Diet for Meniere's disease
Timothy C. Hain, MD
and Marcello Cherchi, M.D., Ph.D. of
Chicago Dizziness and Hearing• Page last modified:
July 26, 2020
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This web site: https://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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate). This is often
present in pre-packaged food products (such as flavored chips) and in Chinese food.
- 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.
- American Heart Association Eat Less Salt. 2013 (https://www.amazon.com/American-Heart-Association-Less-Salt/)
- Furstenberg C, Lashmet FH, Lathrop F. Meniere's symptom complex: Medical Treatment. Archives ORL 43:4, 1035-1046, 1934
- Luxford, E., et al. (2013). "Dietary Modification as Adjunct Treatment in Meniere's Disease: Patient Willingness and Ability to Comply." Otol Neurotol 34(8): 1438-1443.
- Santos, P. M., et al. (1993). "Diuretic and diet effect on Meniere's disease evaluated by the 1985 Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium guidelines." Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery 109(4): 680-689.