Migraine headaches, like stomach aches, can be triggered by some foods that we eat. On the flip side, some foods may actually help prevent migraine symptoms. Here’s a short list of the good, the bad and delicious foods for your head.
Foods That Can Trigger a Migraine Headache
The most recent research suggests that amines — chemicals found in a variety of foods including those listed below — can trigger the onset of migraine pain. Tannins, nitrites and sulfites are culprits, too. A good rule of thumb is to avoid fast food and packaged frozen meals that contain a lot of preservatives.
- Chocolate, aged or fermented cheese, soy foods, citrus fruits and vinegar contain the amino acids tyramine or phenylethylamine.
- Beer, red wine, sherry and vermouth also contain large amounts of tyramine.
- Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, bologna, pepperoni, pastrami and corned beef have nitrites.
- White wine, most dried fruits, canned vegetables and many processed foods contain sulfites.
Foods to Soothe Your Head
Some foods can actually help prevent migraine pain. Try these soothing favorites:
- Avocados, lima beans, baked potatoes, raisins and orange juice are rich in potassium.
- Watermelon, blueberries, melons, tomatoes and lettuce are hydrating.
- Whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and fruit are healthy carbs that fend off dehydration and release the “feel good” hormone — serotonin.
- Sweet potatoes, almonds, cashews, bananas, brown rice, legumes and seeds are rich in magnesium.
- Spinach, fat-free Greek yogurt and skim milk are great sources of calcium.
It’s not surprising that the healthy foods that can help prevent migraine pain, are also good for our overall health. Nutritionists recommend that people who suffer from migraine headaches stick with lean protein, fresh vegetables and salads to help fend off attacks. While a healthy diet is always important, the nutritional aspect of migraine pain management is still an emerging science.