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What Foods To Eat To Prevent Migraines

Smoked Or Processed Meats

FOODS I AVOID FOR MIGRAINES // My Dietary Restrictions & How I Figured Them Out

If you’re eating meats or vegan meats that are processed, they likely contain additives, such as nitrates and nitrites, which can dilate blood vessels and cause headaches in some people. Plus, these meats also have tyramine, says Rizzo, which might lead to the onset of head pain. You’re better off grilling or roasting a plain piece of unprocessed meat and pairing it with fresh veggies instead of pickled or fermented ones.

Does Caffeine Cause Or Treat Migraines

Caffeine can be confusing to people with migraines. On the one hand, people report caffeine to be a common migraine trigger, and daily drinkers of coffee are more likely to have chronic migraines than people who dont consume caffeine regularly.

On the other hand, caffeine has long been used in combination with aspirin and acetaminophen to effectively treat all kinds of headaches including migraines.

What experts believe is that it may not be the caffeine itself that triggers migraines, but rather the caffeine withdrawal. However, not all coffee drinkers will get withdrawal symptoms. So if you are a regular coffee drinker who also gets migraines, make sure you are consistent with when you drink your daily cup. And if you are looking to cut back on your caffeine consumption, try to do it gradually over the course of a week.

What You Eat May Make A Difference In How Often You Have Migraine Attacks

If you experience migraines, you know that they can be brought on by a variety of factors. These can include high stress levels, sleep disruptions, weather changes, and your diet, including what you eat and drink, and when.

Dietary triggers are some of the more common triggers reported by people with migraines, says Vincent Martin, MD, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute in Ohio and president of the National Headache Foundation . Part of the frustration of living with migraines can be trying to figure out what triggers them. You might have a glass of red wine one time and have a headache, another time, you dont, he says.

First, its good to understand how migraines differ from other types of headaches. According to , a headache specialist in the department of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, migraines are not just headaches but an issue of brain state, meaning senses like touch, sight, and smell are also affected during a migraine.

While scientists debate the exact cause of migraines, theres no doubt that environmental factors such as diet play a role in triggering them. To prevent migraines , try making these small adjustments to your diet.

Also Check: Why Does Caffeine Help Migraines

How Does Diet Affect Migraines

Migraines are personal. That means when it comes to diet and managing the pain, thereâs no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone.

The connection between diet and migraines is a complicated one, says Dr. Sara Crystal,, clinical neurologist and Cove Medical Director. Itâs not unusual for individuals to find particular foods more triggering than others, but the specific ingredients that cause or contribute to head pain are different for everyone. Thatâs why itâs important for individuals to monitor their personal eating habits and track their bodyâs reactions.

With that said, there are some general trends when it comes to whatâs typically safe .

How To Hold Off Migraines

Foods That Prevent Migraine Headaches

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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Studying Your Diet & Making Changes Could Help Reduce Migraine Attacks

When it comes to living with migraine, sometimes you are what you eat. Its not uncommon for migraine patients to notice that their symptoms correspond with certain food triggers, however, which foods or ingredients contribute to head pain varies widely from person to person. Some people report having more migraine attacks after eating processed foods or drinking alcohol, while others have more frequent head pain after fasting. Others dont have any food triggers at all. Still, examining your eating habits can help you maintain a balanced diet and identify patterns that could help reduce migraine attacks.

Establishing Healthy Habits

While not all people with migraine will find triggers in the foods they eat, everyone can benefit from making healthier choices. A diet of five or six small portions of fresh food throughout the day can prevent migraine attacks in a variety of ways. It can prevent hunger-based headaches, reduce the likelihood of eating multiple, potentially triggering chemicals or foods at once, and help avoid weight gain, another possible factor that may increase the frequency of migraine attacks. Once youve established healthy habits, youll have a neutral baseline to compare against foods you suspect may be triggering your migraine. Any observations you can make about how your diet relates to your migraine attacks can be useful in helping you understand and possibly reduce your symptoms.

Isolating and Identifying Triggers

When Multiple Triggers Overlap

Migraine Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid For Migraine Attacks

Written byDevon AndrePublished onJanuary 12, 2018

Migraine attacks can be very difficult to deal with, often leading sufferers to experience severe throbbing headaches as well as nausea, vomiting, and a sensitively to light and sound. However, what most people dont realize is that the food they eat can significantly influence the onset of these kinds of headaches.

Migraine diets are something many medical professionals will endorse when diagnosing a patient as a chronic migraine sufferer, as many studies have found links between migraines and food.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common foods that are part of a typical migraine diet plan, as they help prevent and even treat migraine attacks. Additionally, we will go over several foods to avoid, as some food may trigger migraines.

Also Check: How To Get A Migraine

Up Your Vitamin B2 Intake

Vitamin B2 may help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. Vitamin B2 has an important role in the body’s energy production, and research suggests that it could improve energy production in brain cells which is often impaired in people with migraine headaches. Furthermore, vitamin B2 may help increase the effectiveness of beta-blockers, a type of drug used to prevent migraines.

Foods That Prevent Headaches And Migraines

Foods to avoid in Migraine – Ms. Sushma Jaiswal

    More than 100 million people suffer from different types of chronic headaches, such as tension headaches caused by stress, sinus headaches caused by sinus infection, hunger headaches, cluster headaches sometimes caused by alcohol or smoking, migraines, etc.

    The migraine itself is usually described as a throbbing, very intense headache. Often there will be blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and the intense head pain. Migraines are typically progressive over time and can sometimes even advance to the point of mumbling speech and disorientation. Over-the-counter pain relievers will usually not even come close to touching the pain associated with migraine attacks. The conventional coping strategy is complete silence and darkness for the duration of the attack.

    Once a migraine sufferer realizes that the treatments offered by conventional healthcare providers usually will not help significantly, most begin to look for other alternatives. Not only are there effective holistic alternatives that can offer relief and control, there are also other ways to both prevent and survive migraine attacks.

    Here are a few alternatives that may offer some relief:

    Amethyst crystals amethyst has been found to lessen the pain to some extent and may make the migraine pain at least tolerable and less frequent.

    Feverfew taken daily over several months, many sufferers will have a dramatic decrease of migraine activity. Can also be taken preventatively.

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    How To Determine Your Food Triggers

    Similarly to how peoples bodies can respond differently to various medications, they often respond differently to foods as well. So while alcohol and nitrates may trigger migraines in many people, different types of foods may trigger migraines in other people.

    If you have certain food sensitivities, then eating those foods can also trigger migraines. The food intolerance isnt the cause of the migraine, but it can make the migraine worse, or bring it on.

    For some people, figuring out what foods if any trigger a migraine can be very obvious. For others, it might be trickier. The good news is that with a little determination and patience, you can get to the bottom of whether certain food triggers are a feature of your migraines or not.

    The most common way of doing this is to keep a food and symptom diary. This involves carefully tracking factors that may have been at play when a migraine hit. When you feel it coming on, try logging what you ate or drank, how much sleep you got, if you were on your menstrual cycle, and how often you were eating in the days leading up to it. This is detective work: Recording everything in as much detail as possible will help you determine potential associations and culprits. The longer you keep a food and symptom diary, the more likely you are to get the answers you seek.

    The downside of this method is that it can be tedious, and it may take several months to notice a pattern, especially if your migraines are not very frequent.

  • Caffeine

  • Quick And Easy Migraine Diet Tips To Reduce Pain

    A migraine can be an intense event that can ruin a whole day or even a week. It can be a chronic condition that you have to manage for most of your life, too. Throbbing pain in the head is the classic symptom of this disorder, but it is also known to be accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. So it is easy to assume that if you do get migraines, you want to make sure you minimize them as much as possible. A migraine diet can help.

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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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    Bread Grains And Cereals

    Struggling with Migraines? Try the Plant
    • most cereals, except for those containing nuts, dried fruits, or aspartame
    • plain or sesame seed bagels
    • quick bread, such as pumpernickel or zucchini bread
    • most plain pretzels and potato chips
    • unflavored crackers, such as saltines or Club crackers
    • white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread from a store

    Foods to avoid:

    • flavored crackers, such as cheddar cheese crackers
    • fresh bread that is homemade or from a grocers bakery
    • pizza, as it is also a fresh bread
    • highly flavored or seasoned chips
    • soft pretzels
    • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, MSG, and artificial sweeteners
    • smoked fish
    • yeast extract

    Not eating anything at all can also lead to an increased incidence of migraines. For some people, prolonged hunger and not eating enough are known headache triggers. This may be due to a link between low blood sugar levels and worsening migraine headaches.

    Also Check: Vestibular Migraine Mayo

    Eat More Healthy Fats

    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.

    How Do I Determine Which Foods And Drinks Are My Headache Triggers

    One common suggestion for figuring out your own personal headache triggers is to track the foods and drinks you consume in a daily food headache diary. You may consider yourself to be sensitive to a certain food or drink if you get a headache consistently 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating that certain food.

    However, keep in mind that even though it sounds simple to track what you eat to try to figure out what foods and beverages might trigger your headache, its not this simple.

    Problems with food headache trackers

    Is it truly the food or drink that is causing your headache or is it one of the many ingredients or chemicals in these foods? Foods consist of many ingredients that contain many chemicals. Chemicals include nitrates/nitrites, phenylethylamine, sulfites, tannins, tyramine, salicylates, aspartate, added sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, glutamate and capsaicin to name a few.

    Even beyond consumed foods, drinks and ingredients/chemicals are other factors that must be considered that may complicate identifying the true trigger of your headache. These factors include:

    Recommended Reading: Migraine Fever Chills

    Dont: Go Overboard With Caffeine

    Caffeine, which is found in tea, coffee, and soda, has a delicate relationship with migraines. Because it contains pain-relieving properties, caffeine can actually help people who are in the midst of a migraine attack in fact, its a common ingredient in headache relief medication. In small amounts, regular caffeine consumption probably wont hurt. For most people with migraines, 1 cup of caffeine a day is fine, unless their headaches are really extreme, says Martin. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine.

    People who consume too much caffeine can build up a tolerance that increases their risk of experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms when they stop consuming it, including anxiety and headache. Caffeine withdrawal headaches may start as early as 12 to 24 hours after the last dose of caffeine and peak 20 to 51 hours later and may last for up to nine days, notes VanderPluym.

    To be on the safe side, try limiting your caffeine intake , unless you find that even a small amount triggers a migraine for you.

    Vegetarian Heal Your Headache Migraine Diet Tips

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

    Everyday Im more surprised at the lengths some people are willing to go to for their chronic illness. For me, it seemed like starting a migraine diet and giving up some of my favorite foods was the worst thing ever. Then I realized I would have given my right arm to go one day without that constant, floaty dizziness. Im so impressed when vegetarians and vegans decide to give this diet a try. Its not impossible if you are willing to get creative with some of your food choices.

    Mandy Behe, has been doing the Heal Your Headache diet as a vegetarian for 8 months now. She helped me out with a few ideas for those that might be thinking about starting this journey, but feel limited. It was wonderful to know that I can still get a lot of protein from vegetarian sources. I hope youll enjoy her article about her typical meals on a vegetarian migraine diet. I’ll be following up with a 5 day vegetarian HYH meal plan similar to this one after Thanksgiving.

    Image from Gemma Correll

    Can a vegetarian succeed on the HYH diet? Absolutely. Ive been doing it for 8 months and it just keeps getting better. Diagnosed with chronic intractable migraine without aura in 1998, over 20 years, Ive tried multiple treatments/medications that have never worked. Unlike Alicia, I was well aware of what my diagnosis meant. My father is a migraineur so I had seen the debilitating condition first hand throughout my entire childhood.

    Some of my favorite recipes:

    • kosher salt and pepper to taste

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    These Are The Best And Worst Foods To Eat If You Have A Migraine

    Turns out, there are some foods that trigger migraines and some that can actually relieve that pounding sensation in your head.

    You’re out and about on a beautiful sunny afternoon and all of a sudden you’re hit with a migraine. It’s the worst, right? And unfortunately, migraines are incredibly common and can be really, really painful for some people.

    What causes them? Probably not the answer you’re looking for, but the cause is actually unknown. “Some believe migraines occur from hormonal shifts, specifically a drop in estrogen during menstruation,” says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D. Two triggers that definitely can lead to a migraine are poor diet and stress, she explains. And even though causes might be based on the individual , there are specific foods and drinks that universally can be either beneficial or detrimental to migraine sufferers.

    Not sure which foods to nosh on or to avoid when your head is pounding? Here’s a handy guide.


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