Dietary changes like eating more salt and drinking more fluids may help with POTS symptoms. A gluten-free or low FODMAP diet might also help with certain symptoms.

When you have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), your heart may beat very fast after you stand up from a sitting or lying position. You may get dizzy, lightheaded, or faint. That’s because POTS causes less blood to return to your heart after you change positions.

Anyone can get POTS, but females ages 15–50 are more likely to experience it. Although symptoms generally improve as you age, changing your diet can also help you avoid getting dizzy and lightheaded as often.

Here are some diet tips to help you manage your POTS symptoms.

It’s essential to drink enough each day, especially if you have POTS, which causes a reduced blood volume. Experts recommend 2–3 liters (68–101 ounces) of fluids daily. But be sure to check with a doctor if you have heart or kidney disease.

Ways to drink more every day include:

  • drinking as soon as you wake up
  • using a water-tracking app
  • drinking a glass of water before each meal
  • replacing other drinks with water
  • keeping a reusable water bottle near you
  • drinking one glass of water per hour at work

Another tip: Drink 2 cups (480 milliliters) of cold liquid if you feel faint. That may help boost your blood pressure and lower your heart rate.

Beverages to avoid with POTS

Drinking more fluid can help with POTS because it can increase blood volume. However, some people may find some drinks unhelpful.

Alcohol may make POTS worse because it is a diuretic, meaning it makes you lose fluid, lowering your blood volume.

Drinking caffeinated beverages may or may not help. Some people find caffeine helps their symptoms, while others find it makes them worse. The authors of a 2021 research review suggested that people with POTS try caffeinated beverages only if other methods don’t work.

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Several studies have found that eating more salt may help with POTS symptoms. For example, a recent small study of 27 people found that people with POTS who ate a high sodium diet had fewer symptoms.

Recommendations for how much salt people with POTS should aim to eat each day vary from 6–20 grams. Salt is about 40% sodium, so this equals about 2.4–8 grams of sodium. Since this is well above the recommendation of the American Heart Association, check with a doctor first, especially if you have heart or kidney disease.

Some salty snack ideas include:

Large, carbohydrate-rich meals can cause your body to divert more blood to your digestive tract, possibly worsening POTS symptoms. With POTS, common gastrointestinal (GI) problems include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • constipation

Foods with a higher glycemic index — meaning your body breaks them down faster — divert blood flow.

You can manage your symptoms by basing your meals around vegetable or animal protein and smaller amounts of whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato, or seeded bread such as rye.

People with POTS may also be more likely to have glucose intolerance, a risk for type 2 diabetes. Reducing your simple carbohydrates and replacing them with protein and fiber can help.

Foods to eat with POTS

Foods to avoid with POTS

  • simple carbs like white rice and sugar
  • sweets
  • baked goods
  • pretzels and chips
  • white bread, white pasta
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Eating a big meal can make anyone sleepy, but it can especially aggravate POTS symptoms. Digestion causes your body to divert blood from the rest of the body toward the digestive tract.

You can avoid this by eating smaller, more frequent meals. Eating smaller meals can help you keep your energy level steady. It can also help if you experience nausea, a common POTS symptom.

Experts recommend five to six small meals a day.

Food allergies and sensitivities may contribute to POTS symptoms. According to a 2018 review, people with POTS commonly report food allergies and intolerances, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Gluten may be a common food trigger for POTS. A small 2022 study found that a gluten-free diet helped reduce POTS symptoms. However, the researchers noted the need for larger studies.

You could try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see which ones trigger POTS symptoms.


People with POTS often report also having IBS. IBS causes uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • gas

Some research suggests that a low FODMAP diet might help reduce IBS symptoms in people with dysautonomias like POTS.

FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols) are foods that are difficult to digest and may contribute to IBS symptoms.

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What diets are good for people with POTS?

Because many people with POTS also have uncomfortable GI symptoms or IBS, some experts recommend a gluten-free or low FODMAP diet.

A higher-sodium diet can also help with symptoms, but check with a doctor first, especially if you have heart or kidney disease.

What aggravates POTS?

Common triggers of POTS symptoms include:

  • getting overheated
  • eating refined carbohydrates like white bread
  • being dehydrated or not drinking enough
  • exercise
  • getting your period
  • resting too much
  • pregnancy
  • trauma
  • viral illness
  • major surgery

Does POTS get worse when you eat?

POTS symptoms can get worse when you eat large meals because digestion diverts large amounts of blood to your GI tract and away from your heart and brain. This can worsen symptoms. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day is better to avoid worsening your symptoms.

Can POTS cause weight gain?

POTS is more commonly associated with weight loss than weight gain. That may be because POTS symptoms, such as nausea, make it harder to take in or process enough calories from food.

Dietary changes may help reduce POTS symptoms. Drinking more fluids and adding salt to your diet can help, as can eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

You may also want to avoid alcohol, fizzy beverages, and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta.

GI symptoms can often accompany POTS. Gluten-free and low FODMAP diets may help relieve some of those symptoms.

Talk with a doctor about what other changes you could make to reduce your symptoms.