Vestibular migraine is a migraine condition that encourages vertigo. In this condition, you feel you or your surroundings are moving when actually everything is stable.
It can be caused by numerous factors like genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environment.
Research study suggests that changes to your diet may reduce the frequency and intensity of these migraine attacks .
Common foods that can trigger vertigo are chocolate, coffee, alcohol, cheese, processed meats, etc. All these foods contain chemicals such as nitrate, tyramine, histamine, and phenylethylamine that may trigger migraine symptoms.
Skipping meals and fasting can also lead to migraine.
Vestibular Migraine Diet Plan
Dietary triggers may vary from person to person. These food triggers affect the blood vessels in the brain or the neurotransmitters to communicate with each other.
Although it is challenging to detect food items that trigger migraine, the elimination approach can help identify potential triggers. The elimination approach works in two phases.
Phase 1: In this phase, common food items that are usually associated with vestibular migraine are eliminated from your diet. You need to stop consuming listed food items for 2-3 weeks.
Phase 2: The food items eliminated will be slowly reintroduced to understand which food item is the migraine trigger. The food items are reintroduced in 2-3 weeks to find the problematic food item.
You should consult a professional before following this vestibular migraine diet plan.
Here’s a list of dietary changes to avoid vestibular migraine.
- Limit your salt intake. It helps to minimize build-up in the ear
- Avoid food high in sodium, fried food, and red meat.
- Limit your caffeinated consumption, i.e., coffee, tea
- Dark chocolates
- Avoid excess sugar and salt
- Eliminate junk and fast-food items from your diet
- Quit smoking and drinking
What Foods to Eat for Vestibular Migraine?
Although there are restrictions to consuming food items that trigger migraines, you can enjoy most of the food items suitable for vestibular migraine.
Fruits: You can eat all the fruits. Avoid citrus fruits and tomatoes.
Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are good to consume.
Grains: Rice, Oats, Quinoa, etc
Fresh Meat, Fish, and Eggs – Ensure these are fresh
Oil: Coconut oil, Olive Oil
Beverages; Fresh fruit juices, Water, Lemon Drink
Spices: All fresh herbs and spices. Avoid stored dips and dressings.
What Foods Should I Avoid If I Have Vestibular Migraines?
Some of the common food items which are linked to migraine are:
Coffee: Consuming caffeine may contract your blood vessels in the brain, which results in headaches.
Chocolate: Most chocolates contain 10mg of caffeine linked to migraine-triggering chemicals. You can eat white chocolate without cocoa on a safer side.
MSG: Check for labels as it is hidden under multiple names. Some of the common words or names include yeast extract, natural flavorings, hydrolyzed protein, glutamic acid, gelatine, whey protein, malt extract, etc
Artificial Sweeteners: NutraSweet (aspartame) or Splenda
Alcohol: Red wine is the most likely trigger for migraine.
Foods High in Tyramine: Avoid food items that are high in tyramine. Tyramine levels rise in fermented food items, not fresh or aged food items.
- Dairy Products such as cheese
- Pickles and Jams
- Processed meat and fish
- Citrus Fruits, Banana
- Peanut Butter and nuts
Keto Diet and Vestibular Migraine Diet
The Keto diet focuses primarily on fats and reducing the intake of carbs. Food items rich in carbs that should be avoided in the Keto diet are bread, dairy products, cereals, potatoes, pasta, etc. Research study shows that lowering carb intake can reduce headaches and migraines.
Following a keto diet also helps to reduce weight. Many studies have linked reduced migraine with weight loss.
The vestibular migraine diet focuses more on identifying food triggers that lead to migraine. It allows you to eat all the cereals, vegetables, and grains high in carbs.
Vestibular Migraine Diet Recipes
Here are a couple of recipes you can enjoy while on a migraine diet .
Smoothie to Reduce Inflammation
This smoothie is high in magnesium, antioxidants, and fiber. The idea is to avoid sugar as it may increase your blood sugar level. This anti-inflammatory smoothie is beneficial for a migraine attack.
Ingredients- Pear, Ginger (peeled), Milk, Spinach, Chia Seeds
Recipe – Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Add ice cubes once the mixture is ready.
Chicken Pot Pie
It is an amazing recipe for a migraine diet. You can eat it guilt-free.
Ingredients: Chicken (boneless), fresh carrots, peas, corn, Butter, Low Sodium Vegetable Broth, Milk, bread crumbs.
- Roast the chicken in a pan.
- Take another pan. Add butter and carrots. Once carrots are softened, add fresh peas and corn. Add vegetable broth and stir to get consistency in the mixture.
- Now add milk to thicken and become creamy. After 2 mins, add bread crumbs and boil. You can add chicken pieces now. Stir till it gets coated evenly.
- For vegetarians – you can only add vegetables instead of chicken.
You can experiment with many more recipes that you can enjoy using the food items allowed in the migraine diet.
Vestibular migraine attacks can become extremely uncomfortable. You may get some relief by removing trigger food items. Some food items that should be avoided include processed meats, aged cheese, caffeine products, alcohol, and MSG. You should not fast or skip meals if you are on a migraine diet.
Always seek professional help before making any changes in your diet, especially a migraine diet.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Gazerani P. (2020). Migraine and Diet. Nutrients, 12(6), 1658. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061658
- Alicia. (2022, January 27). Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie. The Dizzy Cook. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://thedizzycook.com/anti-inflammatory-pear-smoothie/