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What Foods to Avoid as an Epileptic Patient

by
author image Nadia Haris
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.
What Foods to Avoid as an Epileptic Patient
A cup of soda on a table. Photo Credit SasinParaksa/iStock/Getty Images

If you have epilepsy, you may find that you experience a higher frequency of seizures after eating certain foods, as some food can trigger epileptic episodes, according to the Epilepsy Society. Avoiding these foods and eating regular, balanced meals can help reduce your risk of seizures and improve your overall health.

Refined Carbohydrates

Research published in the journal "Neurology" in 2006 reported that one half of a patient group treated with a diet regimen that had only low-glycemic foods showed 90 percent fewer seizures. The Epilepsy Society advises that in some patients with epilepsy, fluctuating blood-glucose levels can trigger seizures. To balance your blood glucose levels, avoid high-glycemic foods, which raise your blood glucose levels. These foods include refined carbohydrate foods such as pizza, soft drinks, white bread, cakes, bagels, white rice, white pasta and chips. Instead, choose low glycemic-index foods such as whole grains, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and pasta, legumes, yogurt and nuts.

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Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are low-glycemic, meaning they do not cause your blood glucose levels to rise and fall drastically. If you have epilepsy, however, the Epilepsy Society recommends that you avoid certain vegetables and fruits that fall in the medium- to high-glycemic range. These foods include mangos, raisins, bananas, mashed potatoes and dates.

Monosodium Glutamate

The food additive monosodium glutamate -- MSG -- is used as a flavoring and preservative in a variety of foods. An animal study published in 2004 in "Neuroscience Letters" concluded that excess MSG can physically alter the nerves of rats and lead to epileptic seizures. If you have epilepsy, it is best to avoid this food additive, even though it has not been determined if any amount of MSG can cause or worsen seizures in people.

Ginkgo Nuts

Research published in 2001 in the journal "Epilepsia" reported that consuming a large amount of ginkgo nuts can cause vomiting and seizures about four hours after eating them. Ginkgo nuts are commonly eaten in Japan and China. The study noted that this food triggered seizures in individuals who did not have a history of epilepsy or seizures of any kind. If you have epilepsy, it is best to not eat an excess of ginkgo nuts, since they may be toxic to nerves.

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