Foods To Avoid If You Have Migraine

August 23, 2007

249069055.jpgMigraine is not an uncommon complaint among friends and patients.  It is pretty bothersome, and can make your day irritating and stressful.  It can occur anytime if a a trigger food is ingested.  These headaches usually start  within 20-25 minutes after consuming these products.  You may notice it coming if you start complaining of  pressure in the chest and in the face, sometimes burning sensation in the chest, neck or shoulders accompanied by facial flushing and dizziness.  The headache can occur across the front or sides of the head.  Some patients may complain of feeling nauseated due to the associated dizziness.  Treating this headache can also be challenging as simple paracetamol may not do the trick.  Preventing the occurence of this headache is therefore of paramount importance to avoid having a bad day ahead!

So which specific food triggers have been shown to be the culprits and therefore should be avoided:

  • Tyramine containing foods found natu.rally in aged cheeses, and also found in red wine, alcoholic drinks, and some processed meats.
  • Food additives/preservatives like nitrates and nitrites found in hot dogs, ham, sausage, and other processed or cured meats.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Chinese food.
  • Alcohol — specifically the impurities in alcohol or by-products your body produces as it metabolizes alcohol.  Culprits include red wine, beer, whiskey and champagne
  • Caffeine: coffee, chocolate, tea, colas, sodas
  • Pepperoni, hot dogs, luncheon meats
  • Bread and other baked goods and crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Smoked or dried fish
  • Potato chips
  • Pizza, peanuts, peanut butter
  • chicken livers, and other specific foods and

Likewise for my diabetics…artificial sweeteners like aspartame can be bad triggers of headaches.  Also to be avoided are any COLD beverages especially after an exercise. Sensitivity to ice cream has been reported among migraine sufferers so avoid the temptation!

Trigger Free To Be Migraine Free!

31 Responses to “Foods To Avoid If You Have Migraine”

  1. maxim Says:

    Thanks for the info Doc. For me my trigerring factor is too much sunlight. Thus, i start to get anxious if I forget my sun glasses when driving.

  2. Doc Gerry Says:

    Thanks for that addition Max. I have the same problem…facing a light bulb or if my seat in facing directly a light… ruins my night!

  3. donna Says:

    hello dr. jerry,
    ive read ur article regarding what foods to be avoided if you have migraine, and i found out that most of those foods are the usual food i eat. i would like to ask what food am i goin to eat? thank u

  4. Doc Gerry Says:

    That’s tricky Donna. There are foods that can be triggers for you and others may not. So if you’ve been eating these foods and you did not have migraine then continue taking them. Check which foods in the list most likely will cause you the headache then those are the foods you should avoid.

  5. Mohamed Says:

    Thanks for the information because my mum and i have migraine so it would really help us in our foods

  6. CHELSEA Says:


  7. CHELSEA Says:

    i am 16 years old and i need to find some kind of life i am failing school because of my headaches they are lasting for days at a time already had all the work up done dont have know other problems but migranes

  8. Doc Gerry Says:

    Hi Chelsea.. there are different forms of migraines and we now have drugs that can be given to prevent attacks. Better have your headaches checked by a neurologist so he can determine what kind and what drugs to give you.


    doc. jerry
    my grandmother got a high uric acid..and suffering the join pain. pls help me Doc. what will be the foods we should avoid?and whaty food good for her? thank you…

  10. Doc Gerry Says:

    Leomil…I have a post on Foods to Avoid if you have high uric acid. That will answer your querries. Type “uric acid” on the Search box located on the side of my website and that will lead you to the post.

  11. amanda Says:

    i suffer from panic/anxiety attacks and i had a really bad migraine the other day. i ate some shrimp for lunch and ended up at the er cause i thought i was having a stroke but they said it was a panic attack due to my migraine. could the shrimp have caused me to have a panic attack or anxiety attack with a migraine and could all the symptoms of a stroke have come from eating shrimp.

    • Doc Gerry Says:

      Amanda…you may have a reaction to the shrimp and becuase of it you panicked and thought it was a stroke. I dont have the exact details of your hisotry but NO shrimps can cause stroke. Underlying diseases like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes are major reasons for one to suffer from stroke.

  12. Very nice article on migraines. Thanks for the great tips!

  13. shelly Says:

    I am as ur other readers are getting bad headaches and a throbbing will start and then only kinda subside if I rest – it will go away but if I do not it gets worst can u pls assist

  14. Dave Says:

    I used to suffer from migraines really bad when i was younger, them for one reason or another they stopped, but the past few months they have started again, i keep track of the food i eat and cant seem to pick a trigger out just yet, if at all it is that causing them, the question i have tho is my migraines tend to last for 3 or 4 days even with imigran tablets, although they help, my appetite goes when i get a migraine, but i know i need to eat to try and keep my blood sugar levels up which will help, but are there any specific foods that you could suggest that might work best? Many thanks.

  15. nick Says:

    i am 14 i failed school last year in 09 because of migrains

  16. Jeza Says:

    this is nice… now i know what foods to avoid… so sad most of it are my favorites… 😦

  17. john smith Says:

    Another great migraine article! I always like read your blog so I always come back for more.

  18. naomi Says:

    Hi Dr,
    I’m only young and suffering from very bad migraines so bad that sometimes i wobble over,
    what foods can i eat?

  19. REgina Says:

    I have alot migrains maybe 4 0r 5 a week I cant take this pain anymore please tell me what to do I take medicine for pain and to prevent the pai and its not workin plese hel me

  20. Jill...NOT Jillian Says:

    Why are dried fruits a trigger? Is it something in them that is used to preserve them?

  21. Emmyjack Says:

    I am 25. I occasionally have migrain. When i do, it means no work, no fun,nothing at all. My solution is to sit in a quiet place with natural breez and the migrain will dissipate.

  22. Felicia Chapparosa Says:

    I have headaches everyday clusters and migraines since I was in jr. high school. I am now in college and still get these headaches often. My whole day is usually ruined when I get a migraine and nothing that I take for it seems to work. I need help fast!!!

  23. Irem Says:

    Hi Doctor, i’m suffering from migraines almost every 2-3 days of the week. I can’t do anything but lie in a dark room and wait for it to go away. I’m currently studying so it does get in the way of my studying… is there anything i could eat to prevent migraines for example a type of fruit or vegetable that will prevent migraines… please help i hate migraines and their very painful…

  24. anisha Says:

    Hi doctor, I am 26yrs old and have a really bad headache everyday, it starts from behind the ears and reaches the head it pains on both the side. can you please tell me which food i should eat like fruits or vegetables and my intake of bread is almost everyday and chicken once a week.Please help it is very painful.

  25. Maureen Says:

    My son just got home from confinement due to severe headache and to our surprised, he was diagnosed to have migraines at an early age of 8.His neurologist did not recommend for MRI but I only found out from my son who didn’t tell me that this is not the first time he had panic attacks due to severe pain. Is there something to worry about?

  26. kat Says:

    Hi doctor,

    Very useful information. I’ve been on the CP Yasmin for 2 months since a huge cyst developed in my ovary, I stopped the pill now and I have lots of headaches constantly thoughout the day. Could this be since I started taking the pill and stopped that I developed migraines? Something to do with this pill? I went to see my gyne before stopping pills but didn’t have the headaches I have at the moment.

    What would be a normal diet to do for a couples of days?
    Is milk and cereals ok? Salads? Steak? Chicken breast?

    Thanks very much


  27. angelika Says:

    Hello po,angelika is my name, I would like to ask you doc. what the best to do.I am suffering headache and most of it was severe.Mostly, it is aching from one it migraine?

  28. leevan houston Says:

    can you get mirgrane from working to much

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