Diet for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a neurological condition characterized by increase in intracranial pressure likely due to obstruction in venous drainage without the evidence of a mass, lesion or hydrocephalus. (Know the causes, symptoms, treatment, risk factors and prognosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension)

Diet for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Diet for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

People suffering from idiopathic intracranial hypertension often go about their routine lives and activities without changing their diet. However, certain diet changes can go a long way in aiding in improving the condition to a large extent. In this regard, the people suffering from such a condition need to stress on certain foods and also avoid certain food items that might aggravate the issue.

Though termed benign, there can be no doubt about the fact that the condition of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension needs to be given appropriate medical attention accompanied by a proper diet.

Food Items to Include in Diet For Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

There are certain food items that need to be included in the diet for idiopathic intracranial hypertension in order to catalyze the healing process.

  • Fruits: Fruits form an important part of any diet concerning weight loss. They are rich in fiber and are healthy substitutes for the high fat-content food. Weight loss being an important part of the treatment of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, the importance of including fruits as a part of daily diet cannot be negated.
  • Low Fat Dairy Products: Low fat dairy products can be considered as a healthy option in place of dairy products containing high amount of fat.
  • Intake of Lean Meat: Since beef, lamb, veal and other such meat products have high fat content, lean meat which is low in terms of calorie can be considered as a healthy substitute. Meat products with low fat content such as, poultry and fish supply the protein required by our body, but do not add to the fat content of the body.
  • Oats and Whole Grain Cereal: Oats and whole grain cereal products can also be considered to be an important part of the nutrition and diet plans for people suffering from Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.
  • Monounsaturated Fats: Food items that are known to be sources of monounsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil aid in bringing down the cholesterol levels. Such food items can therefore, be made a part of the nutritional plan for people suffering from Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

Healthy eating habits need to be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle and proper amount of physical activity in order to ensure all round treatment of the condition.

Food Items to Avoid in Diet for Intracranial Hypertension:

The food items that need to be avoided by people suffering from intracranial hypertension include –

  • Salts: Food items containing excess amounts of salt leads to an excess of water retention in the body, which in turn can aggravate the situation. It is therefore important to avoid food items containing excessive salt, viz., fast food, olives, pickles, salsa, canned, processed and junk food and the like.
  • Fats: Since Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is likely to be observed in people who are obese or overweight; weight loss, therefore, is given a position of prime importance when considering the treatment option for the disease. It is therefore advisable to avoid food items with high fat content such as, veal, cookies, meat fat, cheese, palm oil, coconut oil, beef, butter, ice cream, lamb, chips, candies etc.
  • Vitamin A: Your physiologist might recommend controlling the intake of Vitamin A because of its effects on the metabolism of the body as well as on the development of the cerebrospinal fluid. Consequently, food items such as tomatoes, beer, liver, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes and other food items rich in Vitamin A need to be avoided.
  • Tyramine: The natural breakdown of the amino acid, tyrosine produces a compound known as tyramine. This compound is known to be a causative factor behind the dilation of the blood vessels, which can prove to be fatal for people suffering from idiopathic intracranial hypertension. It is therefore important to avoid food items with high tyramine content, such as, aged, preserved, dried and smoked food like aged cheese, pepperoni, salami, pickled food, beer, wine, fermented soy products, olives, nuts and broad beans and the like.
  • Caffeine: Though there are concrete evidence to support the fact, studies has revealed a connection between hypertension and caffeine intake. Caffeine is known to affect the flow of blood and the pressure levels and it is therefore advisable to reduce or avoid caffeine completely.
  • Alcohol: It is advisable not to consume alcohol without water as it adversely affects people suffering from this condition. It is therefore best to limit the intake of alcohol or accompany it with enough intake of water so as to prevent dehydration.


Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension is often treated with a combination of drugs and in certain cases brain surgery. It is however important to follow a healthy lifestyle in order to catalyze the healing process and to overcome the condition altogether. Hence, it is important to include low calorie, high protein content diet as a part of your daily nutritional plan in order to cope with the condition well. A well-planned healthy diet accompanied by exercises can go a long way in achieving the desired results.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 7, 2017

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