Thanksgiving is a great holiday for spending time with family and friends. Whether your day involves watching the parade, cheering at the football game, or spending a quiet day at home, a core event of Thanksgiving is enjoying a large feast around the table. Many people take this day to eat massive quantities of food including turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. However, did you know there is a correlation between overeating and feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness?
After food consumption, blood flow must be directed to the digestive organs such as the stomach and intestines. The heart needs to reduce blood flow in other areas of the body so that it can be redirected to the intestines. Unfortunately, these mechanics do not work properly for everyone. Some people are unable to constrict blood flow in particular areas of the body to increase the flow to others. Consequently, although most of the body’s blood will actually travel just to the digestive organs after eating, all organs will still expect the same amount of blood as usual. This produces a rather abrupt drop in blood pressure, resulting in dizziness. So for those whose blood flow patterns are not as well-regulated in digestion are likely to experience a sense of lightheadedness, and have an increased risk of losing consciousness, from consuming a large meal. About 30% of older individuals feel such dizziness after eating.
Certain foods are more likely to cause dizziness. These include raw meats and fatty, salty, or fried foods. The key to reducing the risk of post-meal dizziness is having a regular eating schedule. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet on a timely schedule. For example, eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water throughout the day rather than consuming a large quantity of food at only one point of the day. The tradition of enjoying a feast for dinner on Thanksgiving makes this particular holiday a riskier day for experiencing dizziness after overeating. So make sure you are staying healthy and hydrated throughout the day, and maybe eat just one piece of pumpkin pie instead of four at the dinner table.
For more information, check out: What Causes Dizziness After Eating