It’s definitely a very stressful and scary time right now in our world. On top of self social isolation or quarantine mandates, we’re also dealing with the thought of possibly coming down with an illness.

A great way to tackle any fears, stressors, or anxiety about the situation is being prepared!

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Therefore, it’s time to bone up on lightheadedness and nausea, both of which are symptoms related to wintertime illnesses. On top of that, these are symptoms that many of us experience without the aid of a virus or cold! Understanding what these symptoms are, how they’re oftentimes caused, and what you can do to prevent, treat, and manage them using natural aids will also help you manage stress and anxiety.

No matter what, whether it’s sickness, your natural body, or poor self-care, you can deal with lightheadedness and nausea by integrating certain plant-based foods!

Common Causes of Lightheadedness

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We’ve all experienced lightheadedness at least once — yet most likely multiple times — in our lifetimes. Medically, lightheadedness “is feeling as if you might faint.” It’s also accompanied by a heavy body, a reeling sensation, clouded vision, loss of balance, dizziness, and even nausea.

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So, what’s this symptom trying to tell you?

Well, that’s not such an easy question to answer as there are a host of causes that may underly the feeling of lightheadedness.

With that said, the most common causes of lightheadedness include allergies, illness, — such as the cold or flu — low blood sugar, dehydration, — oftentimes caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or fever — or hyperventilation — very deep or fast breathing. On top of that, lightheadedness can also be caused by a few less common things such as your mental state, — including anxiety and stress — altitude, or even the use of tobacco and alcohol use.

Once you’ve identified your reason for lightheadedness, it’s much easy to begin naturally treating it! With that said, it’s always recommended to speak with a medical professional before venturing with any at-home treatment.

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Common Causes of Nausea

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While lightheadedness is debilitating, nausea is oftentimes much for of an aggressive and pervasive symptom, especially when it’s accompanied with vomiting or diarrhea.

Medically, nausea is defined as “stomach discomfort and the sensation of wanting to vomit. While there is a slew of reasons you may feel nauseous, there tend to be a few very common causes to be on the lookout for including heartburn (or an ulcer), an infection, a virus, severe or constant pain, overeating or eating the wrong types of food.

Outside of these common causes, nausea may also be spurred on by very serious conditions including pancreatitis, gallbladder or kidney stones, ear infections, heart attacks, migraines, or intestinal blockage, to name just a few.

If you can’t identify what’s causing your nauseous state, it’s highly recommended that you speak with your doctor immediately.

Top 4 Types of Food to Alleviate Lightheadedness

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As mentioned, there are a variety of reasons why the world may be spinning or why you may be feeling faint. With that said, a particularly common cause of lightheadedness if due to a nutrient deficiency. Luckily, there are a host of food groups that you can either integrate or boost the dosage of that can help fight off this unsettling experience!

1. Natural Sugar Filled Foods 

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sweet Potato Quiche/One Green Planet

Low blood sugar or blood sugar that has dropped dramatically is a cause of lightheadedness and intense dizziness. While these types of changes are particularly common in those suffering from diabetes, they can happen to anyone. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should grab a box of cookies off the shelf, but it does mean you’ll want to find a healthy, natural, and nutrient-packed source of sugar.

Therefore, make sure to include a variety of naturally sugar-filled such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and bell peppers.

Here are a few recipes to get you started: Orange Jam, Citrus Water, Juicy Grapefruit Green Juice, Raw 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sorbet, or this Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sweet Potato Quiche.

2. Vitamin B3

Quick Peanut Noodles/One Green Planet

You may not hear much about vitamin B3, but you’ve probably seen the niacin under the vitamin section of supplements. Well, niacin is just another term for vitamin B3. It’s been found that vitamin B3 “alleviates lightheadedness and dizziness”, while also playing many other roles in the human body including aiding in the red blood cell production, boosting energy, preventing mental confusion, and reducing the risk of fainting.

Plant-based foods rich in vitamin B3 including sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, whole grains, mangoes, and peaches.

Get your proper vitamin B3 intake with a few of these tasty recipes: Savory Granola, Quick Peanut Noodles, Sweet and Savory Spiced Nuts, Quinoa Lentil Balls, Basil Coconut Brown Rice, Orange Dream Mango Smoothie, or this Fresh Peach Gelatto.

3. Iron-Rich Foods

Quinoa Pilaf with Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli/One Green Planet

One of the most common causes of lightheadedness, especially in those practicing a strict plant-based diet, is a lack of iron. This condition — also called iron deficiency anemia — is a “condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues” resulting in fatigue, weakness, and lightheadedness.

Luckily, iron is plentiful in plant-based foods, yet some of those with the highest content of iron include spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and tofu.

Try out a few of these iron-rich recipes: Chickpea Spinach Stew, Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bark, Savory Lentil Soup, or this Quinoa Pilaf with Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli.

4. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a great nutrient to increase if you experience lightheadedness as it targets your brain health. Per Michael Zimmermann, M.D., vitamin B6 “supports healthy brain development, improves brain function, repairs damaged brain tissues, carries oxygen, nutrients and blood to your brain, … and increases your body’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine, hormones that regulate brain activity.” On top of that, it’s also known to eliminate dizziness.

Plant-based sources of vitamin B6 include hazelnuts, vegetable juice, potatoes, bananas, and fortified foods.

Get your daily dose of lightheadedness preventing vitamin B6 from these recipes: Nutella Milk, Green Juice Detox, Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme, Coconut Banana Baked Oatmeal, Sweet Broccoli Juice, or any of these fortified cereals.

Top 4 Foods to Alleviate Nausea

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Nausea truly is one of the worst feelings. While it oftentimes passes when you remove whatever it is that was causing the discomfort in your stomach, nausea can also be a side effect of a prolonged illness such as the flu. Therefore, it’s always good to know what you can do to not only alleviate the feeling of nausea, but also nourish your body at the same time. When it comes to alleviating nausea with natural, plant-based foods, you’ll want to focus on neutral-flavored, nutrient-rich, oftentimes hydrating options.

1. Ginger

Miso Turmeric Ginger Dressing/One Green Planet

Ginger is one of the most well-known and used natural remedies for nausea. This root contains “bioactive compounds, such as gingerol, paradol and shogaol, which are thought to interact with your central nervous system and stomach to improve nausea symptoms.” While you can opt for ginger tea, supplements, or powders if you’re looking for potent and fast-acting relief go straight for the raw ginger root!

Here are a few ways to use ginger in your kitchen: Miso Turmeric Ginger Dressing, 15-Minute Sesame Ginger Noodles, Ginger Cookies, or this Ginger Coconut Slice.

2. Vegetable Broth

Oil-Free Vegan Vegetable Broth/One Green Planet

If you’re dealing with serious nausea and possible vomiting, putting solid foods into your stomach may not be an option. On top of that, you’ll also be wanting to find creative ways to stay hydrated as you can quickly dehydrate when vomiting. Broth offers a nutrient-rich and hydrating way to keep your body healthy while it heals!

Go with plain vegetable broth if you’re stomach is super sensitive — such as this Oil-Free Vegan Vegetable Broth — or get creative if you’re feeling like you can keep it down — such as this Healing Mineral Broth, this Mushroom Vegetable Broth, or this Comforting ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup.

3. Applesauce

Sugar-Free Applesauce/One Green Planet

Just like broth, applesauce has been a traditional home remedy for nausea. It’s particularly recommended for those with upset stomachs. In fact, a study in “people undergoing chemotherapy found that a light, bland diet including applesauce” actually resulted in “improved food intake and less nausea and vomiting.” Applesauce is traditionally made from apples, which are rich in a super healthy fiber called pectin, which is also shown to be “beneficial if you’re experiencing diarrhea in addition to feeling nauseous.”

You can go super traditional and bland if you’re experiencing vomiting — such as this Sugar-Free Applesauce or this Homemade Applesauce — or get creative and whip up some more unique applesauce varieties such as this Oven Baked Applesauce, this Instant Raw Applesauce, or this Raw Spring Power Applesauce.

4. Plain Brown Rice

How to Cook the Perfect Brown Rice/One Green Planet

Brown rice is super nutritious, gluten-free, and very gentle on the stomach! When it comes to fighting nausea, choosing a starchy food such as rice will accomplish satiety, while also infusing you with nutrients to help you fight off whatever it is that’s causing the upset. On top of that, “bland, colorless, and odorless foods are often more easily tolerated, as they trigger nausea to a lesser extent than strongly flavored food.” Plus, it’s super easy to whip up a large batch of rice to have on hand in your fridge!

Here are a few simple ways to cook some plain brown rice to ease your tummy: Basic Brown Rice or this How to Cook the Perfect Brown Rice.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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