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.
Regularly. Eating regularly is
important to prevent low blood sugar. People with migraines who fast
periodically for religious reasons might consider taking preventive
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
Foods That May Trigger Migraines
Foods and Additives
Beers, wines, certain liquors, cheese and cheese-food products, fresh and
processed meat (e.g., hotdogs, seafood products, peas, pickles, olives, and
Tyramine and phenylethylamine. (These chemicals tend to become more potent in
foods that are stored improperly.)
Apple juice, coffee, red wine, and
Tannin. Caffeine withdrawal (coffee,
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.
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
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).
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.)
(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.