What Should You Eat On It
The vestibular migraine diet is relatively flexible, so youll still be able to eat most major food groups. All fruits are fair game except for citrus fruits and tomatoes, as are all veggies except for onions. Grains, meat, and seafood are all on the table, as long as theyre not heavily processed. Dairy substitutes, such as oat milk or coconut yogurt, are also allowed.
What May Help Relieve Headaches
Do keep a headache diary. Track the foods you ate 24 hours before a headache began. Download a free headache journal from the American Migraine Foundation.
Do manage your caffeine. For some people, caffeine can help migraines because it constricts enlarged blood vessels in the brain. But for others, too much caffeine is a migraine trigger.
Do eat foods high in magnesium. A majority of Americans dont get enough magnesium and this mineral need may be even higher for headache sufferers. Koff recommends food first to help meet requirements beginning with four servings daily of the following magnesium-rich foods: 1/2 cup kidney, pinto or black beans 1/3 cup peanuts or pumpkin seeds 2 oz dark chocolate 1 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal or barley 3/4 cup cooked greens. For those that cant or choose not to eat foods with magnesium, supplementation may be indicated. Koff recommends working with a registered dietitian to determine intake needs.
Do eat foods high in riboflavin. Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin is involved in energy production, including in brain cells. In one study, riboflavin supplements were linked to lower incidence of migraines in headache sufferers. Beef, enriched tofu, milk, seafood, mushrooms, eggs, nuts, greens, fortified breakfast cereals and bread made with enriched flour all contain riboflavin.
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Best Foods For Headaches
So its not technically a food, but theres a reason water tastes so good when youre not feeling your best. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches in general, so it makes sense that getting your eight glasses a day may help. In one study looking at water intake and headache incidence, water was significantly associated with a reduction in headache intensity and duration.
Another study found that 47 percent of headaches were improved simply by drinking up, compared with 25 percent of sufferers in a control group who did not. We suggest carrying a full bottle of water around and listening to your body for those early signs of thirst before it gets to an extreme.
You can also help meet your hydration needs by fitting plenty of fruits and veggies with a high water content into your diet. Cucumbers, spinach, watermelon, and berries can all help quench your thirst and supply a range of important vitamins and minerals to keep headaches at bay, says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, and author of Eat Dirt.
While research on salt and headache incidence is in its infancy, one study analyzing the effect of a low-sodium diet found that the likelihood of having a headache was lower when consuming less salt. One easy way to cut back? Avoid those processed foods and meats, which are also rich in those potentially problematic nitrates.
Small Amounts of Coffee
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Add Magnesium To Your Diet
Magnesium is a great nutrient to add to your migraine diet. It can help with increasing energy, calming anxiety, and relieving digestive issues. It also has been shown to prevent and soothe migraine headaches of all types. Try adding spinach, quinoa, and whole grains to your diet as they are high in magnesium and other essential nutrients. If you cant seem to fit in enough, magnesium supplements are an excellent alternative.
Eliminating Foods From Your Diet Can Ease Migraines And Vertigo
Migraines of any kind can be incredibly exhausting and demoralizing to deal with, especially if they hit you for hours or days at a time. However, for those suffering from migraines with vertigo, there may be relief in the form of the vestibular migraine diet, which has gained popularity in recent years.
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Does Food Really Trigger Migraine Attacks
Of course, the relationship between food and migraine isnât clear-cut, and unfortunately, no single factor can be directly tied to your attacks. That said, there’s scientific evidence that suggests attacks may be triggered by certain foods. Additionally, 27% of those who experience migraine believe that particular foods are personally triggering.
According to Dr. Sara Crystal, clinical neurologist and Cove Medical Director, certain foods and additives are more likely to trigger headaches in a higher percentage of migraineurs, but even among individuals, other factors like stress, hormonal changes, and lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of an attack after consuming a known trigger.
So, without further ado, hereâs a list of the most common food triggers for migraine sufferers, in no particular order.
Chocolate Can Ease A Caffeine Withdrawal Headache
Everyone wants to hear that chocolate can help a caffeine withdrawal headache, says Brown with a laugh. Some people believe chocolate is a food group all its own, she says.
According to ConsumerLab.com, an independent company that tests health and nutrition products, most dark chocolates have about 40 to 50 milligrams of caffeine per 1½ ounce serving, which is about the same amount you would get in a cup of green tea and about half the amount in a cup of regular brewed coffee. So depending on the person, a serving of dark chocolate might be enough to ease a caffeine withdrawal headache.
Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
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A Juicy Slice Of Watermelon Can Head Off Dehydration Which Is Often A Factor In Headaches And Migraine Attacks
If youre living with migraine, you probably know that certain foods and drinks can trigger an attack. But even though its important to know what to avoid, focusing on the foods to add to your diet matters, too: It may help reduce the number or severity of migraine attacks or other types of headaches.
Food really is the first medicine, says Wynne Brown, MD, the medical director of integrative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When youre trying to manage migraine, what you eat and when you eat can make all the difference, she says.
Being open to change in your diet is a good start, says Dr. Brown. Often, we can get in a rut and eat the same things over and over. By adding different fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet, we can reap benefits in terms of water content as well as vitamins and minerals, she says.
A diet with a variety of good foods will make a big difference both in migraine management and overall health and may improve imbalances that contribute to headaches, says Brown.
If youre looking for ways to change your diet to better manage your migraine, here are some expert tips on the foods and drinks to help you on your journey.
Kale Might Help Migraineurs
Related to cabbage and broccoli , kale is also packed with magnesium about 32 milligrams in one cup of chopped leaves. Kale is tougher than spinach and more of an acquired taste. Its also high in fiber, which is essential for an overall healthy diet.
If you prefer eating your greens raw but dont like kales toughness, chop the leaves fine, squeeze with lemon juice, and let sit for an hour to soften the leaves a bit. Check out this Greek kale salad recipe for inspiration . You can then toss the kale in salad or a quick stir-fry. You can saute kale like spinach, add it to pasta dishes, or roast it to make crispy kale chips.
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Dietary Supplements For Migraine Prevention
A majority of patients with migraine have tried using minerals, herbs, and vitamins to treat their headaches. Patients have different reasons for using supplements, including the idea that they are more natural or do not require a prescription. Because these complementary and alternative treatments can affect pain pathways and other body functions similar to prescription medications, it is important to be aware of the nature of these supplements, including potential side effects and the quality of evidence supporting their use for migraine prevention.
Instead Of: Ice Cream Or Frozen Yogurt
Nothing says summer like a big bowl full of ice cream or frozen yogurt, but dairy and sugar can trigger and increase migraine pain exponentially. Is it really worth it?
Try: Mango berry nice cream
Most of the dairy-free nice cream circulating around the web these days feature bananas and coconut milk, two foods to skip on a migraine diet. This mango berry nice cream is rich and sweet with no added sugar. Berries are at their very best in the summer. To take advantage of this treat year-round, freeze them first on cookie sheets. Then put them in pre-measured bags for a quick frozen treat whenever the urge strikes!
If you need more directed help with your migraine headaches, talk to a pain doctor today to learn about treatment options that could help you. Click here to contact one of our pain specialists.
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Eat More Healthy Fats
Some people still think fat is a bad word, but there are some major benefits to adding certain ones to your migraine diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly found in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon, can really help with migraines. Olive oil is also another great source of healthy fat. The monounsaturated fats can be just as beneficial as omega-3s and they can be a healthy substitute in most recipes. Research has shown that they help reduce the frequency, pain level, and duration of migraines. Make sure you add in a healthy dose a few times a week to start seeing some positive changes.
Managing A Headache With Good Food Choices
The Cleveland Clinic notes that most information about food that triggers headaches was gathered from people self-reporting their experiences. There have been research studies conducted in the past, and many ongoing right now. The challenge for researchers is that each case is different. The first step is avoiding foods that are known to trigger headaches. Should a headache develop, there are foods that may spur a faster recovery period.
Knowing what to eat when your head hurts can help you make good choices. The most common foods and drinks that have been reported to help headaches include:
- Fresh fruits, especially brightly colored ones high in antioxidants
- Low sodium foods
- A small cup of coffee for a caffeine headache
Avoid consuming processed foods, aged cheeses, smoked or dried fish, cultured dairy products, high sodium foods like potato chips and foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. Sometimes, headache relief comes from knowing what not to eat.
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Bananas Give You Energy When You Need It
Looking for something quick and easy that could help stave off a migraine attack or an episode of hypoglycemia, which could lead to a headache? Reach for a banana rather than highly processed foods like granola bars or candy, suggests Brown.
Bananas are a great food for quick energy recovery, and theyre high in magnesium, which can be helpful when people have headaches, she says.
Bananas are about 74 percent water, so there are hydration benefits as well, Brown says.
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Gutbrain Axis And Probiotics
Several studies have shown different gastrointestinal diseases to be associated with migraine . Migraine is often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, and bowel disturbances . A link has also been found that headaches occur at a higher rate in patients with gastrointestinal disorders . Abdominal migraine is an entity affecting children . Studies have also suggested that migraine is associated with inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease .
Eating For Good Gut Health
The connection between gut health and migraine is still being studied, but there is some pretty compelling evidence already that a healthy gut can result in fewer migraine attacks. What makes it really appealing though is that its pretty easy to follow a gut health diet.
Reducing inflammation in the body is the primary focus. This means cutting out preservatives, sugar, and processed foods while incorporating more fresh, whole foods as well as anti-inflammatory foods into the diet. The Mediterranean Diet is a popular choice, but migraineurs are warned to watch their triggers and eliminate foods that cause them problems.
Fermented foods are often associated with good gut health, but that may be a trigger for some. Virgin olive oil, whole grains, and lean meats like chicken and fish are great staples. The key is finding an eating lifestyle you can stick with.
A good probiotic is also key to a healthy gut. Look for one that has bifido and is refrigerated. A prebiotic may help as well.
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The Core Of A Migraine Diet: Eating During An Attack
Eating during an attack is tricky. The nausea and intense pain that are hallmark traits of a migraine may seem like they would discourage any food or beverage intake. That isnt always the case though. While some people dont eat anything, others have only specific foods that they can tolerate. A recent conversation on this topic in a migraine forum yielded some interesting responses. This is what various migraineurs said they eat or drink during an attack:
- Tart cherry juice antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
- Virgin olive oil oleocanthal
- Hot peppers capsaicin
- Peppermint oil pain reducer
There is some evidence that suggests the resveratrol in red wine may reduce pain, but dont be too quick to tip back that bottle. Alcohol can also be a migraine trigger.