Vestibular Migraine Diet: Steps, Foods to Eat and Avoid

Vestibular Migraine Diet: Steps, Foods to Eat and Avoid

A vestibular migraine diet might indicate several things. Vertigo is brought on by the migraine disorder known as vestibular migraine.

When someone has vertigo, they may feel as though they are moving when they aren’t or as though their surroundings are shifting around them. Motion sickness and vertigo can have comparable symptoms.

A vestibular migraine attack can linger for a short while or for several hours. A strong headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of balance, and motion sickness are some of the signs and symptoms (1).

Vestibular migraine episodes may not cause repeated, throbbing headaches like migraine attacks do, making this condition challenging to identify (2).

Notably, some evidence points to dietary and lifestyle modifications as potential means of lowering the frequency and intensity of vestibular migraine attacks (2).

This article describes how food may impact vestibular migraine and offers recommendations for dietary adjustments to lessen symptoms.

How does your diet impact  vestibular migraine attacks?

It is still unclear what causes vestibular migraines specifically. The prevalence of this illness appears to be higher in women. Environmental, dietary, behavioral, and genetic factors may also have an impact. According to research, changing your diet may lessen the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.  Aged cheeses, processed meats, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate are common food triggers for these attacks. These foods contain substances like phenylethylamine, histamine, tyramine, and nitrates, all of which have been connected to vestibular migraine symptoms.

Some patients claim that going without food makes their migraine symptoms worse, which raises the possibility that fasting and missing meals may make attacks more severe. Remember that different people may have different trigger foods. In reality, some people could discover that their diet has little impact on migraine attacks (3).

Dietary guidelines for vestibular migraine diet

There are currently no recognized dietary recommendations for vestibular migraines.

However, evidence indicates that a trigger-identifying diet may be helpful. Using this method, you cut out foods you think might make your symptoms worse. Elimination diets are customized for each person since everyone reacts to things differently.

After that, you gradually reintroduce these items, group by group, to see if any particular food or food category worsens your symptoms.

Usually, an elimination diet lasts for five to six weeks. If followed poorly or for an extended period of time, it raises your risk of nutritional deficiency and should only be done under the guidance of a health professional such a nutritionist or doctor.

Remember that vestibular migraine is a complicated disorder, so you might discover that changing your diet has no effect on your symptoms.

Elimination and reintroduction are the two primary phases of an elimination diet.

Elimination Phase

You stay away from foods that can make your vestibular migraine symptoms worse during this phase.

Once you’ve removed almost all potential trigger foods, you’ll be able to determine whether diet has anything to do with your symptoms.

Usually, this phase lasts two to three weeks.

The reintroduction phase

You gradually reintroduce the foods or dietary groups you eliminated during this period.

Over the course of two to three days, introduce each food category one at a time, keeping track of how each one impacts your symptoms of a vestibular migraine.

It’s probably okay to eat if you discover that reintroducing a food or food category doesn’t make your attacks worse. However, a meal that brings on symptoms might need to be permanently removed from your diet.

Depending on how many food groups you initially excluded, the reintroduction period lasts another two to three weeks, though it might go longer if your doctor advises it.

Foods To Avoid

Although each person’s migraine trigger foods can vary, several reasonably common ones can serve as a good place to start. According to one study, 11% of participants and 19% of participants, respectively, were sensitive to citrus fruits and cheese. A vestibular migraine elimination diet should eliminate foods associated with migraine symptoms, such as:

  • aged cheeses
  • alcohol (particularly red wine and beer)
  • aspartame, an artificial sweetener
  • chocolate
  • coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • processed meats like bacon, sausages, salami, and cured meats

Other foods that may worsen symptoms but have less supporting evidence include:

  • citrus fruits
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • beans and lentils
  • nuts and seeds
  • pickled and fermented foods
  • organ meats, such as beef and chicken livers
  • salted, smoked, and dried fish
  • dairy products like milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, and yogurt
  • canned soups, soup cubes, and bouillon cubes with MSG
  • fruit juices and carbonated sodas
  • bottled salad dressings and packaged dips
  • vitamins and herbal supplements, especially those containing caffeine
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)

You should speak with a medical practitioner and think about cutting out other foods if you believe they could cause your vestibular migraine symptoms. The diet will be more successful the more food types you cut out during the first phase.

Remember that certain food groups are later reintroduced, thus they should only be avoided during the elimination period.

Foods To Eat

Despite the limitations of the elimination phase, you can still eat a variety of nutritious and delectable meals, such as:

  • Fruits: most fruits, excluding citrus and tomatoes
  • Vegetables: most vegetables, excluding onions, beans, and lentils
  • Grains: all grains, such as rice, quinoa, couscous, and oats
  • Meat, eggs, and fish: all fresh meats, such as chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, eggs, and fish — though not processed or boxed meats and fish
  • Dairy substitutes: nondairy milk, such as coconut and oat milk
  • Fats: healthy fats like olive, flaxseed, and coconut oils
  • Beverages: water and decaffeinated herbal teas
  • Spices and condiments: all fresh herbs and spices, plus most homemade condiments (no store-bought dressings or dips)

During this period, if you’re having trouble staying motivated, try experimenting with different herbs and spices to flavor your food.

Potential Downsides of Vestibular Migraine Diet

An exclusion diet has a number of possible drawbacks even though it might help with vestibular migraine symptoms.

An elimination strategy is extremely constrictive to begin with. You shouldn’t adhere to it for a lengthy period of time without the guidance of a medical practitioner or nutritionist.

Long-term dietary restrictions that exclude several food groups put you at risk for nutrient shortages.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that not everyone can successfully eliminate trigger foods because not everyone’s vestibular migraine bouts are caused by diet. What causes symptoms in one individual may not cause them in another.

Vertigo is a hallmark of vestibular migraine attacks, which may be very uncomfortable, while cutting out trigger foods may help symptoms.

Aged cheeses, processed meats, chocolate, coffee, MSG, and alcoholic drinks like red wine and beer are some of the most popular food triggers. Fasting or missing meals could also be factors.

According to certain studies, a vestibular migraine exclusion diet may help control symptoms by identifying particular triggers.

Elimination diets are extremely restrictive, so you should only utilize them under a doctor’s supervision. Keep in mind that not everyone’s migraine symptoms may be influenced by diet.

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