Texas Allergy Experts

Diet / headache / migraine

Healthy Diet.One study indicates that a diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates may significantly reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine headaches. Such a diet is healthy in general in any case.

Eating Regularly. Eating regularly is important to prevent low blood sugar. People with migraines who fast periodically for religious reasons might consider taking preventive medications.

Avoiding Food Triggers. Avoiding foods that trigger migraine is important in people who are susceptible to these triggers. Keeping a headache diary that tracks diet and headache onset can help identify them.

Foods That May Trigger Migraines

Foods and Additives

Responsible Chemical

Beers, wines, certain liquors, cheese and cheese-food products, fresh and processed meat (e.g., hotdogs, seafood products, peas, pickles, olives, and sauerkraut).

Tyramine and phenylethylamine. (These chemicals tend to become more potent in foods that are stored improperly.)

Apple juice, coffee, red wine, and tea.

Tannin. Caffeine withdrawal (coffee, tea).

Preservatives in wines, dried fruits, and other products.


A common seasoning, most notably found in food prepared by Chinese restaurants but also contained in many commercial products.

Monosodium glutamate.


Amines. Of note: some research suggests that chocolate may not trigger headaches. Instead, a craving for sweets often precedes a headache and so each chocolate may be perceived as a trigger.


Fish Oil. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory and nerve protecting actions. These fatty acids can be found in oil fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or sardine. They can also be obtained in supplements of specific omega-3 compounds (DHA-EPA).

Smelling Pleasurable Foods.One interesting study suggested that smelling certain pleasurable foods may reduce migraine pain. (The study used green apples as part of the experiment; patients with headaches who liked the smell of green apples had less pain. The scent had no effect on those who didn't like the fruit.)

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).There is reasonable evidence on the benefits of vitamin B2 for migraine sufferers. In one study, patients who took 400 mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) reduced their migraine attacks by half, although the vitamin had no effect on the severity or duration of migraines that did occur. In another study, it helped increase the effectiveness of beta-blockers, drugs used to prevent migraines in some people. Vitamin B2 is generally safe, although some people taking high doses develop diarrhea