Control Your Migraine Through What You Eat Foods To Avoid vs Consume

Edited by Msanzo, Alma, Eng, VC

Some of our favorite foods have varying effects on our different bodies. Not only might these foods make you feel bloated, heavy, or gluttonous, they might also cause migraines. These migraines feel like the absolute worst - a piercing headache that just drags you down, making you feel as though you can't even move. Due to the fact that everyone's body reacts differently to certain ingredients, it is usually not easy to break down just what exactly causes migraines. Causes for migraines range from the length between meals all the way to the deficiencies in an individual's body. Luckily, there are quite a few different theories regarding migraines and how to avoid them.

Method 1: Foods To Avoid


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Coffee offers that everyday kick that helps the vast majority of the population start off their day. While it is helpful in keeping us awake, drinking too much can also have adverse effects. One might often find that they drink an above-average amount of coffee per day and then feel an intense migraine when trying to function without it during the next morning. This is usually due to your body going into withdrawal. It is completely normal to have a cup of coffee every day - some find that they drink coffee to relieve migraines. In fact, there are some benefits to coffee as well, such as potentially delaying the onset effects of Alzheimer's. Of course, though, too much will have a negative effect on your body as well. If you find that you need caffeine but don't wish to overdo it, a great alternative is tea, which usually contains nearly half as much caffeine.

Monosodium glutamate MSG

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The local Chinese restaurant around the corner from you probably cooks up the greatest chicken fried rice, but with that also comes the ingredients for a migraine. This common seasoning is used to enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes. As an additive, it takes the food up a couple of notches on the taste scale - which might explain why it's hard to stay away. Many other symptoms also come with these migraines, such as pressure in the chest, soreness in areas of the face, heartburn, indigestion, and much more. It's also important to keep in mind that MSG may also contribute to issues with blood pressure due to the amounts of sodium that it contains. The effects of having high blood pressure can be detrimental to those with heart conditions and diabetes as well. Luckily for patrons, you can ask for the food to be prepared without MSG


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A glass of red wine with dinner always goes hand in hand. Alcohol is a sign of adult life and is typically found at every event, party, dinner, and even at your friend's house while you watch the hockey game. Knowing your limit and drinking responsibly when it comes to alcohol consumption is crucial in every facet. Do you ever recall feeling that pounding headache the morning after you've gone out and had a few too many glasses of wine? This is because of the dehydration caused by the alcohol, which partly explains why you may find yourself waking up during the night to fetch a large glass of water. The best way to avoid this intense migraine is to drink water with every alcoholic beverage.

Aged Cheese

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The understanding that aged cheese is better for you in comparison to creamier ones typically tends to be correct. One of the few downfalls to eating aged cheeses such as gouda, parmesan, blue cheese and so forth, is that they are linked to causing migraines. Tyramine, a property found in certain foods that ferment over time is often at fault for triggering migraines. It is an amino acid that causes a decrease in serotonin levels. This element is also found in wine and other alcohol that causes migraines as well.

Ice Cream

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A common myth to migraines is that ice cream tends to cause piercing headaches due to the creaminess and large amounts of sugar. Oddly enough, the pain comes from the coldness of the ice cream rather than the food itself. Cold foods often trigger migraines, especially to those who are more sensitive. This is similar to drinking a very cold drink on a hot summer day. The way to get around it is to indulge slowly, as tempting as it may be at certain times.

Processed Foods

Another common theory is that processed foods and cured meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and many lunch meats, all contain nitrates that interact with our blood vessels and can often cause headaches for some people. A plausible mode of thinking for this theory is also due to these processed foods typically contain many ingredients and means of preparation that are harmful to our bodies. The culprit called tyramine that is found in aged foods is also found in processed meats, which may be another explanation as to the triggering migraines.

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Chocolate has often been labeled as a caused for migraines. There are many factors to this, though. One of the ideas painting chocolate as a concern is because often when eating it, migraines are soon to follow. There are flaws with this reasoning too. For one, it doesn't say exactly how much chocolate was involved. Many times people will eat larger amounts of chocolate and feel a migraine after, but it might be due to the amounts of sugar with it. Also, consider the idea that people will reach for chocolate when they are feeling sluggish and hungry, often because of not eating for a while and therefore on the road to a migraine already. Therefore, possibly eating a smaller amount might squash this idea. Another reason that chocolate is linked with migraines is because it sometimes follows women who are going through hormonal stints and often link it with stress. Usually, during these times, the migraines are already well on their way.

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Keep In Mind

If serious migraines persist, it is best to see a doctor or physician. While there are pharmaceutical alternatives to relieving headaches and pains, this article is intended to help find natural solutions through:

  • Drinking tea rather than coffee
  • Substituting additives from your food
  • Consuming proper amounts
  • Eating and drinking in moderation

Method 2: Foods To Consume

In addition to foods that you should be avoiding, there are also a plethora of ways to battle off that grueling migraine that has been driving you crazy all day. While many of these foods or ingredients can be used to fight migraines, they are also seen as healthier alternatives to add to your diet overall. As tempting as it may be to just curl up in a ball and close the lights, many times the real issue is with what you are filling yourself up with. For good measure, the key is to fill your body with natural foods that will give you good amounts of energy. Think of your body as a car - the better you take care of it and fill it with the proper oils, the longer and more smooth it will run.


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As a great replacement for coffee, tea offers a better option for caffeine. Seeing as too much caffeine can be harmful, tea still gives that energetic kick that you might need while still preventing your body to go into withdrawal from too much caffeine. Green tea in itself has some great health benefits as well:

  • Helps to prevent heart disease and stroke
  • Preventative against different cancers
  • Battles against mental declination
  • Lowers cholesterol

Flax Seeds

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These little seeds may not be too frequent in your diet, but it's something that should be considered. These flax seeds are rich in Omega-3s that reduce inflammation and fight to relieve headaches. They can be found in forms such as whole seeds, grounded up, or in oils.


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Salads are not only a great healthy alternative but can also help reduce migraines. They typically contain water content from the leaves, as well as a good amount of fiber - all things that your body needs. For best results, salads containing spinach and arugula are more valuable health-wise. Salads are great because you can have fun with it and dress them up and even throw other healthy toppings on it, such as flax seeds and an array of fruits or vegetables.

Whole Grain Bread

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The unprocessed grains found in brown bread are considered to be more healthy than those found in white bread and are often known to help fight against migraines. Due to this, the brown bread's carbohydrates help to give your body a better source of energy. These types of bread tend to contain many different types of grains and seeds that are great for your health. For example, many types of bread have flax seeds and whole grains on them, all in which are known to battle against flax seeds.


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Dairy is seen as a good way to combat migraines because of the source of calcium it contains. Calcium is seen as such an essential element to our bodies, and low levels can cause painful migraines. Having a snack like a yogurt may be one of the better options because they may include different types of probiotics in them and also are made for those who are health-conscious. Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, can be a great snack because you can also include some fruits, berries, and even granola to add some more healthy options and flavor as well.

Filling Your Body Regularly

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When you are midway through your morning and feel sluggish and a tad cranky it's not only because you are likely tired, it is mainly due to your body reeling from not having any fuel for a while. Many people find that they feel tired or get migraines when they don't eat or drink consistently or frequently enough. For example, certain religious practices require fasting. Commonly, when you do not eat for a while, it is natural to feel a headache. A good way to avoid this issue is not to have three large meals per day but rather five or six smaller ones to keep the body energized. Including healthy proteins in your meals are beneficial to keeping you feel full longer as well. Doing so may lead to having a better metabolism and can also help battle gaining weight. Another effect to consider is for those who may be hypoglycemic - having low blood sugar levels that may result in migraines and similar effects. By not having a sufficient enough intake of energy, along with not eating frequently, you may start to feel the consequences of being hypoglycemic.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Eng, Alma, Msanzo

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