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Foods To Help With Migraines

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How To Do An Elimination Diet

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

If you suspect that certain foods or drinks trigger your migraine, an elimination diet could help. You’ll cut out foods and drinks that can trigger migraines and then slowly add them back. If your migraine symptoms return, it may be a sign that it’s because of a certain food.

Talk to your doctor before giving it a try. You’ll want to make sure that it’s safe for you and learn how to fine-tune the food plan for your needs.

Go slow

Donât cut out everything that might cause a headache at once. Thatâll only make it harder to figure out which ones affect you. Also, itâs a bad idea for children and pregnant women to restrict food.

Instead, cut out one potential food trigger at a time. Keep track of how you feel over the next month. This should help you decide whether the food in question is a problem or if you can start eating it again.

Keep a food journal

A diary will help you keep track of your diet. If you get a migraine, don’t look only at what you ate that day. Go back as far as 3 days before.

Sometimes, people crave the foods that will trigger their migraine. If you suspect a certain food or drink, remove it from your diet again for at least a month.

Think about your medicines

Don’t stop or change any of your medication doses until you get the go-ahead from your doctor.

An elimination diet isn’t foolproof

Since migraines have many triggers that arenât food or drink, keep in mind that the diet may not give you all the answers.

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Identify Your Trigger Foods And Construct A Migraine Diet Plan

This is where the daily activity journal will do the most good. Since foods affect people differently, it helps to reset your diet to mostly safe foods to begin with. Trigger foods usually take about two days to start causing headaches again so you can then slowly add in foods you enjoy to see if they are the culprit for headaches.

Caution should be advised when changing your diet as there is no universal migraine diet that is right for everyone. A well-balanced diet is recommended. You should avoid skipping meals as this can have negative effects and actually exacerbate migraines.

Instead Of: Fresh Oranges For Breakfast

You may think that eating plenty of citrus fruits is a good thing to begin your day, but for some people, fresh citrus can be a trigger. Plus, the added acid isnt doing a stomach upset by migraine any favors.

Try: Cooked fruit such as pears or cherries

Compounds in tart cherries can ease inflammation, including inflammation that may make a migraine worse. Mixed in with some overnight oats, chia seeds, and rice milk, cooked cherries or pears help you work towards your daily recommended amount of fruit without increasing your pain.

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How To Treat A Migraine

If you experience migraines, visit your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.

Your doctor can also recommend and prescribe painkillers or other medications that might work for you.

If you suspect that certain foods trigger your migraines, try eliminating them from your diet to see if that makes any difference.

For detailed information on how to follow an elimination diet, see this article. Also, consider keeping a detailed food diary.

Some research supports the use of supplements for treating migraines, but the evidence on their effectiveness is limited. Below are summaries of the main ones.

Why Does Food Cause Headaches

10 Foods That Fight with Headaches

The exact cause of migraines isnât known. But doctors agree that brief changes in your brain activity bring them on. These affect your blood vessels and nerve signals as well. The result: throbbing head pain that can last for days.

Many things can cause migraines, like medicine you take, changes in your hormones, and a lack of sleep. Your diet plays a part, too. In about 10% of people with these headaches, food is a trigger.

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Morning Pickup Or Daily Grind

Caffeine can help treat migraine headaches. Patients often report that coffee or soda helps reduce head pain. Caffeine is also a common ingredient in over-the-counter headache medicines. Many patients note that medicines with caffeine are more helpful than those without. However, caffeine is a drug, and like many other drugs, it can cause problems when overused. Caffeine can be useful when used infrequently, but using it daily can lead to medication overuse headaches, which are also known as rebound headaches. Using more than 100 mg of caffeine daily is a known risk factor for developing daily headache.

Some suggestions for caffeine use in migraine patients:

  • Episodic migraine patients should limit caffeine intake to one or two beverages daily .
  • Patients with daily headaches should consider avoiding caffeine completely.
  • Limit the use of caffeine-containing medications to no more than two days a week.
  • Reduce caffeine intake slowly, by 25% each week, to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
  • The amount of caffeine in different brands and types of coffee varies widely, from 133mg of caffeine in a large McDonalds brew to 415mg in a venti Starbucks. The same is true for different medicines. Consider using an online calculator or talking to your doctor when figuring out your daily caffeine use.
  • Caffeine is probably not the only cause of frequent migraines, but reducing caffeine will often help improve headache.

How To Hold Off Migraines

Take these steps to help stave off a migraine after you eat:

Choose better food. Eat as much wholesome, fresh food, like fruits and vegetables, as you can. Avoid processed and packaged foods.

Eat more âminiâ meals. Instead of three large meals each day, opt for five or six small ones. This will prevent you from getting a headache because youâre hungry. Youâre also less likely to eat a lot of a single food that could trigger a migraine.

Drink plenty of water. To stay hydrated, sip at least eight glasses of water each day.

Manage stress. Feeling tense and worried may be enough to make your head throb. Regular exercise can give you a sense of control of your feelings. Itâll also help you keep a healthy weight.

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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.

Eat More Healthy Fats

Got migraines? These are the foods to eat (and avoid) | Your Morning

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.

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Migraines Vs Regular Headaches

Many often confuse migraines for regular headaches and vice versa. While all headaches might seem the same, there is a big difference between a migraine and a regular one. A regular headache usually causes a feeling of pressure in your head, especially near your temples. These often form because of tension or sinus problems.

Migraines are usually much more severe. Sometimes they can be so excruciating that medical help is needed. There are two main types of migraines: aura and non-aura. An aura migraine occurs when a person gets a strange sensation in their body, such as a lack of smell or taste, a few minutes before the migraine strikes. Sometimes these sensations might even occur a few days before the migraine actually happens.

On the other hand, a non-aura migraine doesnt involve these sensations. However, these are usually rare because most people experience aura migraines.

What Foods Can Trigger Migraine

Many people find that specific foods trigger their migraines. Knowing what triggers a migraine can be easier to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Foods that incorporate additives such as MSGs are often the culprit behind a migraine episode. Lower levels of MSGs are naturally found in tomatoes, cheese, corn, and sauerkraut.

Products containing yeast have also been known to trigger migraines. Lunch meats and hotdogs containing high levels of nitrates should be avoided by those who are susceptible to migraines. Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, barbeque sauce, and even some salad dressings should be carefully checked for MSGs in the ingredient list. Soy sauce is also another major culprit. However, many soy sauce companies are creating MSG-free soy sauce alternatives.

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Foods That Help Migraines Go Away: What To Eat And What To Skip

Many people with migraine, especially those who have suffered from debilitating headaches for many years, come to believe that certain foods and drinks can trigger their attacks.

While most common on their lists are chocolate, cheese, and coffee, most clinical studies found none of the so-called food triggers to be consistent and reliable, meaning that even these foods or drinks do not trigger migraine attacks every time they are consumed. On the other hand, foods/drinks that help with migraine can sometimes stop an oncoming attack or abort an acute one, but sometimes they dont.

Because of this general lack of consistency, the relationship between migraine and certain foods is not considered hard-core science. Nevertheless, you may find it helpful to know what millions of migraine patients find helpful for them.

You know some foods are healthy in abundance, and some are best kept to a minimum. But for many people with migraine, eating healthy is more complicated. Some foods help prevent or reduce the length and intensity of migraines, while others can trigger severe migraines. Read on to learn which foods to skip and which foods might even help migraines go away.

Common Migraine Food Triggers

Migraine Headaches Diet And Macrobiotic Food

Triggers vary from person to person, but Martin says there are a number of common foods and drinks that his patients report as causing headaches. Caffeine can be a big trigger for some people because large doses of caffeine can lead to headachesbut so can avoiding coffee for 24 hours, which can send people into caffeine withdrawal, Martin said. People who do choose to drink caffeine-heavy drinks like coffee should drink it on a regular basis to avoid headaches and other symptoms related to withdrawal.

Another common trigger cited by Martins patients is alcohol, especially beer and wine. Though many patients say red wine is worse for triggering their headaches than white wine, Martin says hes seen both types of wine trigger headache.

Sweeteners, including sucralose, might also trigger headaches in some people, as can monosodium glutamate . Patients have also reported being triggered by foods with nitrites, including sausage, lunch meat and bacon, Martin says. He said some people get a hot dog headache after eating hot dogs, which have nitrates.

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What Is A Migraine

A migraine is a common disorder characterized by recurrent, throbbing headaches that can last up to three days.

Several symptoms distinguish migraines from normal headaches. They typically involve only one side of the head and are accompanied by other signs.

These include nausea and hypersensitivity to light, sounds and smells. Some people also experience visual disturbances, known as auras, before getting a migraine .

In 2001, an estimated 28 million Americans experienced migraines. Research has shown greater frequency in women than men .

The underlying cause of migraines is unknown, but hormones, stress and dietary factors may play a role (

Given that evidence is usually based on personal accounts, the role of most dietary triggers is controversial.

However, studies suggest some people with migraines may be susceptible to certain foods.

Below are 11 of the most frequently reported dietary migraine triggers.

How Your Diet Affects Migraines: Foods To Avoid Foods To Eat

Millions of people worldwide experience migraines.

While the role of diet in migraines is controversial, several studies suggest that certain foods may bring them on in some people.

This article discusses the potential role of dietary migraine triggers, as well as supplements that may reduce migraine frequency and symptoms.

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Spinach Could Help Migraines Go Away

This dark leafy green vegetable is particularly rich in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 milligrams, making it an easy and excellent way to start increasing the magnesium levels in your diet. Add spinach to your scrambled eggs in the morning, toss some baby spinach into your salad at lunch, or make sautéed spinach with garlic as a side for dinner.

Chocolate Can Ease A Caffeine Withdrawal Headache

Migraine trigger foods

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, 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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Benefits From A Healthy Diet

A change in diet can also help some people living with migraine, Martin said. There are also what we call comprehensive food diets where patients forget about identifying the triggers: you just go on a comprehensive, healthy diet that tends to relieve migraine headaches, Martin said.

The diet Martin prefers is one thats high in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in Omega-6 fatty acids, which has been shown to reduce the frequency of headache in chronic migraine sufferers. Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in certain fish, seeds and oils, are thought to be anti-inflammatory, Martin said.

Other diets have benefits, too, Martin said: Theres evidence that a low-fat diet can help people living with migraine. A ketogenic diet where patients reduce how many carbohydrates they eat can also possibly decrease the frequency of headaches, Martin said, though that diet should be followed under a doctors supervision.

A headache specialist can pair patients with a dietician who can help patients design and follow a diet intended to reduce the frequency of their headaches. People with migraine shouldnt need to let go of all their favorite foods to try to prevent migraine. A healthy diet, and identifying food triggers, can help reduce the frequency of headaches. The American Migraine Foundations free Migraine Meal Planner can also help people with migraine track their diet.

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Berries May Relieve Sinus Pressure

Eating things that are high in antioxidants can help to relieve sinus pressure over time, says Brown. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all good choices.

Smaller fruits tend to have more exposure to pesticides, and so Brown recommends getting organic berries whenever possible.

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How Do You Identify Your Triggers

So how do you know which of these foods are actually triggering your attacks? Since food affects all migraine sufferers differently, the best thing you can do is examine your eating habits and identify patterns that could be potential triggers. By slowly eliminating foods one-by-one, you can start to recognize what spurs your headaches. Food allergy testing can also be helpful, though you should still be wary of certain foods even if you arenât allergic to them.

To keep track of your habits, Dr. Crystal recommends keeping a careful food diary for at least one month to record what you do and donât eat. If something is a trigger, an attack will likely hit 12 to 24 hours post-consumption. Youâll be able to trace the pain back to the sourceâor at the very least, narrow it down.

We know reading this might make you feel like youâll have to start living off of nothing but water if you want to avoid debilitating pain, but itâs important to remember that not all of these foods are triggers for every sufferer . Migraine is personal, and the only way to learn your specific triggers is to track your migraine, make one adjustment at a time, and see what helps.

And, of course, not all foods are your enemy. Check out this article for a list of migraine-safe foods or this roundup of migraine-safe recipes.

What Foods Are Good For Headache Relief

Foods you least expect to be migraine triggers! Repin to get an iOS ...

People ask how to cure migraines permanently. Unfortunately, and essentially because medical researchers have not yet pinpointed the specific cause of migraine headaches, there is no permanent cure. However, they have identified specific nutritional vitamins, minerals, and other elements that can bring headache relief from migraines and other types of headaches.

Though instant migraine relief is difficult to achieve, some foods can work rapidly, like ginger and nuts. Following are some foods that fight migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, caffeine headaches, and headaches in general.

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