Can Changing Your Diet Help Your Migraines ? Know Your Food Triggers !

 

Personally I have never suffered from migraines.  Headaches, Yes! But not the shooting pain that comes with migraines.  I do have friends & relatives who suffer from migraines and have on occasion doled out ” food advice”.  There are many triggers  for migraine including noise, stress, body chemistry, genetics, external toxins  etc and food is only one of them.  What I am attempting to do in this post is to list some dietary changes that may help your migraines especially if they’re connect to food triggers.  These tips can be preventive in nature too.  Eliminating certain foods and including certain habits may prevent the onset of the migraine before it happens or reduce the severity of the attack.  Hope these tips help :)

 

Food  Help for Migraines !

Keep a food diary :  Apart from a general list of foods that should generally be avoided, you may be susceptible to certain foods and food combinations that trigger migraine. Certain foods may be alright eaten alone, but become a trigger when combined with others.  By keeping a food dairy you can identify your special triggers or the ones common to all migraines.  Then eliminate them from your diet.

Detox regularly : Detox is a means of ridding your body of toxic build up and since most migraines are associated with toxins, regular short detox plans will benefit you.  To read a short & easy detox plan click here.  This can be tailored to 2 , 3 or 5 days. I recommend a short 3 0r 5 day detox once/ month for those suffering from migraines.  I recently went on a detox and am feeling so much more clear-headed and energetic after it.

Even when not on detox, drink lots of water to flush your system clear.  Dehydration is a common trigger and I cannot emphasize the importance of drinking plain water ( 8-10 glasses/day)   Drink an herbal detox tea on a daily basis which will keep your liver in good condition and prime it for the next detox.

Food Supplements and Natural Foods that have proven useful in preventing migraines :

Ginger : Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which has been found useful in treating migraines.  It also prevents nausea which is often associated with severe migraines.  Use in teas, soups,  salad, smoothies, fresh juices, stir-frys etc.  I add ginger to all my smoothie and juice concoctions.  It gives additional flavor and spice !! Click here for my  “Mango Ginger Pina Colada”

Fish Oil :  Is  rich in omega-3 fatty acids, chemicals that protect nerves and reduce inflammation in the body.  Fish oil supplements seem to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Omega 3 fish champs are salmon, sardines, smelt and anchovies. I love Omega-3. Apart from fish and supplements  other ways to get Omega-3 are from walnuts, flax oil, tofu and soybeans.

Feverfew : A herb that has the same anti- inflammatory properties as Aspirin.  If you don’t like popping a pill when the headaches start,  feverfew may be a good option.  Unlike aspirin, it had been found to reduce frequency & duration of migraines.  Pregnant women should not take herbs of any form since they may be harmful.

Magnesium : Helps to relax constricted blood vessels.  Lab tests have shown that many migraine patients are deficient in magnesium, so a simple addition of magnesium either through foods or as a supplement may correct the problem.  A good steady supply of magnesium is necessary for so many body functions.  Food sources of magnesium are green vegetables like spinach. Also, some beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole, unrefined grains are good sources of magnesium as well.

B complex : B2 aka Riboflavin is associated with brain health and neurological health.  B2 in combination with the other B vitamins seems to prevent and keep migraines at bay.  B complex vitamins are water-soluble, so excess will only be washed away in the urine.   Don’t be alarmed to see bright yellow colored urine when you are taking B-complex.

Do get your Zzzzz ‘s and eat meals : Fasting or skipping meals can trigger migraine headaches.  Make sure you eat within an hour after waking up and then every three hours.  Also, a good 8 hrs sleep is essential for those suffering from migraines.  If you suffer from insomnia and want some natural remedies read this !

 

 

Red Alert ! Food to  Avoid when you have migraines ! 

Food additives & Food preservatives except natural ones like salt, lemon, vinegar etc.

Pesticides – Go as close to organic as you can. If you need some practical tips on going organic without breaking the bank, click here. You can also use a fruit/veggie wash to remove pesticide residue.

Artificial sweeteners except the safe ones (stevia and agave nectar).  It’s preferable to use raw honey or raw sugar than any artificial stuff.  Artificial sweeteners are a BIG trigger !

Processed meats, processed foods, deli meats! Eat as close to natural as possible!

Food that MAY trigger migraines! Avoid if they seem to trigger your headaches.

Dark red wines and alcohol :  Alcohol triggers certain people.  Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol.  It is believed that  the headache could be caused by  impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol.  Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.

Aged cheese and other tyramine containing foods:  Tyramine  in these foods develops as a result of  fermentation.  Other Tyramine containing foods are  red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats.  Click here for a list of common aged cheese. Tyramine is a common trigger, but again may not be a trigger for all.  Let the food dairy be your guide.

Caffeine : found in chocolate and cocoa.  Beverages such as coffee, tea and colas can be trigger for some people. Caffeine is also found in certain medications.

Some other foods that may be triggers. Let the food diary be your guide !!

Soups made from meat extracts or bouillon. Certain fresh fruits including ripe bananas, citrus fruits, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds, sourdough bread, fresh-baked yeast goods, commercial potato chip products, smoked or dried fish.

I dislike having to put so many  possible foods on the list, but don’t let this intimidate you! Let the food diary be your guide to elimination! most important Don’t Stress!!!  Stress is a huge trigger in the migraine process and can intensify a migraine!! All the best and if you have some natural remedies or foods that have helped your migraines, do share !

 

Comments

  1. Need this !Thank you ! Did not know about aged cheese and wine. Both my favs ! Will see if they are my trigerrs. V helpful practical post ! Thank U Sue !

    • Sunithi Selvaraj, RD says:

      Welcome ! Has to do with the fermentation process ! you can drink light colored wines ! They are not as bad !

  2. Very helpful info. will pass this on to my sister inlaw who has migraines. Sharing on Fb too ! Get the occasional headache and maybe a detox will help with that too. Like the collage !

    • Sunithi Selvaraj, RD says:

      Thanks for the share. was wondering where I got those views from. Do the detox. It did me a lot of good. Feel more energetic now & clear headed ! Thanks Steve & hope it helps you sis -in – law !

  3. Awesome post. Actually a lot of stuff I hadnt read before and I’ve read a lot of migraine stuff. The food supplements are particularly helpful and worth checking out.

    Haven’t had one since the last one I told you about. Hopefully we’ve figured something out ;) Thank you for all of your help, Sue.

    • Sunithi Selvaraj, RD says:

      Thanks Chris ! Glad it helped . You inspired me to write the post so thank you :) Can’t wait for us to do the next detox together. It did me a lot of good too and wishing for the migraines to stay far far away ! All The Best !

  4. For long time i don`t read something interesting then this post and very helpful post thanks.

  5. So good to have all this info in one spot as migraines are an awful thing to suffer from – thanks for sharing. Twice now I have stopped their regular occurrence by making dietary changes. I had suffered from very regular migraines for years and eventually spoke to a nutritionist who suggested that before I made an appointment with her I cut out artificial sweeteners. The migraines stopped almost instantly. Fantastic advice, such a relief. Several years later, after moving house, they started again. This time I narrowed it down to the very high level of nitrates in the drinking water. As soon as I started using a water filter with an additional nitrate filter the migraines stopped again. Such simple changes if you know what can trigger them.

  6. Hi I must admit I don’t actually get migraines but headaches regurly especially. Ow I am spending more hours in front of a computer screen. Up to 2weeks ago I would spend hours without a break. But someone told me to do 30min then take 5min break and you will get more done and feel better at the same time. I was scepticle but tried it and it really works . Iam more motivated get more done and the big plus I get fewer headaches by staring at the computer for shorter lengths of time. I no this post is off on a bit of a tangent but just thought I would share what works for me.

    Thanks lee

    • Sunithi Selvaraj, RD says:

      Thanks for sharing :) There are non food remedies for migraines and less screen time is one of them! Sure your tip will be useful to others. I dealt with only the diet aspect in this post! Hope the aches get better and thanks again for sharing & visiting !!

  7. Beautiful information on relief from migraines! Also really good olive oil is a source of your precious good fats and a wonderful anti inflammatory. The best olive oil is Carothers’ Olive Oil. http://carothersoliveoil.com/store/

  8. Will sure going to try above things may be they can help me in Migraines and if by anyhow they can help me in migraines i will love to recommend to my all friends who are suffering from migraines

  9. Yeah I agreed with you ….. garlic can reduced headache cause I used it! the point is control what you eating, Likes or not just control it!! The cure and preventing is within yourself ….. Correct me If I wrong! Thanks for great share :)

  10. I like your recommendations for improving migraines, but since you seem to be advocating a lifestyle change, why is it necessary for a regular detox?

    • In this day and age the exposure to toxins and environmental pollutants is much higher than it used to be. Detox helps minimize and removes some of that, which is why it is beneficial for so many health concerns including migraine. Not a necessity but def recommended.

  11. I honestly never knew there were so many possible causes of migraines. My brother suffers from them on occasion and I know he wasn’t aware of all of these. Thanks for another great article. I would also ask if there are any specific detox teas you would recommend?

  12. Great Post. I am a firm believer in natural cures. I have suffered from a few migraines in my day and I appreciate the advice given here. Magnesium was helpful for me but I also must say I incorporated a few of the great pieces of advice you offered. Thanks.

  13. Hey! I love your blog post. Its a very relevant and important topic and I think you’ve explained multiple aspects very well. Thanks for the information.

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