Contributed by: Anjali Sharma
Is there a magical “OCD diet” that you can eat to improve – or minimize –obsessions and compulsive behaviours?
Sadly, the answer is no. You’ll be disappointed to hear that no such diet exists.
However, there are countless research studies that now point to the fact that yes, some dietary changes can go a long way in supporting your brain health and making a difference in your OCD symptoms.
Certain foods, if avoided, may not result in a cure, but it can help bring symptoms under control so that they don’t wreak havoc on your mental health.
Let’s look at some foods that can exacerbate your obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.
Foods that may aggravate OCD
If you have OCD, panic attacks, or extreme anxiety, you should also avoid certain meals and substances.
Although additional research is needed to declare conclusively whether some of these meals aggravate symptoms, there is some indication that they may worsen your anxiety symptoms at the very least.
Foods containing sugar
According to one theory, OCD is linked to unstable blood sugar levels. Avoiding meals that further destabilise our glucose levels, such as foods high in refined carbohydrates, may be beneficial.
It is well-recognised that consuming a lot of sugary foods and drinks — such as soda, candy, chocolate, fruit drinks, desserts and other sweets — can cause blood sugar fluctuations.
The “sugar high” triggers OCD symptoms like exhaustion, mood swings, and anxiety neurosis. Patients with OCD experience acute mental confusion as their blood sugar levels fluctuate due to an excess of refined carbs.
Excess sugar consumption also promotes cognitive impairment, which results in irrational thoughts, ideas, and sensations.
If you suffer from OCD, your symptoms will only become worse.
Caffeine and other caffeinated beverages
Coffee has an unusual link with OCD; research has yet to determine whether caffeine is beneficial or harmful to OCD symptoms.
However, there is evidence that caffeine promotes anxiety symptoms because of its energising effect. Caffeine intoxication may intensify OCD symptoms making you feel nervous, worried, and anxious.
Be conscious of your caffeine intake and how you feel after a cup of coffee.
If you discover that caffeine makes your anxiety or OCD worse, consider eliminating it completely.
Caffeine should be avoided by people who suffer from panic episodes or obsessive behaviours.
Canned soups, wheat bread, and gluten-containing foods
Gluten is linked to mood swings, anxiety, and depression symptoms.
Gluten-based diets produce neuroinflammation, which leads to brain dysfunction and cognitive impairment due to decreased serotonin synthesis.
Obsessions and compulsive behaviours will be slowed if OCD patients carefully avoid these foods.
Pizza, burgers, and other processed foods
Because these meals decrease memory and higher cognitive functioning, they can contribute to anxiety and sadness.
Fast food is deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, which cause mental anxiety. The potassium bromate in these foods impairs thought processes and causes personality changes.
Propylene Glycol, a synthetic food ingredient found in processed foods, produces significant neurological symptoms such as odd feelings.
Exercise caution with foods having MSG
According to several studies, eating monosodium glutamate (MSG) aggravates OCD symptoms.
MSG is a common ingredient found in processed foods like soups, frozen dinners, pizza, hamburgers, fries and potato chips.
More research is needed to see if MSG makes OCD worse. However, MSG has been related to neurotoxicity and reproductive problems.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you limit or restrict your consumption of processed “junk” foods that contain MSG.
It may be tempting to reach for an alcoholic beverage to alleviate OCD symptoms, but keep in mind that this respite is just temporary.
Alcohol may give the illusion of improving the disruptive symptoms of OCD, however, the symptoms will return stronger than ever after the impact of drinking wears off.
Also, alcohol may interfere with anxiety drugs, making them less effective or having a harmful sedative effect.
You should avoid any drugs, including alcohol if you have OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common anxiety condition characterized by repetitive thoughts, urges beliefs, obsessions and/or compulsions.
If you’re suffering from symptoms of this complicated disorder, your treatment strategy is likely to include a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle and dietary modifications.
Remember, eating healthy foods that are recommended for optimal brain health have no negative consequences and are likely to help (or at least not harm) your OCD symptoms along with other aspects of your general health.
As an add-on, make a habit of taking preventive health checkups as they can help you in getting a complete insight into your health. This will also help you with taking measures to promote your overall well-being.