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Navigating Migraines: Unraveling the Connection Between Food & Migraines

Updated: Jun 6


Anyone who suffers with migraines will understand the shear debilitating effect they can have! Characterised by intense throbbing pain often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, can significantly impact the quality of life. Migraines can also take different from silent migraines, stomach migraines and visual and aura migraines to name just a few. While various factors contribute to migraine onset, including genetics and environmental factors, emerging evidence suggests a strong link between diet and the occurrence of migraines. As a nutritionist, I aim to shed light on how food can serve as both a culprit and a potential ally in managing migraines.

migraine food triggers

The simple answer is Yes!

Understanding the intricate relationship between food and migraines is essential for those seeking relief. Certain foods contain substances that can trigger or exacerbate migraines in susceptible individuals. By identifying and addressing these dietary triggers, one can potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, leading to improved overall well-being.

migraine nutritionist uk

While triggers can vary from person to person, some common dietary factors that may contribute to migraines include:

  1. Caffeine: While some people find relief from migraines through caffeine, others may find that excessive consumption or sudden withdrawal can trigger headaches.

  2. Tyramine: Found in certain foods, such as aged cheese, smoked fish, and processed meats, tyramine is a known migraine trigger for some individuals.

  3. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): This flavor enhancer, often found in processed foods, can trigger migraines in some people.

  4. Alcohol: Red wine, beer, and certain spirits can trigger migraines in some individuals. It's important to identify specific triggers within the alcohol category, as different types can affect people differently.

  5. Aspartame: This artificial sweetener, commonly found in diet sodas and sugar-free products, has been reported to trigger migraines in some individuals.

  6. Chocolate: Though it's not a common trigger for everyone, some people find that chocolate can contribute to their migraines.

  7. Nitrites and Nitrates: These preservatives are often found in processed meats like bacon, sausages, and hot dogs and can be migraine triggers for some people.

  8. Food Additives and Preservatives: Certain food additives and preservatives, such as sulfites, can contribute to migraines in sensitive individuals.

  9. Food Intolerance: Food intolerance, often mistaken for allergies, involves difficulty digesting certain foods, leading to various symptoms, including headaches. Migraines, characterized by intense throbbing pain, can be influenced by a range of triggers, and emerging evidence suggests that food intolerance might be a significant contributor for some individuals.

  10. Other Factors: It is important to remember migraines are often factual and when working with clients I am keen not only to understand their food, diet and nutrition factors but also genetic, lifestyle and other stressors. This approach allows us to understand your whole picture and often to be more successful.

Nutritional and naturopathic strategies have been shown to help reduce migraine occurrence and severity and increase the quality of life for many sufferers. As a migraine nutritionist, we will work together, with an aim of understanding your individual triggers and drivers, both within food and lifestyle. 

Each migraine sufferer will be unique in presentation, and therefore unique in their treatment plan. I know this only to well with my own life changing experience of migraine associated vertigo. I am only too aware of how migraines can be totally disabling and the struggles you may be facing. For me, diet and lifestyle was an area that was never really discussed in a  medical treatment plan. I have myself discovered how powerful a personalised migraine diet plan, optimal nutrition and lifestyle management can be to any migraine sufferer. 

Working with my clients on an individual basis gives me the opportunity to understand not only them as a person but also their medical history and understand their wider picture, such as genetics, lifestyle, hormonal, dietary and whole body snapshot which can be so important and often overlooked when looking to treat migraines. Understanding where the root causes can be coming from is very important to managing migraines.

We will work together, providing you with a plan, in which we will continue to build upon, week by week, to support you to understand your migraine triggers and drivers. My aim is to education and empower you to manage and raise your migraine threshold. Your plan will include diet and nutrition advice, including recipe, product and shopping advice, through to areas requiring support such as hormonal, endocrine health, sleep, environmental and stress management advice. Recommendation on supplementation and other tools are provided. Where needed, functional medicine testing such as hormonal, stool, blood and genetic testing can be beneficial to understand your wider migraine picture.

You may wish to read further information regarding migraines in my blog posts, as well as read my story, where I talk further into the role of nutrition, gut health, hormonal health and nutrigenomics for example.

migraine nutritionist uk story

migraine nutritional therapist uk

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