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7 Foods That Help to Calm Your Nerves During Bipolar Mania

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  • The highs and lows of bipolar disorder

    The highs and lows of bipolar disorder

    Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition. It’s marked by varying highs, known as mania, and lows, known as depression. While some people with bipolar disorder enjoy the manic side of it, there are times when your mood can get out of control. Certain foods might help relieve stress and calm you down during a manic episode.

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  • Berries


    Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries all contain natural antioxidants and vitamin C. According to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, vitamin C may help regulate your cortisol levels. This may help you recover more quickly from stress.

    Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands. Elevated cortisol levels activate your stress response. This increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and suppresses your immune system when you feel anxious or threatened. According to the Mayo Clinic, the long-term effects of high cortisol levels can include increased risk of heart disease, depression, and trouble sleeping.

  • Whole grains

    Whole grains

    Whole grains aren’t just good for your heart and digestive system; they may also have a calming effect on your mind. According to the Mayo Clinic, carbohydrates are thought to boost your brain’s production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical helps squash anxiety and may leave you feeling more in control.

    So the next time you’re feeling a little jittery or overwhelmed, grab some whole-grain crackers to nibble on. Whole-grain toast, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and quinoa are also good options.

  • Fish


    When stress and mania hit, you may want to sneak a few more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Among other benefits, these may help reduce anxiety, report researchers in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

    Rich sources of omega-3s include:

    • salmon
    • tuna
    • mackerel
    • herring
    • trout
    • halibut
    • sardines


    If fish doesn’t suit your tastes, consider snacking on walnuts, pumpkins seeds, or edamame to reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Beans


    What do black beans, lima beans, chickpeas, soy, and lentils have in common? They’re all members of the legume family, and they’re all rich sources of magnesium.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, several small studies have found that magnesium supplements may reduce mania and mood cycling in people with bipolar disorder. These studies focused on magnesium supplements, rather than magnesium from foods. More research is needed to learn if magnesium-rich foods can help improve your moods. In the meantime, adding fiber- and nutrient-rich beans to your diet is unlikely to hurt!

  • Apples, oranges, and bananas

    Apples, oranges, and bananas

    These three fruits do all sorts of good things for your body. They’re rich in fiber and vitamin C, which might help improve your immune function. They’re also bursting with fresh flavors and aromas. Even the slow process of peeling an orange can force you to slow down for a few minutes, providing a meditative moment that might be nearly as mood-boosting as the nutrients the fruit contains.

  • Herbal tea

    Herbal tea

    There are lots of calming teas on the market that might help settle your mind when you’re feeling worried or stressed. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, chamomile has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for upset stomach, anxiety, and insomnia. Its purported health benefits haven’t been well studied by modern researchers yet. But if you find that sipping on something hot is soothing, it’s worth giving a cup of chamomile tea a try.

  • Dark chocolate

    Dark chocolate

    Chocolate is a famous comfort food. But instead of munching on a bar of milk chocolate, go for the purest dark chocolate you can find. Just like berries, dark chocolate may help regulate your levels of stress hormones, suggest findings reported in the Journal of Proteome Research. Researchers found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks reduced the levels of stress hormones in participants’ bodies. It might help to sink your teeth into this bittersweet treat from time to time.

  • Foods to avoid

    Foods to avoid

    Not all foods will leave you feeling better. When you’re wired, it’s wise to avoid certain foods and beverages, including those that are high in caffeine or alcohol.

    Caffeine is a stimulant that can produce jittery feelings. It might amp up your anxiety levels and make it harder for you to sleep at night.

    You might think that alcohol will take the edge off a manic episode. But as your body breaks it down, it can make you feel more on edge. Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which can negatively affect your mood.

  • More information

    More information

    Certain foods might help calm your mind, but they’re no replacement for your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. Don’t make changes to your regular therapy without talking to your doctor first. Instead, consider adding mood-friendly foods to your routine to complement your other treatment strategies.

    Eating a well-balanced diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources is a good idea for everyone.