the years show that nutritional intervention can manage mental health disorders to an extent. Schizophrenic patients who go through severe mood swings, depression, and fatigue are prone to suffer from poor physical health. They face premature mortality due to diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions. Proper management of diet improves physical well-being, which is important for mental health.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid obesity
- Regulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels
- Reduce the symptoms that trigger schizophrenic attacks
- Improve energy levels
- Make positive adjustments in lifestyle that lead to improved mental health
The role of a diet that has a lot of fiber
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is essential to maintain health and avoid weight gain. A plan for a high-fiber diet must have a minimum quantity of fiber each day. Starting the day with a meal that includes brown rice or brown bread or cereal like muesli is a good option. Including good portions of fruits and vegetables is recommended. A full breakfast apart from meeting nutrition requirements also helps to keep cravings for junk food at bay. This is important, as people suffering from schizophrenia tend to fall into junk food habits when they are under stress.
A diet rich in essential fatty acids
Omega–3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to reduce schizophrenic conditions. Hence, people at risk of developing schizophrenia should include food that is rich in omega–3 and omega-6 fatty acids like meat, fish, eggs, nuts, soybeans, and corn. Schizophrenic patients were tested to have inflammatory chemicals in their bodies, which worsens their condition. A diet that has essential fatty acids helps in reducing this inflammation.
Plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for good health. Vitamins like vitamin B and D are known to boost mental health. Vitamin B-rich foods are especially known to reduce symptoms in schizophrenia. Of the eight vitamins in vitamin B, B9 and B12 have more effect in managing depression. Salmon, seafood, and meat, especially the liver, chicken, pork, and eggs are all vitamin B-rich foods. Vegetarians get their daily dose of vitamins from leafy greens like spinach, turnip greens and lettuce, milk, legumes like green peas, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, yogurt, fortified cereal, seeds, and nuts. These foods also contain minerals like magnesium and calcium, which helps in nerve functions and blood sugar level regulation.
In schizophrenia, chemicals from food have an oxidative effect, and antioxidants in the diet help to mitigate this condition. Milk, nuts, seafood, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, grapes, berries, red wine, onions, and garlic are foods that are high in antioxidants.