Diet is important for everyone, but diet is especially critical for those suffering from vertigo. The diet you eat can either help or hinder your recovery and quality of life.
This article will discuss what to eat and avoid when you have vertigo to get the most out of the best diet for vertigo.
What is vertigo?
Before we start dieting, it's important to know what vertigo is. It can be described as "the dizzying sensation of spinning when one does not actually move."
Vertigo is classified as an inner ear disorder based on a patient's symptoms. For example, when experiencing dizziness without any head or body movement, this could be caused by benign positional vertigo (BPPV).
A doctor would need to perform a physical exam and ask questions to help diagnose the cause. It is also classified as either short-term or long-lasting, depending on how long it takes for symptoms to subside.
Short-term vertigo usually lasts less than one day, while longer-lasting forms of vertigo can last up to three weeks, in rare cases even more.
What are the causes of vertigo?
There are many possible causes of vertigo. Some of the most common include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) - This condition occurs when crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and float into the wrong part of your ear canal. When this happens, you may feel like you're spinning or moving when you're standing still. It's usually temporary and usually clears up on its own within a few days.
Ménière's disease - This is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause episodes of vertigo as well as hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and fluctuating hearing loss over time. Ménière's disease most often affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, but it can affect anyone at any age. It affects women more often than men, but it's not clear why.
Medication – some medicines used to treat other conditions can cause vertigo as a side effect. These may include antibiotics, antiviral drugs, blood pressure medications and some antidepressants.
Infection – infections such as labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear) and otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) can cause a feeling of dizziness. Other infections that can cause this include meningitis, mumps and measles.
Symptoms of vertigo
The most common symptoms of vertigo are:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Blurred vision.
- Spinning sensation
Vertigo is more common in people over the age of 60 because as we grow older, our balance system changes. It can also be a symptom of an inner ear infection or other medical condition that affects your hearing and equilibrium.
What are the best diet for vertigo?
Diet for vertigo is very important, as diet can affect how severe it is. For example, alcohol and caffeine intake has been shown to worsen vestibular symptoms such as dizziness or nausea in people who suffer from this condition
It is important to note that the best diet for vertigo does not have a specific diet, but rather certain foods should be avoided and others have eaten.
Foods you can eat
- Whole Grains, such as brown rice or quinoa
- Low-fat dairy products, like unsweetened yogurt and skim milk
- Lean Protein Sources: turkey breast without skin, fish with low mercury content
- Sweet Potatoes
- Leafy Greens, such as spinach or kale
- Beans: black beans; lentils; chickpeas; edamame (soybeans)
- Fresh Fruits: apples; oranges; pears
- Vegetables: carrots, green beans, broccoli (include these in diet)
- Whole-wheat spaghetti
- Chicken breast without skin, grilled salmon with low mercury content (e.g., salmon)
- Eggs: omega-enriched eggs are better than non-omega enriched; egg whites only
Foods you should avoid
- Avoid eating any of the following foods:
- Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables. These can cause inflammation in your digestive tract which may worsen vertigo symptoms.
- Citrus fruit like grapefruit or oranges as well as tomatoes because they contain a lot of acids unless you have been instructed otherwise by a dietician.
- Spicy foods could also trigger a flare-up in some people with vertigo because of their high acid content and irritating spices such as pepper or hot chili peppers.
- Dairy products may cause mucus to build up in your nasal passages, which can trigger vertigo.
- Sugar, alcohol, and other foods that cause blood sugar levels to spike or drop too quickly may make symptoms worse.
- Fatty foods will slow down your digestion which can also worsen vertigo problems.
Avoid eating foods containing any of the following ingredients:
- Wheat flour, yeast, or sourdough they can cause stomach problems. This is because these substances contain gluten which may be hard for people with coeliac disease to digest.
- Artificial sweeteners such as diet sodas and diet gelatin desserts are often made with aspartame.
- MSG or other substances that are linked to vertigo, such as monosodium glutamate.
- Alcohol may trigger a headache due to its dehydrating effects, and the resulting rebound spike in blood sugar levels can worsen dizziness when standing up.
- Caffeine is known for causing symptoms like increased heart rate, palpitations, and agitation.
- Salty foods such as bacon or ham can worsen symptoms of vertigo because they cause fluid retention.
How vertigo can affect you?
The following are some of the ways in which vertigo can affect your life:
1. You don't feel comfortable moving around or doing activities that require you to be in motion.
2. You avoid social gatherings because you don't want people to see you shake or sway.
3. You don't like taking risks and may be afraid of heights, driving, etc.
4. Your confidence level has gone down due to vertigo and you don't feel like doing anything.
5. You are worried about what people think of you because they can see that something is wrong with your balance and coordination.
Vertigo can be a very debilitating condition, but it is not a permanent problem. With the right treatment and support, you can get back to doing the things that you enjoy.
When can you see a doctor?
If your vertigo lasts longer than a few days — especially if it interferes with your ability to carry out normal activities — see your doctor right away so that he or she can determine the cause of your symptoms.
Your doctor may also want to rule out other possibilities such as inner ear infection or low blood sugar. The doctor will likely ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may also do a physical exam, including an eye exam. Your doctor may recommend tests if you have vertigo that comes on suddenly or lasts longer than a few days.
Vertigo can often be caused by diet and is usually temporary. While there are many best diet for vertigo recommendations out there, the diet recommends eating healthy fats, dense carbohydrates like whole grains or vegetables, high-quality proteins like eggs or chicken without skin with minimal salt content and sodium per day.
Foods to avoid include coffee, alcohol, acidic fruits, yogurt, diet soda, and fatty foods. You should also avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime and make sure that you are not consuming too much salt or sugar in your diet.
If the diet does not work or if the vertigo is accompanied by other symptoms such as hearing loss, speech difficulties, or visual disturbances then it may be necessary to see a doctor.
To complicate matters, many medications can also cause vertigo so it's important that you avoid this diet if you are on medication or speak to your healthcare provider about the best diet for vertigo before taking any dietary steps.