Millions of Americans are affected by migraines. For many of them, diet plays a role in the frequency and severity of the attacks.
Foods that cause a migraine in one person may not affect another, however, the most common triggers include:
- Aged cheese
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed meat
- Dark chocolate
- Ice cream
- Citrus fruits
- Caffeine withdrawal
In some cases, it’s not a specific food that’s to blame. Skipping meals or not drinking enough water can trigger migraines. A good way to prevent this is to sip water throughout the day and eat small, frequent meals. This will help you avoid getting dehydrated or overly hungry.
Tracking your migraines and diet is one of the best ways to determine what’s causing them. Try keeping a journal that includes:
- What you eat and drink
- When you eat and drink
- The amount you eat and drink
- When you get migraines
Over time, you’ll likely notice patterns. For example, you may determine you get a migraine every time you drink red wine. The next step is removing the food or drink from your diet for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference. If you find you get fewer migraines during this period, that food or drink is likely a trigger.
You can also track your migraines using an app, such as My Migraine Buddy. These apps allow you to record when you get a migraine, symptoms and what may have triggered the attack.