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8 foods to avoid if you have Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a complex disorder characterized by emotional highs and lows, ranging from very mild to extreme, and mood swings. The symptoms must occur consistently to count as episodes and not only affects mood but also actions, thoughts, behavior, and sleep. Bipolar disorder once affected only 1% of the population. Now, however, it affects around 3% to 4% of the population. The bipolar disorder symptoms can overlap with other psychiatric conditions, and there are no laboratory tests for diagnosing bipolar disorder.


There is no specific diet that you can and should follow if you have bipolar disorder. However, making wise dietary choices and maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight is crucial.

  • You should avoid consuming red meat and food that is rich in trans fat, saturated fats, and simple carbohydrates. These foods can increase the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Eating foods not rich in saturated fats do not directly affect the bipolar disorder symptoms but improves overall health.

  • Introduce a balance of protective and nutrient-rich foods in your bipolar diet, including fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, cold-water fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, soy products, and nuts and seeds.

  • Keep a watch on your caloric intake and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that people who have bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing obesity or getting overweight. You can also consult your doctor on how to avoid gaining weight while on bipolar medications.


Some general dietary recommendations for people who have bipolar disorder include:

  1. You should avoid taking too much caffeine to get good sleep. Caffeine can act as a boost for energy and mood for people who have bipolar disorder. however, getting good sleep is vital for bipolar disorder patients, which caffeine can disrupt. Caffeine can also cause nervousness, heart palpitations, headaches, worsen high blood pressure, or cause irritation in the stomach or esophagus in people who have acid reflux. However, you shouldn’t cut down on caffeine abruptly but consume in moderate quantity.

  2. In addition to lowering the intake of caffeine, avoiding foods rich in high-fat is also essential, particularly with some bipolar disorder medications. Avoiding a high-fat meals diet can reduce the risk of obesity. High-fat meals can delay the time some bipolar disorder medications require to get absorbed into your system. You can talk to your doctor regarding your medicines and dietary changes needed if any.

  3. You should control your intake of salt if you have blood pressure, but if you have been prescribed lithium, too much cutting down on salt can increase the level of lithium in the blood.

  4. Avoid food that your doctor clearly instructed you to stay away from, particularly those that can affect your bipolar disorder medications.

  5. You should also avoid natural dietary supplements as natural dietary supplements can cause a drug-herb reaction.

  6. You should also avoid taking Grapefruit juice with your bipolar disorder medications. Grapefruit juice can increase the blood levels of several psychiatric drugs used for treating bipolar disorder, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, stimulants, sedative-hypnotics. It can cause toxicity, excessive drowsiness, and mental impairment.

  7. You should avoid foods that contain tyramine if you take MAO inhibitors to prevent severe hypertension. MAO inhibitors are a specific class of antidepressants, including phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate). Some foods high in tyramine include overly ripe bananas, tap beer, fermented cheese, aged meats, wines, such as Chianti, and soy sauce in high quantities.

  8. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people who have bipolar disorder are five times more likely to develop alcohol abuse than the general population. Various studies have established a strong link between bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Alcohol acts as a trigger to mania and depressive episodes. Often, substance abuse requires it’s own treatment.


The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating non-fried fatty fish at least two times a week, including Albacore tuna, Anchovies, Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, and Trout.

If you don’t eat fish, you can use fish oil supplements as an alternative, but whether the positive effects ar the same is not yet known. Omega-3 fatty acids can help people who have bipolar disorder, particularly those who are at a higher risk of high triglycerides or cardiovascular disease. A study of 75 patients showed that omega-3 fatty acids reduced depression in people with bipolar disorder.


We are looking for people who have severe bipolar disorder, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial. Contact us on +1-909-423-0367 to find out more. You can fill out the form at for enrolling in a clinical trial. We also compensate you for your travel expenses.



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