Foods to be avoided by individuals with schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is triggered by a combination of physical, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. While there is no specific meal plan to treat the condition, certain food changes can help prevent a relapse. Also, schizophrenics are more prone to a variety of physical health issues, which is why it becomes more important to avoid certain foods. Here is a list of foods to be avoided by people with schizophrenia.
Foods to be avoided by schizophrenics
Gluten sensitivity can worsen mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Switching to gluten-free meals can help improve the patient’s condition and make them feel better. People with the condition should avoid foods containing gluten such as wheat, rye, and barley.
Consuming foods high in sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike, impacting mood and impairing memory. Cutting out refined sugars found in candies, cakes, and sweetened beverages might help ease the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Foods containing artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, can lead to high insulin levels. Research also suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners can cause behavioral, cognitive, and neurophysiological problems.
High-fat dairy products
Dairy products are one of the main culprits for inflammation and can worsen mental health conditions, including schizophrenia. Individuals with the condition should consider limiting their consumption of dairy products like heavy cream, butter, and full-fat cheese.
Processed vegetable oils
According to a 2018 study, the consumption of processed oils such as soybean, canola, and vegetable oils can cause cognitive decline. The inflammation caused by these lesser-quality oils has been linked to mental health conditions and schizophrenia.
Foods high in trans fats
Foods such as potato chips, pizza, and fast food are high in trans fats. Their regular consumption causes inflammation, affecting mental health and preventing the production of omega-3 fatty acids that help improve brain function. Foods high in trans fats should be avoided by schizophrenia patients.
High salt intake is not only associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular health but can also impact the brain. Consuming excessively salty foods can cause inflammation in the body and contribute to impaired cognitive function.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a common food additive that can adversely affect the brain, especially in people with schizophrenia. There are many foods in the market that contain glutamate, which may be listed under a different name in the ingredients list. Before buying, read the nutrition label and look for names such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extract, and protein isolate.
Red and processed meat
Red and processed meat have a high saturated fat content, which causes higher inflammation levels in the body. Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats consumed may help reduce the severity of mental health conditions.
Energy drinks have a high caffeine and sugar content which can affect people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. They can do more harm than good and should be avoided.
Though processed foods are easily accessible and affordable, they are high in additives, sugar, salt, and calories. Regular consumption of processed foods increases inflammation throughout the body including the brain. Schizophrenics should eliminate processed foods from their meals, taking care to also avoid frozen and instant foods.
Schizophrenics should avoid consuming coffee to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a powerful psychoactive compound. Drinking coffee boosts alertness and energy. However, high caffeine use can cause people to exhibit psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.
Schizophrenics should swap the above-listed foods with healthier, doctor-mandated food options to improve their condition. A healthy meal along with treatment and physical therapy can help improve the quality of life of individuals with the condition.