What Foods Are Good to Calm Manic Depression?
Diet has a major influence on anyone’s day-to-day life, but this influence can be even greater in those who are suffering from a mental illness such as manic depression or bipolar disorder. Foods can alter moods, from lifting one’s spirits to making one hostile, and foods that are eaten regularly can even have an effect on one’s personality. Because of this, there are several types of foods which can be used to help bring someone down when she is in a manic state and to assist her in maintaining a better mental and emotional balance overall.
Removing Negative Foods
Many professionals encourage people with mood disorders to cut back on items containing caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Caffeine and sugar are both stimulants, and can make individuals hyper or full of nervous energy. Alcohol, on the other end of the spectrum, is a depressant; it tends to relax and slow down the drinker. Both of these effects can cause problems for individuals with manic depression, since their disorder tends to carry them from feeling energetic to slow and depressed anyway. Foods that add to either of these emotional states can make it much more difficult to find a comfortable balance.
While the general population is told every day that too many carbohydrates are bad for you and will make you gain weight, they are absolutely essential to anyone trying to stabilize his mood. Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as pastas, potatoes and rice, stimulate serotonin production in the brain (which is one of the chemicals in the brain that affects mood and causes depression if there isn’t enough of it).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon and mackerel and in a number of oils as well. These acids have been shown to improve overall health, assist clarity of thought and aid in the treatment of depressive symptoms as well.
Some herbs can be useful, both in combating the depression that comes with bipolar disorder and calming the manic episodes. Herbs such as St. John’s wort are renowned as a folk remedy for depression and may help overall mental clarity as well. Herbs that are used to help calm mania, on the other hand, include chamomile, marjoram, and valerian. Herbal teas such as chamomile can be served with honey or with a little vanilla and cream in order to add flavor without adding excess sugar.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most people have spent a good portion of their lives hearing someone pushing the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. In cases of manic depression, another benefit comes in the form of the calming qualities of these foods. This is due to both the carbohydrates they contain and vitamin B-6, which is another nutrient that aids in serotonin production.