Schizophrenia, a mental disorder, is characterized by hallucinations, disorganized behavior, speech issues, etc. Some studies suggest that abnormalities in the neurotransmitters in the brain are what causes this condition. Modern research has also been trying to find a link between diet and mental illnesses.

It is theorized that there are certain foods to avoid for schizophrenia patients that can make symptoms worse. And others can help in the treatment of this disease. A few of the foods to avoid are as follows.

1. Wheat
Wheat, or rather gluten, is among the top foods to avoid for schizophrenia patients. Certain studies link celiac disease and gluten allergy with mental conditions like schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, and more. Eating these foods while being intolerant to gluten can be detrimental to mental health. So gluten-rich foods, like bread, pasta (even the whole-grain variety), and wheat-based cereals, need to be cut out from a schizophrenia patient’s diet.

2. Carbohydrates
Carbs, mostly simple carbs like sugar, need to be cut out from the diet of those with schizophrenia. Rice, potatoes, pasta, white bread, sugar, etc., are among the foods to avoid for schizophrenia patients as they can contribute to weight gain. Due to mental imbalance, lack of exercise, and metabolic changes, schizophrenia patients are prone to obesity. Therefore, carbohydrates intake should be controlled to keep patients suffering from this condition healthy. A keto diet, which involves eating fewer carbs, moderate fats, and high amounts of protein, can help manage schizophrenia.

3. Unhealthy fats
Foods that are rich in unhealthy or monounsaturated fats are among the foods to avoid for schizophrenia patients. Studies indicate that people with mental illnesses benefit from eating a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids or healthy fats. These contain a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for brain health. But processed fats like those found in burgers, red meat, and soybean oil lead to weight gain and are not recommended for schizophrenia patients.

4. Desserts
Desserts and other sugary foods are among the foods to avoid for schizophrenia patients. These foods can cause blood sugar levels to increase. As some antipsychotic medications have the same effect, it is unhealthy for schizophrenia patients to eat too many sweet things. Sugary foods can also act like a stimulant (not unlike certain recreational drugs) and make the symptoms of this condition worse.

Sweet foods can be eaten once in a while in small quantities as a snack. It is also advised that schizophrenia patients eat a diet with a low-glycemic index.

Age, genetic factors, lifestyle, and many other variables can be risk factors for schizophrenia. A healthy diet is likely to help manage this condition as it prevents the worsening of symptoms and other complications. But along with diet, there are several treatments for this condition. Antipsychotic drugs, group therapy, cognitive therapy being some of the most common.