11 Foods To Eat To Avoid MIgraines

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Getting a migraine can be a real downer, as the tension and pain can be debilitating and interfere in a person's day. Thus, it is important to take note of which foods can prevent migraines and help you stay more alert, productive and relaxed during the day.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on reducing tension, and I find that many people experience headaches that can go on for long periods of time and affect several areas, such as work, social presence, self-esteem, and stress reduction. My mother is a chronic sufferer of migraines, and when she experiences one, it can take hold of her entire day and can be so powerful that she is unable to focus on work or must cancel dinner plans in order to stay home and rest. However, it's possible to avoid food triggers that can cause migraines by being mindful of the diet and keeping track of which offenders influence you. Keeping a journal and recording time and date, as well as previous activities and meals, of migraines can help you get a better idea of where you should be careful. Look for these eleven foods that can help prevent or get rid of migraines, so that you can go on feeling happy and energized in the day.

1. Green Vegetables

According to dietician Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN, and spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with me, "Food rich in magnesium, such as kale and broccoli, may help reduce the frequency of migraines." Plus, the great thing about vegetables is that they are also so nutritionally dense and versatile! By adding more veggies into the diet, through salads, smoothies and juices, sandwiches, and even desserts, you'll be better able to prevent migraines.

2. Plain, Whole Grain Bread

Lose all the funky additions, such as cheese, chocolate, sugar and cream, and go au naturel with bread. According to Michael Teixido, MD to the Association of Migraine Disorders, eating plain breads, such as whole grain, whole wheat, sourdough, rye, or pumpernickel, as well as bagels, are OK for migraines. "Foods that are rich in magnesium, calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber have been shown to stop migraines," says Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director, Be Well Medical Group, over email with me.

3. Orange Vegetables

According to The Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, cooked orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potato, have been shown to be safe for migraine sufferers and are filled with nutrients that can benefit the body and mind. Eating these as a complex carbohydrate, paired with lean protein, such as fish or chicken, can make for a great meal.

4. Take Feverfew

According to researchers at the City of London Migraine Clinic, feverfew can be an incredible supplement for relieving migraines and preventing the onset, especially in chronic sufferers. Check with your physician before embarking on any new supplement programs just to be safe.

5. Eat Low-Fat Dairy

Low-fat diary can be beneficial as it is high in calcium, according to certified fitness instructor, personal trainer and sports nutritionist, Mamta Singh in interview with EmpowHER. Calcium intake can release serotonin and thus minimize migraine symptoms and be better able to prevent them from happening in the first place.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Due to their high magnesium content, these seeds could help prevent a migraine from taking hold, according to Dr. Burton M. Altura in a November 2002 at the Magnesium Online Library and in interview with Livestrong. Apparently, the release of serotonin from magnesium-rich foods can relax blood vessels and reduce pain.

7. Salmon

According to Dr. Richard Jensen, Ph.D., a holistic nutritionist, in an interview with, vitamin D can help get rid of migraines, especially when combined with calcium and magnesium. Great sources include oily fish, such as salmon or tuna, as well as cage-free eggs and milk. It also wouldn't hurt to take a supplement each day, but be sure to check with a physician first.

8. CoQ10 Supplementation

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. on his blog, this supplement has been shown to help alleviate migraines and reduce frequency in chronic sufferers. While it's always important to check with a physician before taking additional nutrients, taking 100 mg three times daily, Weil advises, might be beneficial.

9. Beef Liver

High in riboflavin, beef liver, as well as eggs, fish, mushrooms, leafy greens, lamb, and yogurt, can help reduce migraines, according to Dr. Axe, on his blog. He says that many migraine sufferers have been shown to have riboflavin deficiencies, so eating these foods could help, as well as asking a physician if he or she recommends a supplement, as well.

10. Strawberries

According to Joy Bauer, MS, RN, CDN, on her blog, strawberries make for a great dessert that is tolerable by migraine sufferers. Because they are not as acidic as citrus fruits and not as fattening or caffeinated as chocolate or cheesecake, having fresh fruit for dessert, with perhaps a rice pudding, is a great option, she advises on the topic.

11. Chia Seeds

"Chia seeds contain high levels of omega-3's, which have been shown to help ease symptoms for migraine sufferers," says Hunter Pechin, Brand Manager at Health Warrior, over email with me. Sprinkle on yogurt, eat as a bar, or toss in a smoothie for great benefits. These seeds are super versatile and pack major nutrients!

In addition to eating these nutritious foods, it's also a great idea to get in exercise and prioritize sleep. According to Rachel Wong, Sleep Research Specialist at OSO, over email with me, "Headache sufferers often miss out on sleep cycles 3 and 4, the most restorative cycles of the night. That leaves us low on serotonin and dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemicals, which can lead to depression and feeling pain more acutely."

Images: Pixabay (12); Bustle