Those who suffer with migraines understand the meaning of the word pain. They experience pain to the point of it becoming a debilitating condition for them.

The pain they experience is the result of blood vessels that have become overfilled with blood. These vessels that are overfilled put pressure on the sensitive nerve endings in your brain. This causes the throbbing and very painful symptoms of migraines.

Some patients report that they become hypersensitive to certain lights and sounds while experiencing a migraine. They can become nauseous or vomit during an migraine attack.

Women are 3 times more likely to experience migraines than men are.

Certain foods may be able to reduce the severity of these migraine attacks or decrease the number of attacks that occur.

Those who suffer from migraines may benefit from eating cold water fish like cod, herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Migraine sufferers have reported a decrease in symptoms and occurrences when they avoid eating the following foods:

  • aged cheeses

  • chocolates

  • fermented sausages

  • pickled herrings

  • salt

  • sour cream

  • saturated fats in excess

Other Triggers

Other foods that may be “triggers” or things that may set off migraines are: citrus fruits, hot dogs, foods that contain aspartame or monosodium glutamate (MSG), ice cream, and alcoholic beverages like beer and red wine.

Migraine sufferers have reported that the foods that are the most likely culprits to trigger their migraines are: bananas, chocolates, citrus fruits, consuming alcohol, and eating cheeses.


MSG is a common food flavoring added by restaurants especially Chinese ones. Make sure you ask specifically if what you are ordering contains any MSG. Most restaurants are happy to prepare your dish without adding MSG to it.

Learn to make a habit of reading food labels while selecting items at the grocery stores. There are lots of commercially prepared foods (boxed and canned) that contain MSG. The more common of these foods are: croutons, frozen dinners, potato chips (some varieties), salad dressings, soups, soy sauce, and also stuffing mixes.

Be careful when you are reading labels for foods containing MSG because some manufacturers will use alternative names for MSG, like: autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed proteins or sodium caseinate.

Chemicals and Amino Acids to Avoid

The chemicals contained in certain foods that are most likely to be responsible for triggering migraines are: amines. You may find them labeled as: histamine, phenylethylamine and tyramine.

You can find tyramine in aged or blue cheese, beer, cured, smoked or pickled meat and fish, red wine, and also soy sauce.

Foods that have phenylethylamine in them include: berry pie filling in cans or canned berries, citrus fruits, cheesecake, chocolate, cocoa, red wine and yellow cheeses.

Foods that contain histamine are: bananas, beef, beer, cheese, chicken livers, citrus fruits, chocolate, shellfish, pork and processed meats such as salami, sauerkraut, spinach, strawberries, well-ripened yellow cheeses, yeast as well as foods baked with yeast.

It is a good decision to check with your healthcare provider before eliminating any food from your diet, as food triggers can be different for different individuals.

Sometimes keeping a food diary that shows all the food and beverages consumed over an entire month along with details of any symptoms of migraine that you experience can aid both you and your healthcare provider in understanding which foods can be identified as migraine triggers for you.

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