What Is A Vestibular Migraine Diet?

A vestibular migraine is a common but serious type of a migraine typically characterized by intense dizziness or vertigo. Unlike regular migraines, vestibular migraine may not always come with a headache.

Other names for a vestibular migraine are migrainous vertigo, migraine-related vestibulopathy, and migraine-associated vertigo.

Studies have found a relationship between a vestibular migraine and certain foods. Identifying your dietary triggers can help you manage your vertigo and other related symptoms.

Read on to learn more about vestibular migraine diet to help you manage symptoms naturally.

Symptoms Of Vestibular Migraine

The primary symptom of vestibular migraines is intermittent dizziness. Medical experts believe that fluid imbalance in the inner ear, which controls balance and hearing, contributes to the dizziness that accompanies a vestibular migraine.

In addition to the spinning sensation other symptoms of a vestibular migraine include

  • Extreme sensitivity when you move parts of your body including the eyes and head
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Lack of balance
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Confusion and disorientation

These symptoms may present before, during, or after a typical migraine headache. In fact, some people experience vertigo symptoms many years after suffering migraine headaches.

Causes and Risk Factors For Vestibular Migraines

The exact causes of vestibular migraines are unknown although problems with brain nerve cells and fluid imbalances in the inner ear have been associated with this variety of a migraine.

Because the symptoms of vestibular migraines are quite similar to those of other diseases, estimating the number of people who suffer from this condition is difficult.

Generally, studies show that women are more prone to vestibular migraines and most sufferers report experiencing symptoms at about age 40. However, children can suffer from a vestibular migraine as well.

Vestibular Migraine Diet

According to medical experts, understanding your headache triggers can help to avoid vertigo related with migraines. Alcohol, caffeine, cheese, and chocolate are common triggers of a vestibular migraine.

Consider keeping a food diary to help you track the effects of certain food items or beverages and their relationship to your headaches and vertigo.

The ideal vestibular migraine diet will contain foods that can help to support your nerve cells and cell membrane. These foods mostly contain fatty acids and have strong anti-inflammatory properties that boost the proper functioning of blood vessels.

Vestibular-friendly foods further contain magnesium and riboflavin that support healthy cells. You are at a higher risk of experiencing headaches and dizziness when cells in the inner ear, brain, and body muscles are not working properly. A vestibular migraine diet can help to improve your metabolism.

An amino acid known as tyramine, which occurs naturally in many foods could be a major trigger of migraines. Managing your diet can help to eliminate or minimize the intake of foods or drinks containing tyramine and therefore keep migraines and vertigo under control.

Here are helpful tips for creating your own vestibular migraine diet:

Increase Fish Intake

Increase your intake of healthy fish such as cod, halibut, salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel. These are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are excellent for healthy cells and cell membranes.

Add Riboflavin Rich Foods

Include foods such as calf liver, spinach, and mushroom in your diet. Riboflavin is a naturally occurring substance that can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Greens are also a good source of magnesium, which also helps in the healthy development of cells.

Load up on other vegetables such as carrots, squash, string beans, eggplants, red beets, and corn. Also be sure to throw in fruit including strawberries, mangoes, apples, peaches, grapes, honeydew, cantaloupe, and blackberries.

Boost Vitamins

Try increasing your intake of shrimp and milk, which are excellent sources of vitamin D. Throw in healthy bread such as pumpernickel and zucchini bread too. Do not forget healthy nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and flax seed.

Avoid High Salt and Sugar Content Foods

Replace process foods with a diet high in fresh vegetable, fruit, and whole grain. This will help to control your salt and sugar intake. However, moderate your intake of fruit juices, which may contain plenty of sugar.

Bear in mind that sodium and salt are different. Sodium is a naturally occurring substance found in drinking water and food while table salt contains sodium and chlorine.

According to the American Heart Association, adults should limit their sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams a day, which is about one teaspoon a day or half a teaspoon a day for those on restricted sodium diets.

In place of table salt, consider using spices and herbs to season your foods to minimize your daily sodium intake.

When eating out, avoid foods such as pasta in sauces, soups, smoked or blackened items as these typically contain high amounts of salt. Instead choose plain foods such as grilled potatoes or vegetables, fresh fruits, and salads dressed with just vinegar and oil.

Both salt and sugar affect the balance of body fluids, which can make an individual more prone to a vestibular migraine. To avoid fluid imbalances, opt for foods with complex sugars such as veggies, potatoes, whole grains, and legumes.

Avoid simple sugars such as honey, corn and maple syrup as well as table sugar. Consider using sugar substitutes such as saccharin and aspartame among others in beverages such as teas and coffees. Inquire from your physician the most appropriate sugar substitute for you.

Avoid Trigger Foods

Common triggers of vertigo and vestibular migraines that you should consider avoiding include coffee, red wine, chocolate, beverages containing caffeine, parmesan, bleu, and cheddar cheese, and processed foods containing monosodium glutamate and sodium nitrate.

Additionally, avoid onions, smoked, pickled, aged, dried, and fermented foods.


A well-planned vestibular diet allows you to integrate many valuable nutrients into your lifestyle. More importantly, careful planning and intentional eating help you to avoid potential triggers. As a result, your body can regain fluid balance, form strong bones, and benefits from the growth of healthy cells.

Be sure to discuss any dietary changes with your physician. Also, be patient and eat healthy foods regularly to avoid dipping your blood sugar, which can increase the risk of migraines and other unpleasant symptoms such as vertigo.