5 Foods that Could Trigger a Migraine


What you eat affects your entire body. Studies have shown over and over that your entire body system is affected by what you fuel it with. Remembering that food is meant to be fuel can help you to make better choices when you plan your meals. Learning which foods trigger your migraines can help you to avoid them so that you don’t have to deal with them. The most difficult thing about food triggers is that not every trigger effect everyone. Some foods bring the worst symptoms.  

If you aren’t sure which foods trigger your migraines and which foods help your migraine, start off by creating a food journal. Write down what you eat, when you eat it, and when you have migraine symptoms. You will be able to recognize which foods you need to avoid rather quickly that way.  

Now we are going to look at the five most common foods that seem to cause a migraine for most people. These are foods that we come across everyday and might not even realize they are the reason we are suffering.  

  1. Caffeine  

This is the most controversial of most of the foods on the list. Almost everyone will get up and have a cup of coffee in the morning. The thing about caffeine is that some people swear that it relieves migraines. Most migraine medications will have some sort of caffeine in it. If you can catch your migraine at the very onset and get some coffee, it can be a relief. However, during a flare-up, taking caffeine can make the migraine last longer and be more intense. Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, soda, and even some candies. The best way to avoid it altogether is to read labels. However, caffeine addiction is a real thing. Therefore, if you don’t have any and you usually do, you will end up with a headache due to caffeine withdraw. There probably are few things as confusing as this is.  

2. Pickled Foods 

Tyramine is found in most pickled or fermented foods. Tyramine is a known trigger for migraines. Almost all migraine suffers say that they are affected by it in some way. This is one of those times with intensity and duration varies by the person. Some foods with tyramine include pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, some olives, and canned pickled okra. Tyramine is not always listed on labels. You should just be cautious when you are eating anything that says pickled or fermented on the label.   

3. Chocolate 

Did you know that chocolate is the number two trigger among migraine suffers? The research isn’t clear as to why. Perhaps it is the caffeine that occurs naturally in chocolate. It could be the process that chocolate goes through. 22% of all migraine suffers say that chocolate causes a migraine within half an hour. Milk chocolate is the worst. Dark chocolate has some health benefits and is less of a trigger than both milk chocolate and white chocolate. Therefore if you are going to get some, go for the dark chocolate first.  

4. Artificial Sweeteners 

Diabetics know that artificial sweeteners can be hard to avoid. They are in diet drinks, candies, and even some foods. The thing about these sweeteners is that they are almost pure processed chemicals. This can cause health problems, one of which can cause some serious headaches. Try cutting them out of your diet and seeing if you feel any better. You can attempt to substitute them with natural sweeteners like honey or stevia. Pure cane sugar is okay in moderation. Just remember that anything can be bad for you if you have too much of it.  

5. Alcohol  

The number one cause of migraines is alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration. That dehydration causes migraines. Red wine and beer also contribute to migraines more than liquor. Migraine warriors say that even one glass of red wine contributed to the onset of their migraines. If you can’t abstain completely, try offsetting the dehydration by drinking a glass of water before and after each glass of wine.  

Not all foods are bad.  

It is true that some foods do cause migraines, but there are some foods that have the opposite effect. Some foods help ease migraines or prevent them altogether.  

Yellow, green, or orange vegetables are known for their health benefits. Summer squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all recommended at the start of a migraine. They may prevent the migraine or lessen its intensity altogether.  

Rice, especially brown rice, can help with the intensity of a migraine. It is a whole grain. That whole grain is known to be an anti-inflammatory. An anti-inflammatory can help your body to combat the toxins that are in other foods. One cooked cup a day can benefit your body in many ways besides lessening your migraine.  

Water is your best friend. Since dehydration is a leading cause of migraines it only makes sense that drinking water would combat migraines. The suggested about water is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces in water every single day. You will feel better, have more energy, and suffer from fewer migraines just by increasing your water intake.  

It is our hope that this article has helped you to find relief from your migraines. Remember to keep track of what you eat, drink, and when your migraines are. You might be surprised at how easy it is to find food triggers. There are other triggers as well, like environment and stress, but what you eat is much easier to control. You know that old saying “you are what you eat”? Well, it tends to ring true in the case of migraines. Just like you keep track of your triggers, make sure you keep track of what brings you relief too. Soon your eating habits will become second nature and you won’t even notice.  

There is no reason why migraine pain has to control your life. Your foods are the first step of living migraine free.