Is There a Connection Between Diet and Migraine?
What Foods Can You Eat to Prevent Migraine Attacks?
An estimated 1 billion people experience migraine attacks, making it the third most common illness and the most common neurological condition in the world. Recent studies and research suggest food and diet play a part in migraines. Making changes to your diet may help prevent migraine attacks or reduce their frequency.
- Chocolate, possibly due to the chemical beta-phenylalanine;
- Nitrate-rich foods, such as cured meats and hot dogs;
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), an additive often found in processed foods;
- Artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame;
- Tyramine, a chemical found in fermented foods, aged cheeses and some kinds of fresh-baked bread; and
- Alcoholic beverages like wine and beer.
Some studies indicate that the foods themselves might not be the problem. Instead, food cravings and hunger may be the real root of the trigger. When people have food cravings due to low blood sugar, by the time they eat something, it’s too late, the migraine attack may already be coming.
Eating and drinking certain things may help prevent migraine attacks. Changes in eating habits also help, such as limiting sodium and fat or trying a low glycemic diet. The National Headache Foundation also suggests trying a low tyramine diet. Their website has a detailed list of what to eat and what to avoid.
Certain foods contain high amounts of minerals, vitamins and fatty acids that may help prevent migraine. Here’s a list of what you can add to your diet:
- Magnesium-rich food;
- Omega-3 fatty acids; and
- Ketogenic foods (always speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting a keto diet, as there are risks).
Consider a food journal to keep track of foods that may be triggering as well as foods that seem to help. Share it with your doctor so you can work on a more personalized treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
To access the full article on diet and migraines, click here.