Unlock our BEST Deal of the Year!

Helpful foods and foods to avoid with dizziness or vertigo

Last update on May, 31, 2024

What to eat and not to eat if you suffer from dizziness

Have you ever stood up too quickly and felt a little unsteady on your feet? Most of the time, this dizzy feeling ends quickly and doesn’t return. However, if that unsteadiness occurs often and without reason, there may be something else at play. Vertigo is a condition that affects the vestibular system, causing people to feel off-balance and as if the world is spinning around them. This common condition affects about one in 15 adults at least once in their lifetime.

If you experience vertigo, you’re likely already taking steps to manage your symptoms and decrease your risk of experiencing it. It’s also possible that, with the help of some simple dietary changes, you may be able to mitigate some of your vertigo symptoms. Read on to learn more about what foods may or may not be helpful if you experience vertigo—including foods that help vertigo and foods to avoid with vertigo

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is the sensation that your environment is spinning around you when no movement is actually happening, causing you to feel dizzy or off-balance. In most cases, vertigo is the result of dysfunction in the vestibular system. This sensory system, located in the inner ear, detects the position and movement of the head in space.

A key piece of the system is otolith organs, which determine which direction your head is moving. Within these small organs are small calcium carbonate crystals called otoconia. The crystals disrupt hair cells in the system, transmitting movement information to the brain and providing the body with instructions on how to maintain balance and stability. Vertigo occurs when these small crystals move where they shouldn’t, causing your brain to think you’re moving when you’re not.

Vertigo that stems from problems in the vestibular system is known as peripheral vertigo. These vertigo causes include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo, especially for older adults. This occurs when otoconia become dislodged and collect in another part of the vestibular system, causing the brain to process movement that isn’t actually happening.
  • Labyrinthis: Labyrinthitis occurs when the nerves in the inner ear become infected, leading to irritation and swelling. This inflammation doesn’t just mean itchy ears; it can affect the entire system of the inner ear, causing a disturbance in your balance and perception.
  • Certain medications: Some medications may cause or worsen feelings of dizziness or vertigo. Ototoxic medication can damage the inner ear, leading to dysfunction in the vestibular system. Some medication may disrupt normal blood pressure, causing changes to the flow of blood through the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: This condition is a chronic inner ear disorder that causes recurring bouts of vertigo—along with tinnitus, a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ear, and hearing loss. While the exact cause of Meniere’s Disease is unknown, feelings of dizziness may be the result of extra fluid in the ear that disrupts balance.
Avocado toasts

Prevention is key

Never underestimate the importance of ear care. Your hearing might depend on it.

How does diet affect dizziness or vertigo?

In most cases, vertigo stems from disturbances to the vestibular system within the inner ear. The fluid in your ears is influenced by the substances in your blood and bodily fluids, and certain foods can have a positive or negative effect on what’s moving through your bloodstream. Some foods can affect the concentration of substances in your ears, causing symptoms like tinnitus or dizziness.

By following a “dizziness diet” that reduces intake of some foods and increases consumption of others, you may be able to reduce vertigo symptoms. However, before you begin any kind of vertigo diet change, discuss your symptoms and treatment options with a medical professional to ensure that these dietary swaps will align with your health needs. 

Find your closest Miracle-Ear center

Your store

What foods help with dizziness or vertigo

If you’re looking for an at-home dizziness treatment, food containing certain vitamins and minerals can make a meaningful difference. Consider adding these foods to your diet to prevent or manage dizziness symptoms:

  • Healthy fats, like sardines, liver, salmon and egg yolks: These foods are high in vitamin D, which can help strengthen the small bones of the inner ear and prevent dizziness. Healthy fats also support cardiovascular health, which is crucial for good blood flow throughout your body—including your ears.
  • Vegetables like avocados, spinach, broccoli and beans: These foods are rich in magnesium, which prevents inner ear damage that could lead to unsteadiness and imbalance.
  • Fruits like strawberries, oranges and kiwis: These foods are packed with vitamin C, which can lower the production of free radicals that can damage the delicate cells of the inner ear.
  • Water: This one isn’t food—but water is vitally important to your overall health. When the body is dehydrated, blood volume decreases and reduces the blood flow to the brain. This means that oxygen and blood flow to the brain is disrupted, causing dizziness and feelings of vertigo.

Download a printable grocery list full of foods that help vertigo and support your hearing health.

What foods to avoid with dizziness or vertigo

While there are plenty of foods to add to your diet to manage vertigo and dizziness, there are also some foods that may exacerbate your symptoms. While there is no singular “worst food for vertigo,” it’s important to be mindful of how these foods can interact with your body’s processes. Consider these foods to avoid with vertigo:

  • Salt: Salt can influence the amount of fluid in the inner ear, which can disrupt the normal functioning of the vestibular system. Too much salt can also lead to dehydration and dizziness. Try to avoid processed or canned foods that may contain excess salt.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows functions like speech and movement. This can worsen feelings of dizziness and further disrupt your sense of balance if you’re prone to vertigo. It can also cause dehydration, potentially leading to bouts of vertigo.
  • Sugar: Food and drinks with high sugar content may cause headaches, which can worsen feelings of imbalance or cause migraine-related vertigo.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine restricts blood flow, meaning that oxygen and nutrients aren’t properly flowing throughout the body. This can worsen vertigo symptoms. Try to limit or avoid certain teas, energy drinks, coffee and caffeinated soda. 
girl with tablet

Try our free online hearing test

Take a free online hearing test now. Your first step to better hearing is only a click away! In less than five minutes, you'll have a better understanding of your hearing health.

What are other treatments for dizziness or vertigo?

For many people, vertigo symptoms are activated by elevated stress. High levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, can negatively affect the passing of neural information from the vestibular system to your brain, causing your brain to misinterpret signals for movement. By lowering your stress, you can also lower your risk of experiencing a vertigo attack. Try these vertigo treatment strategies to minimize your stress levels:

  • Listen to calming music
  • Discuss your stressors with a friend, family member or counselor
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Practice breathwork or deep breathing exercises
  • Meditate
  • Sleep

In the case of sudden onset vertigo, medication may be an effective form of treatment. Your healthcare provider may prescribe motion sickness medications, including meclizine or dimenhydrinate, or antihistamines, including cyclizine, to ease your symptoms.

Depending on the severity of your condition, You may also be able to find equivalent over-the-counter  medications for vertigo dizziness that may also be effective. Discuss your condition and any medications you may be taking with a medical professional before beginning any new medication. 

For people who experience vertigo, simple head movements can help mitigate feelings of imbalance. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy, or physical therapy for vertigo, often involves a range of exercises to reset the vestibular system and improve related vertigo symptoms, such as dizziness, unstable vision and balance.

These exercises may include eye movement control, marching in place, stretching or small, controlled head movements. Your healthcare provider will prescribe specific exercises according to your needs and teach you how to perform these actions on your own to manage your vertigo as it occurs. 

If your dizziness is the result of a brain tumor or a neck injury, your doctor may recommend vertigo surgery. This treatment method is only used to address serious underlying health issues. If you’re struggling with vertigo, speak to a healthcare professional for support in finding the best treatment options for your situation. 
Couple in the bathroom

Experiencing symptoms of vertigo?

If you’re noticing symptoms of vertigo, visit your doctor.

More from the blog

Discover a world of sounds.
View all

Get support and advice

Book an appointment online

Book now

Take a free online hearing test

Start test

Find a hearing aid center near you

Search now