What To Eat & Avoid When You Have OCD?

OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is a common mental disorder represented by repetitive and persistent behaviors and actions that cannot be avoided. These behaviors affect the normal thinking of a diseased person and interfere with his daily life. He is aware of this condition that these behaviors are excessive, unwarranted, and unwanted.

It usually develops in children, adolescents, and adults mostly by the age of 19 years. It affects women more than men. Its symptoms include repeated actions like checking locks, hand washing, sexual obsessions, etc. It may result in difficulty in concentration, loss of sleep (insomnia), stress, etc.

What To Eat When You Have OCD?

What To Eat When You Have OCD?

Individuals with OCD suffer from repeated and persistent thoughts or behaviors or actions compulsively, which appears to reduce the anxiety triggered by their obsessions. People with OCD often experience anxiety, stress, and depression. It is observed in a few studies that alterations in the food choices may help to control the symptoms of this disorder.(1)

Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods rich in omega-3s fatty acids are found in walnuts, chia seeds, egg yolks, lettuce, and tomatoes. It can help to maintain the mental and physical health of a person. Various research studies state that omega-3 fatty acids reduce anxiety.(1)

Low-Fat Dairy Products: low-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt have the right amount of proteins that help in balancing blood sugar levels and the amino acid tryptophan levels. Tryptophan reduces anxiety by causing a calming effect. According to the National Sleep Foundation, U.S., carbohydrates help to supply tryptophan to the brain in higher quantities. It is advised to consume whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk or yogurt to deal with anxiety.(1)

What To Avoid When You Have OCD?

Foods Rich In Sugar- added sugar is found in products such as soda, candy, and other sweets. Excessive consumption of the diet rich in sugar elevates blood glucose levels that may induce elevated mood temporarily. A sudden rise in blood sugar may result in a panic attack, and an unexpected drop in sugar level may trigger depression or irritation. To prevent the symptoms of OCD, sugar levels should be stabilized and replacing them with nutrient-rich food.(2)

Foods Rich In Caffeine- caffeine is found in coca-cola, chocolate, green tea, soft drinks, and certain medicines. It is known that caffeine intake may trigger anxiety symptoms and compulsive behaviors. According to an article published in “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook,” those who have OCD and anxiety disorders should reduce consumption of caffeine in their diet to have better results.(2)

Alcohol- Alcohol acts as a depressant as it relieves anxiety temporarily and yields a sense of relaxation. But chronic consumption of alcohol triggers anxiety and worsen it by inducing OCD behaviors. It also disturbs the blood sugar levels in the body and disrupts one’s sleep. Moreover, it interrupts the medicines of anxiety disorders and OCD.(2)

Processed Foods- Processed foods contain additives such as salt and preservatives. These foods contain a particular additive named MSG, present in soups, fast food, and frozen dinners. According to an article by Ilene Sandas, M.A., L.P., and Christine Siegel, M.A., L.P. focused on nutrition and anxiety, these foods induce nervousness and malaise. Another recent study published in “The British Journal of Psychiatry” in 2009 states that highly processed foods, including sweetened desserts, processed meats, and refined grains can trigger depression in middle-aged adults as compared to a diet that has a surplus amount of fruits, fish and vegetables preserve the mental health.(2)

Conclusion

Low-fat dairy products and food rich in omega -3 rich foods should be consumed to reduce the intensity of anxiety and OCD. Sugary food, caffeinated food, alcohol, and processed food should be avoided in OCD as it may elevate the symptoms of the patient and also interfere with the actions of medicines prescribed for its treatment.

References:

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