Top Migraine Triggers Caused by Food

There are so many migraine triggers that we encounter everyday from food, drinks, exercise, medications, stress and more. Knowing the triggers that can set off a migraine headache may help you avoid your next attack. Some of the most common migraine triggers are caused by food – here are the most common ones to help you prevent migraines and have a healthy life.

Top Migraine Triggers Caused by Food

Do you get a lot of migraines and wonder why? It’s a good idea to track your headaches to try and figure out what the migraine triggers are so you can begin to feel better. Keep a journal or a list when you get a migraine and record your potential triggers each time you get a migraine. Write down potential triggers for up to 2 days before the headache first occurred.

Migraines affect mood, concentration, sleep, and mobility, and medications are either ineffective or quickly become so. Thought to be due to neuron misfirings in the brain, migraines may be caused by the presence of, or lack thereof, certain foods and minerals that act upon neurons in the brain.

man with headache or migraine

What are migraines?

A migraine is a recurring type of headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, which usually on one side of the head. For me, it feels like an ice pick is being jabbed into my temple. A lot of people also experience nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine attacks can last for hours or for days, with pain so severe that it interferes with your daily activities. Some migraines can be controlled by NSAIDS while others need prescription medications or even hospitalization.

woman on couch with migraine headache

Is There a Link Between Food and Migraine Headaches?

Many scientists believe that certain foods can trigger migraines while others may help alleviate and prevent them from occurring. Because the links between eating certain foods and the occurrence of migraines appear to be rather individualized, no scientific assessment has been recognized in an official capacity.

Here are some of the most common migraine triggers from different foods:

  • Artificial Sweeteners – Aspartame in Equal, NutraSweet and other artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate – Avoid milk chocolate and try purer blends of dark chocolate instead
  • Dairy Products – Full fat milk and cheeses and cultured dairy products
  • Caffeine – Often relieving during a spell, but can become addicting and trigger migraines
  • Processed Meats – Nitrates and tyramine are linked to triggering migraines
  • Food Dyes – Particularly Yellow #6, found in Mountain Dew and most cheesy chips
  • Sulfites – Commonly found in wines
  • Nuts – Even a mild allergy to nuts can set off a migraine
  • Food Additives – The body can’t process most additives and migraines may result
soda cans

The best way to identify whether certain foods trigger your migraines is to keep a food diary for several weeks. Make sure to list every food and beverage you consume, even a stick of gum or a flavored water. Document any signs of a migraine, even those that don’t fully surface. Note the times of every entry, and then your physician may be able to help you narrow down your migraine triggering foods.

See my self-care journal for tracking your migraine triggers!

Essential Migraine Relief with Vitamins and Minerals

There are a few essential vitamins and minerals that migraine sufferers should consider incorporating into their daily diet including magnesium, co-enzyme Q-10, vitamin B-2, and vitamin A specifically. Traditional foods may not give your body adequate amounts of these, and supplementation may be necessary as advised by a physician. Although there is no scientific evidence showing reductions in migraines and these vitamins, actual suffers report up to 50% fewer headaches post-supplementation.

Don’t wait for modern medicine to solve your migraine problem. Explore the connection between foods and migraines for yourself, and learn how to combat everyday health issues by avoiding trigger foods and consuming ample migraine-reducing minerals.

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