How To Avoid Seizures Caused By Food

Seizures occur when brain cells (neurons) become overloaded with electrical activity or “short-circuit,” resulting in a change in consciousness, fainting, and usually seizures.[1] X Trusted Source Johns Hopkins Medicine Go to source These are the main symptom of a brain condition called epilepsy. Although many factors can cause single or occasional seizures, including stress, head injury, dehydration, low blood sugar, some foods, and a variety of chemicals in food. No food or food additive causes seizures worldwide, but some people are much more sensitive to gluten, soy products, processed sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners (particularly aspartame). Try to avoid such foods or additives if you suspect they are causing your seizures.

Avoid potentially dangerous foods

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Be careful with gluten. Gluten is a general term that designates the proteins present in wheat, rye, barley and some other grains; It is what gives consistency to bread, pasta and cereals. Allergic reactions to gluten and related intestinal problems seem to be on the rise in recent decades, but gluten can also trigger seizures in some people due to its inflammatory nature. So try adopting a gluten-free diet for a few months to see if your seizures go away.

Gluten has always been in grains, but different farming practices, hybridization, and genetic modification since the 1970s have changed some of its properties, which has also changed the body’s reaction to gluten.

Aside from their gluten content, grains are also rich in glutamate and aspartate, two highly excitatory amino acids that influence electrical activity in the brain.

In addition to most breads, baked goods, pastas, and cereals, gluten is also found in many canned soups, sauces, salad dressings, vegetarian items, and even beer.

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Be careful with soy products. Soybeans are a legume and are considered an important crop because they are an inexpensive source of plant protein. Soy products and additives have become very popular over the last few decades and are mostly found in baby foods and infant formulas. Unfortunately, soy is one of the most common food allergens among children and can cause severe allergic reactions and seizures.

If your child has seizures, consider eliminating soy products from his diet to see how he responds. Soy may be labeled “vegetable protein”, “textured vegetable protein” or “soy isolate”; sometimes it is not even labeled.

Like most grains, soy is also very rich in glutamine and excitatory amino acids that affect brain chemistry.

Soy and soy products are found in soy sauce, tofu, edamame, baby formula, many baked goods, cereals, packaged soups, salad dressings, processed meats, hot dogs, canned tuna, energy bars, low-fat peanut butter, fat and most non-dairy alternatives (soy milk, soy ice cream, etc.).

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Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Reduce your consumption of processed sugar. Although glucose (a simple type of sugar) is normally considered the main source of energy for the brain, its excessive consumption has been linked to promoting or causing seizures in some people. According to scientists, reducing sugar intake can control seizures by reducing unpredictable and abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain. This is very important for epileptics, but also for people who have a sweet tooth and who suffer from seizures.

A low-sugar, high-fat diet (called the ketogenic diet) is beneficial for anyone who suffers from seizures, because it forces neurons in the brain to stop feeding on glucose and replace it with ketone bodies (from fatty acids). ).

Natural sugars that come directly from fresh fruits and vegetables are not responsible for seizures. But you do want to reduce your intake of highly processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, baking sugar, and table sugar.

Instead, candy, chocolate, ice cream, frozen desserts, most baked goods, many breakfast cereals, specialty coffees, sodas, and many sugary drinks are loaded with processed sugars.

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Consider avoiding dairy products. Dairy products are other types of problematic foods and drinks that trigger many allergic reactions, as well as some seizures in children and adults. Cow’s milk not only contains various hormones and (sometimes) pollutants that negatively influence the brain, but it is also rich in glutamine. Many generations ago, dairy products offered many more nutrients and health benefits than negative effects, although we cannot say the same today.

Switching to a dairy-free diet may be the healthiest option for some people, especially if they are allergic, lactose intolerant, or experience seizures.

Dairy products (such as ice cream and yogurt) are often laced with a lot of processed sugar, which can be a “double whammy” in triggering seizures.

Cow’s milk-based cheeses that seem to be the worst for triggering seizures and other negative reactions include Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

For epileptics and other seizure sufferers, goat’s milk-based dairy products appear to be a very good alternative to cow’s milk-based ones, and certainly much better than soy alternatives.

Avoid potentially dangerous additives

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Do not consume monosodium glutamate (MSG). Many food additives such as MSG are considered “excitotoxins” because they stimulate nerve cells to fire their electrical impulses so quickly that they deplete and die, causing a seizure in the brain. MSG is widely used in the food industry and restaurants as a flavor enhancer; that is, it intensifies the salty and meaty flavor of foods. Avoiding MSG can be difficult because many food products sold in supermarkets and used in restaurants contain it.

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It is often listed on food labels as “flavoring” because manufacturers know that MSG has developed a bad reputation.

Keep in mind that natural, fresh foods should not (and often do not) require a flavor enhancer. Therefore, preparing your own meals at home with fresh ingredients is the best way to avoid MSG.

MSG is particularly excitatory to neurons because it is made from the amino acid glutamate.

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Eliminate artificial sweeteners. Various artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame (such as NutraSweet, Equal, etc.), exhibit very strong excitotoxic activity once they enter the body, causing nerve cells to overfire and increasing the risk of seizures epileptic and other types of seizures. This is not surprising since aspartame is made from aspartate, a highly excitatory amino acid, which tends to irritate the nervous system in large amounts or in certain ways.

Aspartame also contains phenylalanine, which is toxic to neurons and has also been linked to nerve damage and seizure activity.

Aspartame is one of the most consumed excitotoxic food additives in the world.

Other sweeteners that could also cause negative effects on the brain and increase the risk of seizures include Splenda and saccharin.

Artificial sweeteners are very common and are present in products labeled “sugar free” and “low calorie”.

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Avoid carrageenan. Another common food additive to avoid if you experience seizures is carrageenan, as it can cause blood sugar disturbances, intestinal irritation, and inflammation in the body. Carrageenan is derived from red algae and is often added to beverages to prevent their ingredients from separating. It’s found in many nutrition shakes, dairy products, and dairy alternatives like soy milk.

It’s also present in soups, broths, yogurts, chocolates, and ice cream to give them a thicker consistency (i.e., it acts as a stabilizer) and to make lower-fat versions fuller in flavor.

Carrageenan has no nutritional value and is often found in products listed as “organic”.

Take a look at food labels. Carrageenan must legally appear on food labels, so check them carefully and avoid foods (even organic varieties) that contain it.

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Know when to see a doctor

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Know the symptoms. A seizure is the symptoms or changes in behavior that occur after an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. These seizures can range from mild (involving only staring episodes) to severe and do not necessarily involve convulsions (shaking of the body). Common signs of a seizure include fainting, drooling or foaming, rapid eye movements, grunting, loss of bladder or bowel control, sudden mood changes, collapsing, clenching of teeth, muscle spasms, and jerking of limbs.

Seizure symptoms may stop after a few seconds or minutes, or can sometimes last up to 15 minutes.

Before you have a seizure, you might experience the following warning signs: a bitter or metallic taste, a smell of burning rubber, flashing lights or wavy lines, and anxiety or nausea.

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Understand the cause. Most seizures do not indicate epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by disruption of nerve cell activity in the brain. But they can be caused by a wide variety of environmental factors, including food allergies and toxic reactions to many food additives (as noted above).

Finding the cause can be very difficult, but necessary if you don’t want to keep yourself or your child on powerful anticonvulsants for many years.

Seizures are most common in childhood, but tend to go away during adolescence. Common causes of childhood seizures are infections, high fevers, head injuries, and negative reactions to medications.

Severe migraines often mimic mild seizures.

Sometimes, no cause can be found for the seizures, in which case they are called idiopathic seizures (meaning of unknown origin).

Cómo evitar las convulsiones causadas por alimentos

Go to the doctor. Make an appointment with your doctor right away if you or a family member shows any signs of having a seizure. Although epilepsy is a serious condition, it is far from being as fatal as some other causes of seizures, for example, a brain tumor, stroke, brain infection (meningitis), or serious head injury. Your doctor will perform various tests to diagnose the condition so that appropriate treatment can be administered.

Such tests may include the following: blood tests, CT or MRI of the head, EEG of the brain (to see its electrical patterns), and possibly a lumbar puncture to examine the cerebrospinal fluid (to rule out meningitis) .

Food allergies and toxic reactions to chemicals in foods often go undiagnosed in a hospital setting, especially the emergency department.

Therefore, you may need to be referred to an allergy or seizure specialist who has experience diagnosing environmental causes of seizures.

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