Guide To Foods To Eat With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder. It causes changes in cognitive functioning, specifically in how patients perceive reality. Patients may have both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are those that add or are new to patients. Examples of positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, and repetitive movements. Negative symptoms are the ones that take away from patients. They include reductions in energy levels, attachment to reality, and the ability to emote. 

Every patient needs treatment for schizophrenia. Ultimately, most schizophrenia remedies involve medication and psychotherapy. The best medicine for schizophrenia often involves antipsychotics. Of course, some individuals may try supplements for schizophrenia. Patients need to discuss schizophrenia treatment with their doctor. However, there are foods that they should always include in a schizophrenia diet to help control their symptoms.

Fatty Fish

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Fatty fish is a good choice for individuals to ensure that they receive the necessary omega-3 fatty acids for healthy development. Omega-3 fatty acids serve a purpose in the brain's structural and biochemical development. These acids also impact the neurotransmitters that schizophrenia affects. Patients who do not have the right level of fatty acids could exacerbate their symptoms. This happens when they cause their neurotransmitters to be more unregulated. 

Some research also indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may be effective at preventing the development of schizophrenia. Omega-3 fatty acids have antioxidant properties and help prevent cell death, making them protective for the brain. Some researchers recommend that high-risk populations use fatty fish and omega-3 supplements to prevent this condition. Individuals should eat a medium amount of fish. This is because psychosis has been associated with eating too much or too little fish. Too much fish usually involves more than five portions a week.

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Flax Seeds

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Flax seeds are another source of vital omega-3 fatty acids. The same is true of plant oils like flaxseed oil and canola oil. Due to their dense nutrient levels, flax seeds have been praised as a superfood in many diets. A single tablespoon of ground seeds has 1.3 grams of protein and 1.9 grams of fiber. It also has 1,597 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Of course, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds are quite beneficial for schizophrenia patients and managing their symptoms. One teaspoon of these seeds also has a measurable amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, calcium, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and potassium. 

Some studies indicate that flax seeds may be able to lower blood pressure. The lignans in the flax seeds might reduce a person's risk of developing cancer. Meanwhile, the proteins have multiple different amino acids. Researchers found that the proteins in flax seeds improve immune system function, prevent tumors, and lower cholesterol. The proteins even have antifungal benefits. Plant-based proteins are a great alternative to animal proteins for patients on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Flax seeds may also help control blood sugar. Since schizophrenia patients often develop diabetes, this is significantly beneficial.

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Blueberries

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Blueberries, another popular superfood, may have specific effects on schizophrenia. This is, in large part, due to their high antioxidant levels. As cells carry out their tasks and break down, the body produces oxidative molecules. Patients with high levels of oxidative molecules are more likely to experience negative symptoms. Antioxidants neutralize the actions of these molecules. This means that they may lessen the severity of negative symptoms. In some cases, they may even eliminate them. 

The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that indicated free radicals might cause cell damage that makes patients resistant to treatment. The destruction of the molecules in individuals with this condition is similar to the destruction of brain tissue in Alzheimer's disease patients. Blueberries have few calories while containing many nutrients. One cup of blueberries has four grams of fiber. It also has significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Since blueberries are mostly made of water, a full cup has only around eighty-four calories in total.

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Beans And Lentils

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Beans and lentils are vital because they have significant amounts of folic acid. The brain engages in a process called methylation to maintain its neurochemistry. Schizophrenia patients are more likely to have faulty methylation processes. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can build up in high levels in the blood when an individual is dealing with methylation issues. Folic acid and B-vitamins both help decrease levels of this amino acid. 

Studies have shown that some schizophrenia patients may have a more challenging time reaping the benefits of folic acid. This appears to be because of their genetics. Thus, these patients may need to consume more folic acid than the average person. Beans and lentils are high in vitamin B6 as well. However, vitamin B12 is only in animal products. Thus, vegans may need to get vitamin B12 in dietary supplements. Beans and lentils are also rich sources of fiber. They are vegetarian sources of protein as well.

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Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are helpful for mental health management. One of the mental illnesses they help with is schizophrenia. Sweet potatoes contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene. As previously mentioned, antioxidants can help prevent free radicals from doing damage to the brain. One cup of sweet potatoes has more than 750 percent of an individual's recommended daily vitamin A intake. It also contains several grams of fiber and protein. The same amount of sweet potatoes has significant amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, copper, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Finally, it has more than half of an individual's daily vitamin C and half of their daily manganese.

When looking for antioxidant-rich foods, purple and orange sweet potatoes are the best options. Sweet potatoes have two types of fiber in them, so they are good at regulating bowel movements. Studies indicate that the antioxidants might also have beneficial effects on overall gut health. Overall, all of these nutrients are essential for an individual's health, particularly when they have schizophrenia.

Katherine MacAulay