What Are Some Dietary Tips For Preventing or Minimizing Your Risk Of Developing a Migraine?


Migraines are a common neurological disorder that can cause severe headache pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. While the exact cause of migraines is not completely understood, many experts believe that diet can play a significant role in triggering or preventing migraines. In this article, we will discuss some dietary tips that may help prevent or minimize the risk of developing a migraine.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is a type of headache that is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily activities.

Migraines are caused by changes in the brain and the way it processes pain signals. Some of the factors that can trigger a migraine include stress, certain foods, changes in sleep patterns, and hormonal changes. Migraines can also be hereditary, meaning they may run in families.

Symptoms of a migraine

The symptoms of a migraine can vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Intense headache pain, usually on one side of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue

Some people may also experience an “aura” before the onset of a migraine. An aura is a group of symptoms that can include visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines, and tingling or numbness in the face or hands.

How migraines affect you

Migraines can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. The pain and other symptoms can make it difficult to perform daily activities, such as going to work or school. Migraines can also affect a person’s mood, causing irritability, anxiety, and depression.

People who suffer from migraines may also have to make lifestyle changes to manage their condition. This can include avoiding certain foods, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress-reduction techniques.


Avoid Foods That Trigger Migraines

Certain foods have been known to trigger migraines in some individuals. These foods include alcohol, caffeine, aged cheeses, chocolate, and processed meats. It is important to keep a food diary to track your migraine triggers and avoid them. You should also avoid skipping meals, as this can cause a drop in blood sugar levels and trigger a migraine.

Foods That Might Trigger Migraines

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol is a common trigger for migraines. Red wine, in particular, has been shown to be a trigger for some individuals.
  2. Caffeine: While caffeine is a stimulant that can help alleviate headaches for some people, it can also trigger migraines in others. It is important to keep track of your caffeine intake and avoid it if it is a trigger for your migraines.
  3. Aged Cheeses: Aged cheeses, such as cheddar, blue cheese, and brie, contain a substance called tyramine, which can trigger migraines in some individuals.
  4. Chocolate: Chocolate contains both caffeine and tyramine, making it a potential trigger for migraines.
  5. Processed Meats: Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats, contain nitrates and nitrites, which can trigger migraines in some individuals.
  6. Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, contain a substance called histamine, which can trigger migraines in some individuals.
  7. MSG: MSG is a common food additive that is found in many processed foods. It has been shown to trigger migraines in some individuals.

Incorporate Magnesium and Riboflavin Rich Foods

Magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2) are two essential nutrients that may help prevent migraines. Studies have shown that individuals who suffer from migraines have lower levels of magnesium and riboflavin in their bodies. Foods that are rich in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods that are rich in riboflavin include eggs, meat, dairy products, and leafy green vegetables.

Stay Hydrated and Avoid Dehydration

Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines. Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water and other fluids. It is also important to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as they can cause dehydration. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and more if you are physically active or live in a hot climate.


Diet plays a crucial role in preventing or minimizing the risk of developing a migraine. Avoiding foods that trigger migraines, incorporating magnesium and riboflavin rich foods, and staying hydrated are some dietary tips that can help prevent or minimize the risk of developing a migraine. However, it is important to note that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to keep a food diary and work with a healthcare provider to determine the best dietary plan for you.

Greg Eckel

Dr. Greg Eckel

Dr. Greg Eckel’s journey into Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine began in the mid-90s when he noticed the overmedication of children while teaching preschool. In 2001, he co-founded Nature Cures Clinic in Portland, Oregon, and later founded bVital, a wellness and recharging center in Park City, Utah.

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