Following an optimum diet, in addition to medication and other therapies, can enhance living with a mental illness. The goal is to eat as healthily as possible. There are foods that should be avoided and foods that should be added to one’s diet.
Among the foods to avoid are sugary drinks such as sodas and many fruit juices, highly processed foods that contain ingredients that are actually chemicals that cannot be pronounced, and salty foods such as chips and other snacks. Most fried foods should also be avoided.
If you are living with depression it is also advisable to avoid alcoholic drinks since alcohol is a depressant that can make matters worse.
Foods that are beneficial include fresh fruits and vegetables. If you think fresh vegetables will spoil before you can eat them, consider buying frozen vegetables since they are minimally processed and do not contain added salts and sugars.
Oily fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, trout and mackerel are excellent replacements for red meat. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are also nutritious, as are unsalted nuts like almonds and cashews. Beans are a great source of protein that also helps reduce or maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
When grocery shopping it is best to stay on the perimeter of the store where produce, dairy and frozen vegetables are found. Avoid many of the interior aisles where salty and sugary snacks and highly processed foods are located. A good rule of thumb is to select items that have five or less ingredients. (It is a good idea to take a magnifying glass to the store to make it easier to read the ingredient list on packages).
Finally, it is best to never skip breakfast. Eating breakfast high in whole grains helps fuel your body throughout the day. It takes practice and trial and error in finding an eating regimen that is both satisfying and beneficial.
It is recommended that you discuss your specific medications and recommended diet with your healthcare provider before making major changes.
Eating healthily can help you feel better while nurturing your body and mind.