08 December 2022

Best and Worst Foods for Those Living with OCD

For those living with mental health conditions, proper diet and exercise are an integral part of managing almost every related condition. Although an official cause has not yet been determined, symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be improved by the right kinds of physical activity and food. For those looking for additional ways to improve their symptoms, diet modifications are a wonderful place to start.

If you currently struggle with symptoms of OCD, explore foods that support healing, while avoiding any that can aggravate symptoms.

Photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

Best: Fruits and vegetables

When searching for suitable diets and workouts to improve symptoms of this condition, one of the most helpful habits is consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Incorporating a diverse arrangement of produce into one’s diet nourishes the body with significant levels of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium have been found to be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms. Some of the best fruits and vegetables to incorporate into one's diet include tomatoes, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, and berries.

Best: Foods high in omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fatty acid is crucial for overall health, especially as it relates to promoting mental health. More specifically, studies have shown that omega-3 has the ability to help reduce anxiety. Since omega-3 is not naturally produced by the body, it is important to make an effort to regularly eat foods that contain the substance. Foods high in omega-3 include salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, and egg yolks.

Worst: Alcohol and caffeine

As with other mental health conditions (such as depression and anxiety), alcohol and caffeine are not helpful when managing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Because it is a stimulant, caffeine can worsen the associated feelings of anxiety (even in small quantities). And while alcohol may give the illusion of improving the disruptive symptoms of OCD, those who are working to manage the condition can develop an addiction to the substance. Also, it is especially dangerous to consume alcohol while taking certain medications for anxiety and depression. To best manage symptoms, it is important to steer clear of alcohol and caffeine altogether.

Worst: Foods with added sugar

Because excess sugar consumption can negatively impact dopamine and serotonin levels in the body, it is essential to avoid when looking to promote healing of various mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder. High sugar foods such as soft drinks, candy, and pastries should be avoided when possible.

Promoting healing through proper diet

While diet alone cannot fully eliminate the distressing symptoms of OCD, eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods can help manage symptoms. The first step in using food to improve symptoms is to assess your current diet as it relates to the foods listed above. From there, begin to incorporate more of the foods that support the management of symptoms, and eliminate those that can have a detrimental effect.


By using this site you agree to our terms and conditions. The Open Forest website is medical in nature and thus, may include health or medical information. This content is posted for informational and educational purposes only. Open Forest in no way engages in the practice of medicine and does not render medical advice. We do not provide asynchronous telemental health services or any other medical service. Nothing posted on Open Forest is intended to be used for the purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment. The use of Open Forest does not create a provider/patient relationship between a user and Open Forest. Users must always seek the advice of their physician or another qualified healthcare professional with medical questions. Users must agree to contact their healthcare professional or an emergency medical service, by dialing 911 when they believe they are experiencing a medical emergency.