Migraine Dietary Modification

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


Migraines are a neurological disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and odors.

Migraine may be triggered by certain foods, lack of sleep, stress, or hormonal changes. It can also be caused by environmental factors such as air pollution or weather changes.

Migraine has certain stages. The prodrome phase is a pre-headache phase that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It often includes,

  • Mood changes
  • Hunger and cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Yawning.

The aura phase is the visual disturbance that can happen during a headache and typically lasts 10 to 20 minutes.

Aura symptoms

  • Hypersensitivity to Sound
  • Hypersensitivity to Smell
  • Light Hypersensitivity

There are many misconceptions about these two phases, and it’s important for people to understand what triggers these phases before trying on prescribed medications.

Migraine and Diet

A migraine is a type of headache that causes severe pain on one side of the head. It can last from 4 to 72 hours.

In some cases, it can be very severe and last for days or even weeks.

The exact cause of migraines is not known, but there are many factors that may contribute to them.

One of the factors that is closely related to migraine is the food that we consume daily.

A migraine is a debilitating headache disorder. But yet foods have a significant role in triggering migraines. Some people with migraines say that certain foods can trigger their headaches. And some people don’t seem to be affected by any food at all.

There are different ways of treating migraine, but diet plays a huge role in triggering headache symptoms.

Hunger vs. Migraine

The first thing to know about hunger is that it is a symptom, not an illness.

It is commonly associated with migraines because of the close connection between low blood sugar levels and migraines.

As a result, migraine sufferers are advised to eat 5-6 small meals per day.so they can keep their blood sugar levels normal.

It will help the individual to keep a good weight and energy level.

Hunger is a craving that appears in the prodromal phase. Thus, hunger feelings abated by eating frequent meals will help to reduce the triggers of migraine.

Skipping meals may trigger a migraine attack in those who are vulnerable to this type of headache.

The Connection Between Food and Migraine

Migraine headaches are not just caused by stress or other environmental factors; they can also be triggered by certain foods and drinks.

In addition to those triggers, some people are sensitive to specific smells or chemicals in their environment.

For these individuals, even small amounts of these substances can trigger a migraine attack.

The most common foods triggered by migraines include

  • aged cheeses : those containing tyramine can induce
  • cured meats such as pepperoni and salami; they contain nitrates.
  • chocolate: beta-phenylalanine in chocolate can induce migraines.
  • citrus fruits
  • cheese containing nitrates (such as hot dogs)
  • aged nuts (such as peanuts)
  • alcohol-containing beverages (such as beer or wine)
  • pickled or fermented food: Certain probiotics can trigger headaches.

Food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) have been found to trigger migraines.

Some researchers have claimed that it is not the compounds in the food that might trigger an attack, but the altered levels of electrolytes and other minerals that may trigger a migraine attack.

So they would suggest the following dietary adjustments in meals for migraineurs:

  • Diet low in sodium
  • Low sugar levels
  • A low-fat diet
  • Gluten-free meals for celiac disease
  • The ketogenic diet
  • Reducing fast and processed foods

Foods that are Beneficial to Migraine sufferers

Magnesium-rich Foods

The best types of foods to eat when you have migraines are those rich in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, avocados, leafy greens, and bananas.

Magnesium can relax muscles and relieve migraine pain.

Omega 3 fatty foods

Omega 3 fatty acid People with migraines should choose foods like lean fish, olive oil, and spinach.

It has anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce inflammation in migraine.


Caffeine can cause headaches when too much of it builds up in the body. The headaches are called caffeine migraines or caffeine-induced headaches.

It is a natural stimulant and relaxes muscles when drunk in low doses; 65 mg in the Migraine Cocktail.

It is a vasoconstrictor too. This will help reduce blood flow to the brain and reduce migraines.

But it is a migraine trigger in high doses.

Supplements for Migraine Prevention

Supplements for migraine prevention include

  • Magnesium supplements

Magnesium is a mineral that is needed in small amounts by the body for good health.

It is found in many foods and drinks, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and bananas.

Magnesium has been shown to be helpful in preventing migraines. It can also help with muscle aches and neck pains.

Feverfew Herb Supplements

Feverfew is an herb that has been used for centuries to help with migraines and headaches.

It is believed that the feverfew plant contains chemicals that act as natural anti-inflammatories, which can reduce inflammation in the brain and head.


Butterbur is a herb that has been used for centuries to treat many disorders. One of the most popular uses is migraine prevention.

It contains a chemical called petasin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain and prevent migraines from occurring.

Butterbur also contains chemicals called sesquiterpenoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with pain relief.

Butterbur is not for everyone, though. If you are allergic to herbs, you should not take butterbur because it could cause an allergic reaction.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a water-soluble vitamin and a member of the vitamin B complex.

It is involved in the production of energy from fats and carbohydrates.

Vitamin B2 has a long history of being used to help prevent migraine headaches. It can increase the pain threshold of nerves.

Thus, riboflavin may help to reduce pain and symptoms associated with migraines, including nausea, sensitivity to light, and pain relief.

Vitamin B2 is rich in eggs, nuts, and fresh milk.

Co Enzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient that is necessary for the production of energy in cells. It also helps to maintain healthy blood vessels, the heart and muscles.

In recent years, CoQ10 has been found to be effective in preventing migraines.

It is a natural way of fighting against these debilitating headaches.

CoQ10 helps to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can cause migraines.

The best results are seen when it’s taken daily as a preventive measure rather than when it’s taken after an attack starts.

lysine Supplements

Lysine supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency of migraines and the severity of their symptoms.

Lysine is a natural compound that is found in all animal proteins, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. It can also be found in some plant-based foods like beans and soybeans.

The body cannot produce lysine on its own, so it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.

Lysine is important for many bodily functions, including growth and repair of muscle tissue.

Lysine helps reduce these migraine symptoms by lowering serotonin levels and increasing serotonin turnover time.

Vitamin D Supplements

People who took a vitamin D supplement had a 40% reduction in the frequency of their migraines.

When to See the Doctor

A migraine is a type of headache. Migraines are usually acute and can last for hours to days.

They can be debilitating and cause people to miss work, school, or other important events.

Migraines are not life-threatening.

It is important to get medical advice if you are experiencing below symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Speech difficulties
  • Fainting
  • Muscle weakness

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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