Making Dietary Changes to Help Your Headaches

Gaining long-term control over the frequency and severity of your headaches requires making lifestyle changes, such as focusing on your diet. Since a drop in blood sugar can sometimes trigger headaches, adopting a migraine headache diet can be effective at reducing your symptoms. Following a modified diet has been shown to be successful in helping a large number of headache patients. There are several types of dietary plans that a headache specialist can recommend based on your headache type. Some of these plans are still under study.

What Is a Migraine Headache Diet?

A migraine headache diet should emphasize eating at regular times, avoiding skipping meals and experimenting with meal times and portion sizes – for instance, eating multiple small meals at intervals throughout the day.

Just as importantly, headache patients are asked to eliminate foods known to commonly trigger migraine attacks. Foods typically associated with the occurrence of migraines and other headache types, which are eliminated in a migraine headache diet, include the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Aged cheeses
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol, especially red wine
  • Marinated and pickled foods
  • Meats with nitrates
  • Foods that contain MSG
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine

Although not considered food, the use of tobacco can also trigger migraines. If you are currently smoking, Adkins Headache Center can guide you through its psychological intervention program to gain control over your addiction.

Furthermore, if you suspect that a food allergy is causing headache episodes, you might be asked to keep a food diary or undergo allergy testing to identify foods that are the culprit.  Most of the time it is food sensitivity rather than allergy that triggers migraine headaches but you may have a sensitivity to a food(s) to which you are allergic.

Dietary plans specific to migraines focus on prevention and also include recommendations to follow throughout the day. For instance, since low blood sugar is known to lead to headaches, eating breakfast every morning is crucial. Many individuals often incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables, including bananas, watermelons, dates, mangoes, papayas, pineapple, carrots, potatoes and numerous other healthy foods.  There are many versions of diets but the key is a healthy diet with minimal processed or fried foods including recommended foods and appropriate eating patterns as described. You may be instructed as part of your migraine headache diet to consume nuts, seeds, whole grains (such as brown rice, whole-grain bread and shredded wheat) and protein from lean meats, low-fat dairy, beans and peanut butter.

Making sure that you stay hydrated by drinking six 8-ounce glasses of water every day is just as important as following a migraine headache diet. Simple changes to your everyday routine, such as carrying a bottle of water when you step out of the house, can result in tremendous improvement.

Some migraine headache diet plans also include the use of vitamins. A multivitamin is one dietary supplement often recommended to headache patients.

Obtaining Dietary Guidance at Adkins Headache Center

Finding the proper migraine headache diet for individual cases is not easy and requires time, commitment and patience. We can provide you with excellent dietary aids, especially if gastrointestinal issues or diabetes are a problem. We will help you construct a safe and effective weight loss plan if weight issues are related to your headache problems – such as in the case of pseudotumor cerebri.

Incorporating meditation, yoga and tai chi into your treatment plan may also prove to be beneficial, especially if stress is an ongoing issue in your life. Our expert at Adkins Headache Center will gladly provide you with the necessary guidance to include these practices into your life.

By educating you about making healthy dietary choices as part of a migraine headache diet, Adkins Headache Center makes you an integral part of your headache treatment plan. Over time, you will learn to manage your headaches much more effectively while benefiting from a healthier lifestyle thanks to your migraine headache diet.

Migraine Headache Diet