How to Avoid Food-Triggered Seizures: 10 Steps

Table of contents:

How to Avoid Food-Triggered Seizures: 10 Steps
How to Avoid Food-Triggered Seizures: 10 Steps

Seizures occur when brain cells (neurons) are subjected to an electrical attack or "short-circuit" that causes altered consciousness, collapse, and usually uncontrolled body movements. Seizures are a major symptom of a brain problem called epilepsy, although they can also be triggered by many factors, such as stress, head injury, dehydration, low blood sugar, and certain foods and chemicals in food. Foods or additives that trigger seizures vary from person to person, there are some people who are much more sensitive to gluten, processed soy products, refined sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame). Try to avoid foods/additives that you suspect trigger seizures.


Part 1 of 3: Avoiding Risky Foods

Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 1
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 1

Step 1. Be careful with gluten

Gluten is the general term for the protein in wheat, rye, barley, and other cereals. Gluten is the substance that makes bread, pasta, and cereals elastic. Allergic reactions to gluten and related intestinal problems appear to have increased in recent decades, but gluten can also trigger seizures in some people because it is inflammatory. Therefore, try a gluten-free diet for a few months and see if your cramps stop.

  • Gluten has always been present in wheat since ancient times, but different farming practices, hybridization, and genetic modification that began in the 1970s have changed some of the properties of gluten and have also changed how our bodies react.
  • In addition to gluten content, cereals are also rich in glutamate and aspartate, which are two forms of stimulating amino acids that have an impact on the electrical activity of the brain.
  • In addition to breads, cakes, pastas, and cereals, gluten is also found in canned soups, packaged sauces, lettuce sauces, vegetarian products, and even beer.
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 2
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 2

Step 2. Beware of processed soy products

Soybean is a legume and is considered important because it is a cheap source of vegetable protein. Soy products and additives have become very popular in recent decades, and are commonly found in baby food and infant formula. Unfortunately, soy is one of the most common allergens in children and can trigger serious allergic reactions and cause seizures.

  • If your child has a seizure, consider leaving him with soy products and see how he reacts. Soy products may be labeled vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein or soy isolate, sometimes not even labeled.
  • Like most cereals, soybeans are also very high in glutamine, as well as a stimulating amino acid that affects brain chemistry.
  • Soy and its derivatives are found in soy sauce, tofu, edamame, infant formula, cakes, cereals, canned soups, lettuce sauce, processed meats, hot dogs, canned tuna, energy crackers, low-fat peanut butter, and other dairy alternatives (soy milk, soy ice cream, etc.).
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 3
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 3

Step 3. Cut down on refined sugar

Glucose (a type of simple sugar) is usually considered a source of brain fuel, but has been linked to increased or triggered seizures in some people when consumed in excessive amounts. According to scientists, seizures can be controlled by reducing sugar because the sudden and abnormal electrical activity in the brain will also decrease. This is not only very important for people with epilepsy, but also sweet food lovers who have frequent seizures.

  • A low-sugar, high-fat diet (ketogenic diet) is beneficial for anyone with seizures because it forces brain neurons to stop relying on glucose for fuel and instead use ketones (from fat).
  • Natural sugars from fresh fruit and vegetables do not cause seizures. You only need to reduce processed sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, or granulated sugar.
  • Candy, chocolate, ice cream, various types of ice cream, cakes, breakfast cereals, specialty coffees, soda pop, and other sugary drinks are usually high in processed sugar.
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 4
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 4

Step 4. Consider avoiding dairy products

Dairy products are problematic types of food and beverages that cause allergic reactions and seizures in children and adults. Dairy products not only contain various hormones and sometimes contaminants in cow's milk that negatively impact the brain, but are also high in glutamine. In the past, dairy products offered more health benefits and were more nutritious than their negative effects, although that is no longer the case in modern times.

  • Adopting a dairy-free diet may be a healthier option for some people, especially those with allergies, lactose intolerance, or seizures.
  • Dairy products, such as ice cream and yogurt, are usually mixed with large amounts of refined sugar, which doubles the chance of seizures.
  • The types of beef cheese that most trigger seizures and other negative reactions are parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella.
  • For people with epilepsy and other seizures, goat's milk is a better alternative to cow's milk, which is definitely much better than soy.

Part 2 of 3: Avoiding Risky Additives

Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 5
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 5

Step 1. Do not consume MSG

Most food additives, such as MSG, are considered excitotoxic because they stimulate brain cells to work quickly and fatigue thereby triggering seizures in the brain. MSG is widely used in the food and restaurant industry as a flavor enhancer that adds to the intensity of the delicacy of cuisine. Avoiding MSG may be difficult because it is contained in most ready-to-eat food products sold in the market.

  • On food labels, MSG is usually listed as a "flavor enhancer" because manufacturers know that MSG has a bad reputation.
  • Remember that fresh, natural foods don't necessarily need to be flavored. So, the best way to avoid MSG is to cook your own food with fresh ingredients.
  • MSG will greatly stimulate neurons because it is made from the amino acid glutamate.
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 6
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 6

Step 2. Do not use artificial sweeteners

Some types of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) show strong stimulating activity once they enter the body and cause nerve cells to overwork and increase the risk of epileptic seizures and other seizures. This is not surprising because aspartame is made from aspartate, a type of highly stimulating amino acid, which in large amounts or in certain forms tends to irritate the nervous system.

  • Aspartame also contains phenylalanine, which is toxic to neurons and has also been linked to neurological damage and seizures.
  • Aspartame is one of the most widely consumed excitotoxic food additives worldwide.
  • Other sweeteners that can also cause negative effects on the brain and increase the risk of seizures are Splenda and saccharin.
  • Artificial sweeteners are widely used and are usually found in products labeled "sugar-free" and "low-calorie".
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 7
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 7

Step 3. Avoid carrageenan

Another food additive that should be avoided is carrageenan because it can cause blood sugar disorders, intestinal irritation, and inflammation in the body. Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is usually added to drinks to prevent the ingredients from separating. Carrageenan is found in nutritional drinks (shakes), dairy products and dairy alternatives, such as soy milk.

  • Carrageenan is found in milk, broth, yogurt, chocolate, and ice cream, to give it a thicker consistency (as a stabilizer) and to make the low-fat version tastier.
  • Carrageenan has no nutritional value and is usually contained in products labeled "organic".
  • Read the nutritional value information on food labels. By law, carrageenan must be listed, so check food labels carefully and avoid foods (even organic versions) that use it.

Part 3 of 3: Knowing When to See a Doctor

Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 8
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 8

Step 1. Understand the symptoms

A seizure is a symptom or change in behavior that occurs after an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures range from mild, involving only the distant gaze of the eye, like daydreaming, to severe seizures that don't always involve compulsions (uncontrolled body movements). Common signs of a seizure include fainting, drooling or foaming at the mouth, rapid eye movements, moaning, inability to control urination/defecation, sudden mood swings, collapse, teeth grinding, muscle contractions, and jerking limbs. jerk.

  • Seizure symptoms will stop after a few seconds or minutes, but some may continue for up to 15 minutes.
  • You usually experience warning signs before a seizure, such as tasting a bitter or metallic taste on your tongue, smelling the smell of burning rubber, seeing glare or wavy lines, and feeling restless or nauseous.
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 9
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 9

Step 2. Find out the cause

Most seizures are not indicative of epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder characterized by disruption of nerve cell activity in the brain. In contrast, seizures can be triggered by many environmental factors, from food allergies and toxic reactions, to food additives (as mentioned above).

  • Seizure triggers are difficult to pinpoint, but it's important to know if you don't want your child or yourself to depend on anti-seizure medications for years.
  • Seizures generally occur in childhood, but usually disappear by adolescence. Among the common causes of seizures in children are infections, high fevers, head injuries, and negative reactions to medications.
  • A severe migraine headache generally resembles the symptoms of a mild seizure.
  • Sometimes the cause of seizures cannot be found, and such cases are called idiopathic (no known cause) seizures.
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 10
Avoid Food Triggered Seizures Step 10

Step 3. See a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor right away if you or a member of your family shows signs of a seizure. Epilepsy is a serious condition, but it is not as life-threatening as other seizures, such as a brain tumor, stroke, brain infection (meningitis), or serious head injury. The doctor will perform various tests to diagnose the condition so that appropriate treatment can be given.

  • Tests that should be done include blood tests, a CT scan or MRI of the head, an EEG of the brain (to see if there are electrical patterns), and possibly a small amount of brain and spinal cord fluid (spinal tap) for meningitis.
  • Food allergies and toxic reactions to chemicals in food are usually not diagnosed in the hospital, especially in the ED.
  • Therefore, you need a referral to an allergy or seizure specialist who has experience in diagnosing environmental-triggered seizures.


  • Adopting a ketogenic diet-a diet high in good fats and low in protein and carbohydrates-can help control/reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • One of the contributors to seizure activity is metal poisoning in the brain. In theory, toxic metals can contaminate any food or drink, although fish and soda in aluminum cans and processed food products are the most at risk.
  • The most common toxic metals are mercury, lead, and arsenic, as well as excessive amounts of copper, aluminum, and iron.


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