There are many factors that can make someone feel dizzy or lightheaded. Occasional dizziness is not anything that you need to worry about, but if you find yourself feeling lightheaded on a regular basis, then it is worth seeing a doctor.
Some people experience what is known as postural hypotension, which is when blood pressure drops when they stand up suddenly but recovers after a few moments. For others, dizziness is a sign that they have not been eating enough or a side-effect of something like a food allergy or even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Your digestive health can affect your overall well-being in some strange ways, and the link between digestion and dizziness is one of those.
Digestion and Your Overall Health
The digestive system is responsible for extracting energy and nutrients from the food that you eat and then expelling the leftover, useless components from the food as waste. There are several organs in the digestive system, and in addition to those organs, there is a huge number of bacteria and microbes living in the gut which help break down foods that the body can’t digest by itself. This complex system is finely balanced, and the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, and your general lifestyle can have a significant impact on overall health.1
If you are struggling with dizziness, it is worth seeing a doctor to get your blood pressure checked and to rule out ear infections, anemia, or other common causes of dizziness.2 If your doctor confirms that there is nothing serious for you to worry about, then you can look at ways of remedying and preventing dizziness at home.
How Gut Health Can Cause Dizziness
People who suffer from IBS can sometimes experience dizziness during a flare-up. It is thought that this is caused by the link between the brain and the gut. When your gut is under stress and is inflamed, it sends signals to the rest of the body.
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In addition, your body may send extra blood to the intestines, and this could reduce the blood available to other areas of the body, leaving you feeling dizzy or light-headed. Dizziness is a fairly common non-GI issue for people who are suffering from IBS.3
Even people who do not have IBS can sometimes feel dizzy after eating. This issue is called postprandial hypotension, and it affects around one-third of older adults. Postprandial hypotension is caused by the need for increased blood flow to the digestive system after a meal.
If your circulatory system is functioning perfectly, then your heart should beat faster, and the blood vessels in areas far from your digestive system should narrow to help maintain blood pressure. If that doesn’t happen, then you may feel dizzy as a result, and in some cases, people fall, faint, or suffer from visual disturbances.4
Coping with Dizziness After Meals
If you are one of the unlucky people who suffer from postprandial hypotension, then you should try to mitigate it by taking good care of your digestive system. Drink water about 15 minutes before each meal to reduce the change in blood pressure and eat smaller, more frequent meals.
The type of food that you eat matters too. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, healthy fats, and protein in order to support steady digestion and keep your blood pressure stable. Eat slowly, and wait for an hour after eating before moving around, especially if you have a history of fainting after eating. It’s not always practical to sit still for so long after eating, so take it slowly and carefully if you do need to move around.
Other Ways to Avoid Dizziness
One often overlooked way of managing hypotension and vertigo is with aromatherapy and essential oils. These remedies usually work on multiple symptoms and can help improve your overall well-being.
Ginger oil, for example, is a good option if you are struggling with nausea and indigestion. It can help with a variety of other health issues and can have the added benefit of helping reduce feelings of vertigo, with studies showing that ginger performs significantly better than a placebo for reducing vertigo.5
Peppermint oil is another useful oil for helping with nausea, low energy, and dizziness. The main active ingredient is methanol, which can help clear the airways, boost alertness, reduce nausea, and decrease dizziness.6
Tangerine oil can help to improve the ability of your red blood cells to retain oxygen, which means that they are better able to deliver that oxygen to your muscles and organs. It can help reduce vertigo and dizziness as a result. Tangerine is rich in micronutrients and is refreshing while being antimicrobial, so it is valued for its medicinal effects.7
Aromatherapy oils can mitigate the effects of dizziness as they happen, but if you want to feel your best at all times then it’s important to take care of your body.
Essential oils offer the condensed benefits of the fruits, herbs, and spices that they come from. The foods themselves offer similar benefits. Getting regular exercise can improve your gut microbiota and following a healthy diet will offer beneficial effects over time as well.8,9 With the right diet, you will find that cravings for “bad” foods pass, and that you feel better, have more energy, and enjoy more stable blood sugar following.
A healthy lifestyle is exactly that—a long-term choice. Learn what foods make you feel good in the long term, and build a diet around those. Make healthful choices a part of your daily routine, and over time they will become your new normal.
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