Migraines of any kind can be incredibly exhausting and demoralizing to deal with, especially if they hit you for hours or days at a time. However, for those suffering from migraines with vertigo, there may be relief in the form of the vestibular migraine diet, which has gained popularity in recent years.
What’s a vestibular migraine diet?
Vestibular migraines are a subset that can not only cause painful headaches but also dizzying vertigo, where you feel like you’re in motion even if you’re sitting still. Researchers still aren’t sure what exactly causes vestibular migraines, and there’s no cure. However, they believe that diet changes can be beneficial to lessening the severity of the condition as well as the length and frequency of episodes.
The vestibular migraine diet is a food elimination diet, where you take certain foods out of your regimen and slowly add them in over time. The goal is to be able to pinpoint which foods or food groups may be more likely to trigger your symptoms. That way, you’re not avoiding tons of foods entirely but only a select few. This particular diet lasts five to six weeks total and involves eliminating trigger foods for two to three weeks and then adding back in individual foods every two to three days.
As with any elimination diet, it should be done under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian to ensure you’re executing it properly.
What should you eat on it?
The vestibular migraine diet is relatively flexible, so you’ll still be able to eat most major food groups. All fruits are fair game except for citrus fruits and tomatoes, as are all veggies except for onions. Grains, meat, and seafood are all on the table, as long as they’re not heavily processed. Dairy substitutes, such as oat milk or coconut yogurt, are also allowed.
What should you avoid?
There are a few key foods and drinks that studies show are more likely to trigger vestibular migraines than others. These often include:
- Wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages
- Artificial sweeteners
- Pickled and fermented foods
- Processed meats like prosciutto, sausages, and salami
- Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
- Aged cheeses
Additionally, you may also want to try eliminating and re-adding foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, salad dressings, store-bought condiments, and canned soups and stews. You may find that you feel fine after consuming most of them but that a few specific ones leave you feeling icky.
While a vestibular migraine diet may not rid you of migraines or vertigo entirely, it could give you more insight into potential triggers and keep them from be completely debilitating. You deserve relief.