Could A Change In Diet Support Recovery From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?


Obsessive compulsive disorder is the combination of unwanted, repetitive, intrusive obsessive thinking coupled with often unwanted, repetitive, and sometimes intrusive compulsive behaviors. The compulsive behaviors of OCD are a way to cope with the obsessive thinking. Similarly, the obsessive thinking typically dictates the compulsive behaviors. For example, “If I don’t spend 32 minutes exactly rearranging the fruit in the fruit bowl, my sister will get in a car accident and I will go to prison.” Spending 32 minutes doing anything to prevent a hypothetical situation wouldn’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t have obsessive compulsive disorder. The behaviors relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thinking. More importantly, the behaviors being completed lessen the pressure of the obsessive thinking.

Taking any kind of action to reduce stress, manage anxiety and inhibit harmful compulsive behaviors is part of living in recovery from obsessive compulsive disorder. New life behaviors become new habits which support mental health and recovery, like dietary changes. The mind relies on food to provide fuel and energy which can support reducing obsessive thinking, inhibit compulsive behavior, and generally assist with stress as well as emotional management. Here are a list of foods which are most beneficial to incorporate, as well as foods to limit, into a diet for recovering from obsessive compulsive disorder.


  • Tryptophan: An amino acid, one of the food nutrients essential to brain function, gets transformed into serotonin in the brain. Important for mood regulation, serotonin is also important for anxiety and sleep. Research has found that people who live with obsessive compulsive disorder tend to live with a serotonin deficiency, which might contribute to their high levels of anxiety.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are essential to a well balanced nutrition in every diet. Providing healthy sugars, vitamins and nutrients, fruits and vegetables can help balance mood as well as reduce stress.
  • Fish: Full of essential fats and acids, fish is an important protein for a brain recovering from mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the brain to function normally and can only be sourced from food.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine causes the brain to be hyperactive with high levels of anxiety and stress. The extreme highs and lows of caffeine consumption can cause the brain to react in volatile ways through obsessive thinking and compulsions. Therefore, it’s strongly suggested for those with obsessive compulsive disorder to limit the amount of caffeine they consume.


LEAD Recovery Center supports recovery from obsessive compulsive disorder through transitional care treatment which encourages clients to become leaders, fully autonomous in their lives. For information, call us today at 800-380-0012.