Nutrition Articles

Common Foods that Can Trigger Migraines

How Your Diet Can Cause a Headache

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Most often you will be able to identify the type of foods or categories of foods that trigger your migraines, as well as those foods that do not impact your migraine condition. Working with a registered dietitian can help with food identification, label reading skills, dining out strategies and appropriate food substitutions for meal preparation while assuring that your nutritional needs are met. 
 
Be Smart about Nutritional Supplements for Migraines
Talk to your health-care provider to discover if any nutritional or dietary supplements would be appropriate to include in your treatment plan.  Such treatment options should only be used under the guidance of the physician managing your care. 
  • The herbal supplements feverfew and butterbur may prevent the frequency of migraines and reduce the severity of the headache. 
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) used in high dosage may prevent migraines.
  • Coenzyme Q10 may decrease the frequency of the migraine but has not been shown to decrease the severity of the headache. 
  • Magnesium supplements may help in some people with low magnesium levels but the research is inconclusive.  
Migraine Warning: Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the following signs and symptoms that can indicate a more serious medical condition. 
  • The onset of a new, undiagnosed headache pain
  • An abrupt and severe headache
  • Headache with a fever, stiff neck, rash, mental confusion, seizure, double vision, numbness or trouble speaking
  • Headache following a head injury
 
Sources

Camboim Rockett F, Castro K, Rossoni de Oliveira V, da Silveira Perla A, Fagundes Chaves ML,Schweigert Perry ID. "Perceived migraine triggers: do dietary factors play a role?" Nutr Hosp. 2012 Mar-Apr;27(2):483-9.

Evans RW, Taylor FR. "'Natural' or alternative medications for migraine prevention." Headache. 2006 Jun;46(6):1012-8.
 
Gilmore B, Michael M. "Treatment of acute migraine headache." Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 1;83(3):271-80.
 
Peatfield RC, Glover V, Littlewood JT, Sandler M, Clifford Rose F. "The prevalence of diet-induced migraine." Cephalalgia. 1984 Sep;4(3):179-83.

Rockett FC, de Oliveira VR, Castro K, Chaves ML, Perla Ada S, Perry ID. "Dietary aspects of migraine trigger factors." Nutr Rev. 2012 Jun;70(6):337-56.

Sun-Edelstein C, Mauskop A. "Foods and supplements in the management of migraine headaches." Clin J Pain. 2009 Jun;25(5):446-52.

Yee AJ. "Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis." Neurology.
1999 Jan15; 52(2):431-2.

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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

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