9 Migraine Diet Dos and Don'ts

A common and frequently disabling neurological condition known as a migraine can result in severe throbbing pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. While there is no definitive cure for migraines, certain lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. This article will explore nine migraine diet dos and don'ts to help you manage your migraines.

What is a Migraine? and What are its Various Types?

Although it can happen on both sides of the head, a migraine is often defined by a throbbing or pulsing pain on one side. Migraines can be moderate to severe in intensity and last for hours to days. Migraines can be categorized into two main types − with and without aura. Aura is a range of neurological symptoms that can occur before or during a migraine attack. These symptoms include visual disturbances like flashing lights or blind spots, tingling sensations in the face or hands, and difficulty speaking or understanding speech. Migraines with aura account for about 25% of all migraines.

Migraines can significantly impact a person's quality of life and can be challenging to manage. Treatment options for migraines include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and lifestyle changes like stress reduction techniques and dietary adjustments.

What are the Actual Reasons for Migraines?

  • Hormonal changes − Fluctuations in estrogen levels can trigger migraines in women. Women may experience migraines during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.

  • Environmental factors − Certain environmental factors like bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and changes in weather conditions can trigger migraines.

  • Food triggers − Certain foods and drinks like chocolate, aged cheeses, alcohol, and caffeine can trigger migraines in some people.

  • Stress − Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Emotional stress, physical stress, and changes in sleep patterns can all contribute to migraines.

  • Genetics − Migraines tend to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition.

  • Medications − Certain medications like hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, and some blood pressure medications can trigger migraines.

It's important to note that not all migraines have identifiable triggers, and triggers can vary from person to person. Understanding your motivations can help you manage your migraines more effectively.

Here are the 9 Migraine Related diet Dos and Don'ts

  • Do eat regular, balanced meals − One of the most important things you can do to manage migraines is to maintain regular, balanced meals. Skipping meals or going too long without eating can trigger migraines in some people while eating too much can also be a trigger. To avoid these triggers, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day that balance complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. This can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent hunger headaches.

  • Don't consume trigger foods − Certain foods trigger migraines in some people, including chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, aged cheeses, processed meats, and MSG. If you suspect that certain foods are triggering your migraines, try keeping a food diary to track your symptoms and identify patterns. Once you've placed your trigger foods, avoid them or limit your consumption.

  • Stay hydrated − Dehydration can also trigger migraines, so staying hydrated throughout the day is important. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you. If you struggle to drink enough water, add flavorings like lemon or cucumber to make it more appealing.

  • Don't consume artificial sweeteners − Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose have been linked to migraines in some people. If you're prone to migraines, try to avoid products that contain artificial sweeteners, including diet sodas, sugar-free gum, and certain processed foods.

  • Do eat magnesium-rich foods − Magnesium is an important mineral that can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Foods high in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Consider taking a magnesium supplement if you need more magnesium from your diet.

  • Don't consume processed or fried foods − Processed and fried foods can be high in unhealthy fats and other additives that can trigger migraines.

  • Do limit your intake of tyramine-containing foods − Tyramine is a naturally occurring amino acid that can trigger migraines in some people. It includes fermented foods like sauerkraut, and soy sauce and certain fruits like bananas, figs, and avocados. If you're prone to migraines, try to limit your intake of these foods.

  • Don't consume excessive amounts of caffeine − While caffeine can help relieve migraines for some people, drinking excessive amounts can trigger migraines. If you're prone to migraines, try limiting your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg per day, roughly the dose in one cup of coffee.

  • Consider trying an elimination diet − If you need help to identify your trigger foods, consider trying an elimination diet. This involves removing all potential trigger foods from your diet for several weeks and then slowly reintroducing them one at a time to see if they trigger migraines. This can be a helpful way to identify specific trigger foods that you may not have realized were causing your migraines.


In conclusion, treating migraines requires a multifaceted strategy incorporating dietary modifications and lifestyle changes. By following these nine migraine diet dos and don'ts, you can help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraine attacks and improve your overall quality of life.

Remember, everyone's triggers and dietary needs are unique, so it's important to work with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to develop a personalized plan that works for you. With patience, persistence, and the right support, you can successfully manage your migraines and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable life.

FAQs Related to This Topic

Here are some frequently asked questions related to migraines −

Q. What are some common triggers for migraines?

A. Common triggers for migraines include hormonal changes, environmental factors (e.g., bright lights or strong smells), specific meals and beverages (e.g., chocolate, alcohol, or caffeine), stress, genetics, and certain medications.

Q. What are some treatment options for migraines?

A. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress-reduction techniques, can also effectively manage migraines. In some cases, complementary therapies like acupuncture or biofeedback may be recommended.

Q. Are there any natural remedies for migraines?

A. Some people find relief from migraines using natural remedies such as ginger, magnesium supplements, and essential oils. However, talking to your doctor before trying new treatments is important, as they may interact with other medications you are taking.

Q. Can migraines be prevented?

A. While migraines cannot be cured, certain lifestyle changes and preventive medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Your doctor can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and triggers.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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