Bipolar patients who eat a lot of processed meats are more prone to mania

An improper diet has consequences for your physical health. However, a study has confirmed that the consumption of processed meats can also negatively affect your mental health.

The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The link between your diet and your mental state

Earlier research has determined that psychiatric disorders are usually aggravated by a poor diet.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine, has revealed that the consumption of cured and processed meats may cause mania, especially in individuals who have already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The researchers examined more than 1,000 participants, and the group included persons both with and without psychiatric disorders.

The researchers studied the diets of the volunteers, and the findings showed that people who often consume foods such as hot dogs, jerky, salami, and other processed meats with nitrates had a tendency to be in an abnormally elevated mood state.

This “manic state” is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, persistent insomnia, and unfounded euphoria.

Other cured and processed foods that contain nitrates include:

The study results determined that individuals hospitalized for manic episodes were more than thrice as likely to have consumed nitrate-cured meats compared to those who have never been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disorder.

The researchers have also confirmed that eating certain kinds of food can impact gut bacteria composition and could have a major role in several psychiatric conditions.

Nitrates and mania

In a separate study, scientists analyzed the correlation between nitrates and mania using rat models.

The rats in the study were fed a similar ratio of food with nitrates as a human might consume. The test results revealed that the gut bacteria of the rats that ingested food with nitrates had different patterns than the subjects that didn’t consume the same kind of food.

The researchers also reported differences in their brains that resembled bipolar disorder in humans. This highlights the need for the psychiatric community of healthcare providers to acknowledge the importance of improving one’s diet.

While the cause of many psychiatric disorders remains unknown, genes and family history are often considered factors for these conditions. Researchers are still exploring environmental factors, such as diet, to determine if what a person eats can affect their mental health. (Related: Effects of the Mediterranean-style diet on depression, mental health.)

Research on nitrates and mental health confirms that certain diets, and possibly the amounts and types of bacteria in the gut, can trigger mania and other disorders that affect the brain.

Manic states can endanger individuals because they can make people prone to delusional thinking and risky behavior. Manic states can last weeks or months, and in a lot of cases, manic individuals may need hospitalization. This is alarming since bipolar disorder affects at least one to three percent of the population.

For decades, nitrates have been used to cure and preserve meat. Recent studies have confirmed that the regular consumption of cured meats is associated with neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer.

To avoid nitrates in food, make lifestyle changes and follow a healthy diet that includes organic meat, fruits, and vegetables. Proper nutrition can promote brain and cellular health, hormonal balance, and an ideal body chemistry. These factors can help improve your mental health and significantly minimize your risk of developing psychiatric disorders.

To learn more about processed foods and the link between your diet and mental health, visit

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