Migraine Headache Tips

by Deborah A. Klein

Migraine Headaches and Trigger Foods

Patients are walking into my office frequently with migraine headaches. So, here's some information that will hopefully help all of you who want to get these headaches out of your life.

A migraine involves severe head pain, plus one or more symptoms that may including nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. It generally lasts 4 to 72 hours.

Possible General Triggers:

•Certain Foods
•Hunger or missed meals
•Changes in weather
•Some physical activities
•Emotions and stress
•Hormonal Changes

Specific Food and Beverage Triggers:

  • Alcohol: Red wine, vermouth, champagne, and beer
  • Beverages with caffeine: Coffee, tea, soft drinks
  • Dairy Products: Aged cheeses, such as cheddar
  • Breads: Sourdough, fresh yeast, homemade
  • Vegetables and Fruits: Some types of beans (broad, Italian, lima, lentil, fava, soy), sauerkraut, peas, avocados, and overripe bananas
  • Snacks: Peanuts, peanut butter
  • Meats: Salted and cured meats (ham, corned beef, sausage, bacon, lunch meats), dried meats, pickled herring, chicken livers
  • Soups: Canned or from mixes
  • Desserts: Chocolate-based
  • Food Additives and Flavorings: Monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, soy sauce, marinades, and meat tenderizers


1. Keep a diary of what you eat to determine your possible trigger foods. Depending on how often your attacks occur, you may need to keep the diary for a few weeks.

2. Drink water throughout the day, keep a water bottle with you at all times and keep sipping.

3. Eat foods that are high in fiber and protein, and low in simple carbohydrates.

4. Include almonds, watercress, parsley, fennel, garlic, cherries, and fresh pineapple in your eating plan.

5. Get regular moderate exercise.

6. Massage the neck and back of the head daily.

7. Choose baked, broiled, or steamed rather than fried foods, have anti-inflammatory foods and seasonings: fish, flaxseeds (grounded), organic eggs with omega-3's, legumes, ginger, turmeric. Stay clear from red meat as much as you can -- it's the most inflammatory food available.

8. Eat small meals, within an hour after waking, and every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day, try not to go longer than 5 hours without eating.

9. Please stop smoking. Enroll in a smoking cessation program or try seeing a hypnotherapist, every patient from our practice who enrolled in a hypnotherapy program for smoking cessation, quit smoking by the end of the program.

10. See your dentist for treatment of any tooth problems or grinding that may contribute to the migraines.

11. Relax, take hot baths, and listen to calming music.

Supplement: Magnesium -- it is a key muscle relaxant.
Try: Phytotherapy liquid gel caps, available at Whole Foods -- it contains calcium citrate malate with Vitamin D and magnesium.

Also, have fish oil capsules. they are a great anti-inflammatory supplement order EPA-DHA Extra Strength enteric coated capsules from Metagenics.

Health and happiness to you!

Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD is the world's first Livitician®, a term she coined as an alternative to dietician. Her mission is to educate others on achieving optimal wellness through balanced eating, intrinsic coaching and exercise. Deborah holds Master's of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition with an emphasis in sports nutrition. Deborah has a private practice where she educates and offers her clients "A Plan to LIVE for!" She is also the "Ask the Nutrition Expert" at Pregnancy.org.

Deborah lives in Southern California. She is a mother of 2 boys, Hayden (7 years) and Eitan (5 years).

Copyright © Deborah A. Klein. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.