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The Link Between Migraines and Food Triggers: A Nutritional Perspective

Migraines can be debilitating, affecting millions worldwide and disrupting daily life with intense headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. While the exact causes of migraines remain elusive, emerging evidence suggests a strong connection between certain foods and migraine triggers. In this blog post, we delve into the intricate relationship between migraines and food triggers from a nutritional therapy standpoint, offering insights and strategies to help manage and prevent migraine attacks.

Understanding Migraines: Unraveling the Mystery

Migraines are complex neurological disorders characterised by recurrent episodes of throbbing headaches often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. For each individual migraines can be unique to them with some experiencing auras, some without auras, some may not experience pain, and some like me may experience sensory issues such as vertigo and dizziness.

While genetics and environmental factors play a role in migraine, triggers such as stress, hormonal changes, sleep disturbances, and dietary factors can also precipitate migraine attacks.

The Role of Food Triggers: Uncovering Culprits

For many migraine sufferers, certain foods and beverages can act as potent triggers, precipitating or exacerbating migraine attacks. These triggers vary among individuals, but common culprits include:

  1. Tyramine-containing foods: A naturally occurring compound found in aged cheeses, cured meats, and fermented foods like soy sauce and sauerkraut.

  2. Histamine-rich foods: Histamine, a compound involved in allergic reactions, is found in foods like aged cheeses, smoked fish, and processed meats.

  3. Caffeine: While small amounts of caffeine may relieve migraines for some, excessive intake or sudden withdrawal can trigger headaches.

  4. Artificial additives: Certain food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame have been linked to migraines in susceptible individuals.

  5. Alcohol: Red wine, beer, and spirits contain compounds like tyramine and sulfites that can trigger migraines in some people.

Identifying Personal Triggers

Because migraine triggers can vary widely among individuals, understanding your own personal triggers can be an important part. Keeping a detailed food journal can be invaluable in identifying personal triggers. This can come with challenges as not all triggers can be immediate or your threshold for migraine can be higher or lower depending on other factors. Often testing options can be helpful here to help speed up this process. Often noting the foods consumed before migraine attacks, along with the timing and severity of symptoms and over time, patterns may emerge, helping pinpoint specific triggers to avoid.

Nutritional Strategies for Migraine Management: Empowering Choices

While identifying and avoiding trigger foods is key, adopting a holistic approach to nutrition can also play a significant role in migraine management. As a nutritional therapist we want to ensure your diet and nutrition is meeting your nutritional needs whilst working to ensure you are keeping triggers to a minimum and also raising your migraine threshold. Is your diet also serving your nutrient needs as migraine sufferer's also have high nutrient demands and requirements than others. We also want to look at timings of your eaten patterns, hydration, and factors that maybe influencing migraine opportunities.

Working with a Nutritional Therapist

Nutritional and naturopathic strategies have been shown to help reduce migraine occurrence and severity and increase the quality of life for many sufferers. We will work together with an aim of understanding your individual triggers and drivers, such as foods, hormonal imbalance, blood sugar levels, stress and genetics.

Each migraine sufferer will be unique in presentation, and therefore unique in their treatment plan. I know this only to well with my life changing experience of (MAV) Migraine Associated Vertigo, and with my experiences, I am only too aware of how migraines can be totally disabling and life changing.


As a nutritional therapist, I understand the intricate interplay of diet, nutrition, and lifestyle in managing migraines. In this exploration, let's uncover the key roles these factors play in navigating and potentially reducing the impact of migraines.

My role is to understand you, your symptoms, address these factors, and formulate a plan to minimise, control and hopefully eliminate your migraines, whilst educating you to gain optimal wellbeing and quality of life.

Please feel free to read further information regarding migraines in my blog posts as well as read my story. I would love to work with you to help you improve your migraines and improve your quality of life using a personalised and individually tailored approach. Please book a free discovery call and I look forward to hearing your story. 

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