List of Foods That Triggers Migraine – Liwo Health

List of Foods That Triggers Migraine

List of Foods That Triggers Migraine

What is Migraine and how does it feel?

Migraine has now been identified as a neurological disorder that is associated with causing throbbing pain, nausea, numbness, tiredness, visual disturbances, irritability, difficulty speaking, temporary loss of vision, and many more.

According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), an approximate ten percent of the global percentage and about twelve percentage of Americans have this disorder.

In this article, we will explore in detail the foods that can possibly trigger migraine and the diets associated with migraine.

Foods that cause or trigger Migraine

It is to be noted that not every migraine is tied to a trigger, be it food or something else. However, if yours is tied to one the best way to prevent them is to learn about them in detail and take all the measures to avoid such triggers.

Foods to avoid and watch out for Migraine include:

  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Cultured dairy products like kefir and yogurt
  • Baked goods with yeast
  • Nuts
  • Nut butter
  • Olives
  • Soy products
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetables like onion, pea pods, some beans, corn, etc.
  • Vinegar
  • Avoid additives like MSG, nitrites, nitrates, Aspartame
  • Beverages like caffeine, alcohol

Eating habits to watch out to avoid the trigger for migraine

It's not just the food that you eat that could trigger your migraine headache but also the way and eating habits contribute a role in the trigger.

You may get a headache if you:

  • Don’t eat enough
  • Don’t drink enough water
  • Skip meals


Choose Better Foods For Migraine control

  • Eat wholesome food,fresh food like fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Avoid packaged and processed food as much as possible.
  • Eat more “Mini Meals”- Instead of going for three large meals, go for five to six mini meals to avoid being hungry and triggering a migraine.
  • Drink plenty of water- You may get a headache if you don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated. Sip at least eight glasses of water every single day to avoid migraine headaches.
  • Maintain a Food journal:Take a note of the foods that you eat and maintain a track of your diet in the journal. You can keep track of the foods that promote triggers for headaches.


Dieting And Headaches Association

There are many obvious advantages to maintaining a healthy body weight however there are many research studies indicative of the fact that weight loss efforts can have an adverse effect on your migraine attacks.

Research shows that there is an association between BMI (Body Mass Index) and migraine prevalence, severity, and frequency.

If you have migraine and weight not in accordance with your BMI, committing to a weight loss plan can help you manage your migraine and prevent them from getting worse.

Maintaining healthy body weight is not an easy task, especially when you are dealing with a disease that robs you of time and energy. However, it is especially important for those with episodic migraine to keep their BMI in check and in a healthy range because obesity is one of the risk factors for chronic migraine.

Losing weight can be an even more daunting task for those people who get migraines because putting certain weight loss efforts, like some diets, supplements, and exercises can actually trigger migraine attacks, compelling us to toss our efforts out of the window and completely lose the game.

However, luckily, there are many healthy weight loss methods available in the periphery that will produce results and health without triggering migraines to an extent it is unrecoverable.

Weight loss tactics that can trigger a migraine attack

When it comes to weight loss slow and steady is best. A focus on whole foods instead of fad diets will keep your mind fresh and head happy.

Migraine triggers can be internal or external stimuli that can cause a migraine attack or a severe headache.

Common migraine triggers can include:

  • food
  • strenuous exercise
  • Hormones
  • Weather
  • Stress
  • Lifestyle

Different people respond to different triggers just as each person experiences migraine differently, Let’s take a close look at some of the common triggers that can prevent migraine relief and ruin weight loss plans.


The first step to identifying your own triggers is learning about them. Avoiding your migraine triggers and maintaining a healthy body weight will help keep the pain on the side and you at peace.

1. Artificial sweeteners and diet sodas

you are not alone if you have experienced migraine pains after consuming foods and drinks that are artificially sweetened with Aspartame, while it might apparently seem like a good idea to replace natural sugar in your diet with Aspartame-containing sweeteners to cut your calorie intake, they can potentially induce migraine and at times more severe than consuming regular processed natural sugar.

Today more and more foods contain these artificial sweeteners, like sodas, chewing gums, sugar-free cookies, and iced teas. Reading food labels carefully and avoiding food triggers can help you manage your migraines well.

You can instead try: Look for other natural, Aspartame-free options like Stevia for better overall health and fewer migraines. Natural sugars like maple syrup and honey are also good choices, but should only be taken in a small serving.

2. Irregular meals Intake

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is quite a common migraine trigger. Skipping your meals to lose weight is neither a migraine-friendly tactic nor a healthy one.

The brain is reactive to rapid changes in blood sugar or to blood sugar that is too low with a headache or migraine.

Avoid restricting calories by too much too early. If you are restricting carbohydrates, do it slowly or replace simple carbohydrates with whole-grain options.

You can instead try: Eating several servings of small, protein-rich meals a day that will keep your blood sugar steady and normal. Steady blood sugar implies fewer migraine attacks and less temptation to overindulge.

Avoid eating large amounts of sugars and carbohydrates, as they can cause your blood sugar to rapidly spike and then decline.

Carrying healthy snacks like almonds or hummus is a good way to prevent your blood sugar from getting too low and potentially triggering a migraine attack.

Try to eat whole foods prepared at home itself. Avoid the middle aisles of the supermarket where the processed food is found that appears to be fancy but is disastrous.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine intake occasionally can improve migraine attacks, as it works as a pain reliever and helps in better absorption of painkillers. However, different people can react differently to caffeine.

Too much caffeine can also lead to addiction, and sudden unavailability can cause a “withdrawal headache” in some patients with migraine. Some people are sensitive to caffeine and can suffer from caffeine-induced migraine, and yet there are others who use caffeine to stop or prevent a migraine when it is beginning.

You can instead try: Take a note of how you respond to caffeine, and avoid it if it gives you a migraine attack. If you do drink caffeine, try to drink the same amount each day and at the same time possible to avoid a rebound headache.

Homemade soda,  Herbal teas, and flavored water are excellent, caffeine-free beverage choices for weight loss and trigger avoidance.

4. Weight loss supplements and Fad diets

From intermittent fasting to the cabbage soup diet, most fad diets involve cutting calories by A LOT. This rapid reduction often triggers migraine attacks and at times very severely.

Some fad diets eliminate whole groups of foods that are sources of essential nutrients, and low carbohydrate diets can cause headaches and constipation.

Some weight loss supplements like forskolin have also been known to cause headaches as per certain reports and research papers.

You can instead try: Have a well-rounded diet that covers all the essential nutrients. Exercise regularly if you can, but begin slowly. Weight loss will happen when you consume fewer calories than your body can burn.

If you are restricting calories, do that slowly and try to make smart substitutions rather than cutting foods or meals altogether.

5. Overly vigorous exercises

Take a note of how your body reacts to your new exercise program, if you notice that your migraine attacks increase after you start a new exercise regime, chances are that you are experiencing exercise-induced migraine.

According to a study, a whopping 38 percent of people have experienced migraine after initiating a new exercise program

While it is difficult to point out a single reason for these pains, the possible reason is they could be caused by changes in blood pressure during exercise.

Certain vigorous sports like weightlifting, rowing, running, and football are the common triggers for inducing migraine.

You can instead try: Consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise regime in your routine and start slowly. Low-intensity exercises like yoga, walking, tai chi, swimming, and biking can help you move your body and let you lose weight without triggering a migraine attack.

The Bottom Line

Migraine is definitely a neurological disorder that comes up with multiple challenges of its own and managing this disorder needs quite a skill to go through the ups and downs of this disorder.

In this article, we saw how certain foods can cause trigger a migraine attack. Not only the food that you eat but also the way you eat matters greatly for migraine pain to initiate.

Migraine can also be referred to as a lifestyle disease since not being attentive to how you eat, sleep, and work can cause a lot of trouble and add a burden to your health and well-being.

There are many reports that suggest a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading factors for the prevalence of migraine. On the globe, we find that this disorder is almost present in all the parts however it is dominated by the west due to the very fact that we mentioned above and that is the sedentary lifestyle of the people.

Now since we know the major triggers for this disorder to initiate in the first place we can take certain measures to avoid or at least minimize the pain and its severity.

A quick recap of how we can prevent and minimize this neurological disorder goes like this in sequence:

  • Healthy and right eating
  • Mini-meals
  • Staying super hydrated
  • Regular exercise- slow and steady
  • Maintaining Diet Journal- to track the diet response
  • Yoga and other healthy exercises
  • Avoiding caffeine or consuming in modulation
  • Proper good night's sleep
  • Avoiding sedentary lifestyle
  • Avoid chemicals that are sensitive.
  • Avoiding stress and stressful situations
  • Consulting doctor at regular interval
  • Keeping track of your pain and headache
  • Avoiding vigorous exercises
  • Opting weight loss plan carefully
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol and other unhealthy beverages

If a migraine patient takes a careful note of the above-mentioned do’s and don’ts it won't be much difficult for him or her to manage this neurological disorder. However, the challenging aspect of migraine is not adhering to the guidelines provided by the doctors or the consultants since the majority of the instructions are related to general lifestyle rules and regulations, and in today’s era of processed and packaged food, information overload through social media and the stressful lifestyle makes it all challenging for the patient to cope up with the challenges associated and linked with this particular disorder.

However, if one is disciplined and committed enough to a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and mindful living it all becomes easy to manage such a disorder with ease. Being very careful and optimistic with health and diet plan are key factors in managing the triggers associated with migraine. Migraine patients can also turn up to ayurvedic treatment and therapies to structure their disorder and heal it permanently. An ayurvedic medicine system is a holistic approach to treating the disease and it offers solutions based on mind-body and soul coordination and not merely the symptoms as is mostly done in the allopathic system of medicine. So, one can research the ayurvedic system as well for the healing of the migraine by treating their doshas of Vata, pitta, and Kapha.

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