Nutrition Guide for Migraines

Keep A Daily Food Log

The foods we eat and beverages we drink contain compounds that can cause or make migraine headaches worse. On the other hand, some may help reduce the number and severity of migraines.

Everyone is different in the foods and drinks they are sensitive to. Therefore, you must determine your particular triggers by keeping a daily food log.

  • Write down everything you eat and drink.
  • Keep track of non-food triggers.
  • Note when you have a migraine and the severity
  • Eliminate suspected triggers

Most food triggers will cause a migraine within 6 hours. Over time, a pattern will appear and you will be able to see what foods are causing your migraines. If you suspect a certain good is triggering your migraine, remove it from your diet for several weeks and see if the migraines stop, are less frequent, or are less severe. Foods should be eliminated one at a time. Anytime you limit or eliminate a food from your diet, you should notify your physician.


General Tips

  • Eat regularly throughout the day: Eat on a consistent schedule from day to day. This will help avoid possibly Low blood sugar Levels which can trigger or worsen a migraine.
  • Eat carbohydrates in moderation: Eating Large amounts of carbohydrates at one time can cause blood sugar Levels to rise too high and then drop too Low. which can trigger a migraine.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the day: Good sources are water. milk. and 100 percent fruit juices. The kidneys require water to clean toxins and extra electrolytes out of the body. Also. dehydration can cause headaches.
  • Eat a low fat diet: Foods high in fats. particularly Linolenic and oleic fat, can increase the frequency. Length. and intensity of migraines.
  • Take care when eating cold foods: Some people are more sensitive to cold foods and this can trigger headaches.
  • Be aware of non-food triggers: These can include fatigue. exercise. sleep deprivation. bright Lights. head trauma. infection. menstruation. and oral contraceptives. Minimize these triggers when possible.

A balanced diet will help reduce the number and/ or severity of migraines.

Some of the following food, in moderation, may help:

  • Peppermint
  • Oatmeal
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Fish of Fish Oil

Calcium-rich vegetables:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli 

Magnesium-rich foods

  • Spinach
  • Whole grains
  • Black beans

Riboflavin-rich foods

  • Dairy products
  • Almonds
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Chicken

Tryptophan-rich foods

  • Black eyed peas
  • Turkey
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cheese

Migraine Triggering Foods

  • Phenylethylamine: phenylethylamine may change how blood flows to the brain and cause the release of norepinephrine, which may cause migraines. Sources include: cheesecake, yellow cheese, citrus fruit, chocolate/cocoa, canned berried, red wine
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet): There may be some evidence that aspartame could trigger or make migraines worse. Sources include: sugar-free food and drinks, Equal Sweetener
  • Caffeine: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system which can cause migraines. If you already drink quite a bit of caffeine, remove it from your diet slowly, as caffeine withdrawal can also trigger migraines. Sources include: coffee, tea, energy drinks, diet pills, pain killers, chocolate
  • Nitrates, Nitrites: Nitrates and nitrites are used to cure meats and also occur naturally in certain foods. Nitrates and nitrites cause the blood vessels in the body to relax and widen and reduce oxygen in the blood stream, which can trigger a migraine. Source include: cured meats (ie. Ham, bacon, salami), beets, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, potatoes
  • Tyramine: Tyramine is created by the body from tyrosine. Tyramine can cause blood vessels to relax and widen, which can trigger migraines. This is one of the most common causes of migraines. Sources include: aged or blue cheese, smokes/cured/pickled mean or fish, red wine or beer, soy sauce, miso, tempeh, mincemeat pie, pickles, olives, nuts, yogurt, salami, sauerkraut
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): It can trigger a migraine associated with vertigo. Note: it may be hidden on the label as sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein and/ or autolyzed yeast. Symptoms usually appear within 15-60 minutes of eating MSG. Sources include: Chinese food, frozen food, canned soup, salad dressings/sauces, processed meats, snack foods
  • Alcoholic Beverages: If possible, abstain from alcohol completely. Many people are sensitive to alcohol even in small amounts. Some tolerate organically grown, aged and/ or sulfite free wines better than younger, traditionally grown wines with sulfites. In many cases it is not the alcohol that triggers the migraine, but rather the tyramine and/ or histamine in the drink.
  • Histamine: This is another type of amine that can cause blood vessels to relax and lead to migraines. Sources include: Banana, beef, pork, beer, cheese (especially yellow ripened), chicken liver, eggplant, fish, shellfish, processed meat (such as salami), sauerkraut, tempeh, tofu, miso, tamari, spinach, strawberry, tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, yeast and foods containing yeast, pineapple, citrus fruit, chocolate