Are the foods you eat impacting your migraines?


Do you get head pain after you eat a certain food? Are you having difficulty figuring out which foods are contributing to your headaches or migraines?

Some foods that have been reported to trigger a migraine are:

 Alcohol (especially red wine, beer and aged spirits)  Chocolate  Caffeine  Aged cheese  Cured meats  Smoked fish  Yeast extract  Food preservatives such at nitrites and nitrates  Artificial sweeteners  Monosodium glutamate (MSG)  Foods high in histamine such as tomatoes, strawberries or spinach

The theory is that these foods or chemicals can initiate the release of two brain chemicals, norepinephrine and serotonin, that start the process of a migraine by affecting blood flow and stimulating the brain stem, trigeminal nerve and other brain pathways.

Often, migraines are due to more than one trigger. When several triggers (i.e. stress, lack of sleep, low blood sugar) are stacked together the likelihood of getting a migraine can increase when you eat an inflammatory food. Since there are many triggers you can’t control (i.e. hormones, weather) identifying food triggers may decrease your migraine frequency and/or intensity.

Some people decide to switch to a healthier eating plan that includes more whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh dairy and lean meats while limiting processed foods. This type of diet is naturally anti-inflammatory. Others need to eliminate the most problematic foods from their diet for a period of time before reintroducing them to identify their food triggers (migraine elimination diet). Sometimes, when it is particularly difficult to figure out personal food triggers, a food sensitivity test can help.

Let us help you figure out your best migraine prevention eating plan by working with our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She can tailor a program for you and your lifestyle to help you on your way to a migraine free life!

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