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Diet for Meniere's diseaseDiet

Timothy C. Hain, MD Page last modified: April 4, 2016

The primary goal of treatment is to provide stable body fluid/blood levels so that secondary fluctuations in the inner ear fluid can be avoided. The secondary goal of treatment is to avoid migraine trigger foods, as migraine is commonly associated with Meniere's disease.

  1. Aim for a 1.5 gram sodium intake diet. High sodium intake results in fluctuations in the inner ear fluid pressure and may increase your symptoms. Aim for a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in canned, frozen or processed foods.
    1. One teaspoon of table salt has about 2 grams of sodium. Note that sodium (one of the two elements in table salt) is not exactly the same as sodium chloride (salt). There are many other foods and chemicals that we ingest that contain sodium.
    2. This web site: http://www.myfitnesspal.com, has a diet program that can be configured to track sodium -- it is a bit too busy however, and a book may be more useful (e.g. AHA. 2013). So far we have not found any useful smartphone apps good for this (e.g. Sodium-tracker on iphone is useless). We are doubtful that any will work unless they connect to the cloud.
  2. Drink adequate amounts of fluid daily. This should include water, milk and low-sugar fruit juices (for example, cranberry or cranapple). Try to anticipate fluid loss which will occur with exercise or heat, and replace these fluids before they are lost. Some studies suggest that drinking more water helps, perhaps because it dilutes out the salt. Don't overdo it though - -one can get "water intoxication".
  3. Avoid caffeine-containing fluids and foods (such as coffee, tea and chocolate). Caffeine has stimulant properties that may make Meniere's symptoms worse. Caffeine also may make tinnitus louder. Two regular cups of coffee/day, or the equivalent in other beverages, is ususually safe however.
  4. Limit your alcohol intake to one glass of beer or wine each day. Alcohol, especially red wine is a migraine trigger. Migraine and Meniere's are linked.
  5. Avoid foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate). This is often present in pre-packaged food products (such as flavored chips) and in Chinese food.
  6. Distribute your food and fluid intake evenly throughout the day and from day to day. Eat approximately the same amount of food at each meal and do not skip meals. If you eat snacks, have them at regular times.

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Copyright August 3, 2016 , Timothy C. Hain, M.D. All rights reserved. Last saved on August 3, 2016