8 Migraine-Triggering Foods: Can Balance Diet Relieve Pain?

dark chocolate with a red thing

Migraine Headache

Migraine-triggering foods are some specific food that does not affect everyone and can contribute to debilitating headache.

MH is the most common type of headache, which starts from one side of the brain and then spread all over the brain, or the other side.

It triggers by many things, and each individual has vary reasons like excessive eating, stress, some environmental factors, etc.

study showed that migraine is more common in females than men and higher in rural living people than in urban people.

It is not dangerous, but if it is seen more frequently then it may affect the quality of life and daily activities.

However, in some people, certain diets or excessive eating can trigger MH, also avoiding or reducing excessive diet can help with it.

Also changes in lifestyle such as managing stress, maintaining regular sleep, and eating a balanced diet on time, may prevent migraine (2)

Normal headache is a very common condition that many people across the world experience at some point in their life.

In addition, people suffering from regular migraines know that they are going to have a headache before the pain occurs.

If you experience severe and frequent pain, then should consult your healthcare provider.

How Certain Foods Can Trigger Migraines?

The study showed that fatty acids, linoleic and oleic acids contribute to triggering MH.

However, other studies reveal that reducing it to 20 g/day can reduce the severity, frequency and duration of the headache.

Food triggers MH is not fully understood, however, its believe that certain food ingredients like fatty acids may contribute to it.

Some combined factors that contribute to triggering migraine headaches include:

If you have a migraine headache, it’s become vital to find your cause, once you find then work on them.

dark chocolate with a red thing

8 Common Migraine-Triggering Foods

Here are some common migraine-triggering foods and one of them may be your reason which includes:

Caffeine Products

A study showed that minimizing the amount of caffeine consumption may not trigger MH (3)

Caffeine products such as – coffee, tea, energy drink, chocolate, and soda affect blood vessels, which trigger the brain algorithm.

In addition, excessive caffeine intake may affect your sleep and also has some other side effects, like anxiety, increased urination, restlessness, etc.

The primary goal of caffeine is to combat fatigue and drowsiness (4), so avoid it taking 2 hours before bedtime.

Aged Cheese

It contains tyramine (a chemical contain naturally in some foods) which expands and narrows the blood vessel, leading to MH.

Aged cheese such as Swiss, blue, and cheddar cheese.

Some aged cheese is also loaded with histamine (another chemical) by triggering immune, and functional processes, leading to MH.

Processed Meat

Red, processed meat and hot dog contain nitrate, Tyramine and nitrites, which might give you MG, however, it does not directly trigger headaches.

It is not necessary that everyone is affected by Meat, some people experience migraine, due to allergic reactions, or may be sensitive to these chemicals.

Consuming more red meat, increase uric acid, and calcium amount, which can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

If it is your reason, then consult your doctor, and avoid excessive consumption.

Citrus foods

Studies reveal that citrus and sour fruits, and foods (5) such as:

  • tomato
  • lemon
  • green onion and onion
  • star fruit
  • gooseberries
  • yogurt and other dairy products
  • grape fruits
  • sausages

These foods contain tyramine which triggers blood vessels and causes a migraine headache, so avoid excessive consumption.

Fermented and Pickled Foods

Like aged cheese fermented foods also contain tyramine which makes it a migraine-triggering compound (6)

These fermented and pickled foods include:

  • Soya
  • pickled
  • kefir
  • olives
  • idli
  • dose


Based on the study’s evidence drinking alcohol, especially sweeteners, and red wine, contain aspartame that triggers headache (7)

Generally, alcohol is well known as a CNS depressant (central nervous system), which causes brain tissue to shrink and disturb.

In addition, drinking over the limit can lead to memory loss, lack of motor coordination, and drunk experiences sudden mood swings.


MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a food taste enhancer, especially used in Chinese food, in specific people it leads to MH.

It contains glutamate (an amino acid) that overloads the brain nerve cells, which leads to migraine.

The relationship b/w MSG and migraine can differ from person to person, so talk to your doctor, and it does not affect everyone.

Other Foods

There are several other foods, other common foods include:

  • Onion and green onion
  • mushroom
  • dairy products
  • garlic
  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • grapes
  • certain nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans)

In some people, these foods and other certain foods may lead to MH.

Can Balance Diets Relieve Pain?

Balance-rich nutrients and protein diet play a key role in relieving migraine pain and help in preventing other diseases.

Nowadays, people’s unhealthy lifestyles such as no physical activity, junk food, alcohol, smoking, etc are the main reason for health issues.

Many doctors and nutrients believe that changes in diet are one of the most common potent treatments for many ailments (8)

A balanced diet means – rich in nutrients, and vitamins that contribute to overall well-being, but not always a balanced diet relieves pain.

A balanced diet can help in:

  • Reduce inflammation or swelling
  • maintain a healthy BMI
  • Improve gut health
  • boost immunity
  • promote overall mental and physical health

Note that each person has a different body condition, so consult your doctor, before going with any pain suppression medication.

Identifying and Managing Food Triggers

Identifying and managing migraine-triggering food is an effective way to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine.

Here are how can you identify your migraine-triggering food include:

  • Record your food intake and migraine occurrence: This will ensure whether it is your excessive food intake reason or certain food consumption.
  • Look for pattern: Check when it is a pattern, when it comes, after consumption of food or before, and also check days.
  • Elimination diet: Once you identify triggering food, then for weeks avoid them, which will ensure that this food is the cause of MH.
  • Seek help: If you do not identify, or face severe, frequent pain, then consult your doctor.
  • Avoid triggering food: In this doctor may help you by telling you how to avoid, and suggest you other foods.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle: Make sure to adopt a healthy lifestyle, like exercising, eating a balanced diet, managing stress, take enough sleep, etc.
  • Check body changes: After avoiding the trigger foods, monitor and track your body changes, if you find any discomfort, then talk to a doctor.

Taking medication without a doctor’s prescription, and without finding the exact cause is not helpful, so consult your doctor.

Simple Tips To Avoid Migraine Trigger

Here are some ways to avoid migraine headache are:

  • Cook often at home and avoid raw food
  • read package instructions carefully
  • avoid eating at streets, and restaurant, because they can add some food taste enhancers like MSG which may trigger your MH.
  • Ask your doctor, if you have any doubts or questions, then you can talk to your doctor.
  • make sure to keep the body hydrated, in most cases lack of water in the body, causes MH.

Down Line

A good balanced diet plays a vital role in keeping our health healthy.

Certain foods, like alcohol, meat, caffeine products, aged cheese, etc, however in some people excessive eating may also lead to MH.

Migraine headache is the most common about 1 in 10 people are affected by it, and the prevention is its cure.

There is no exact cure for it, you have to first find your reason, and then work on it.


Hello, I'm Sahil bisht, I am a Mechanical engineer, As well as, aspiring blogger with an obsession for health. This blog delicate to people who want to learn in health.

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