Foods That Trigger Migraines Attack

Migraines are debilitating headaches that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While the exact causes of migraines are not fully understood, food scientists have identified certain foods that trigger migraines attack. 

Having the knowledge of these foods triggers at your fingertip can help individuals make informed choices about their diet and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of migraines they experience. So let’s list and discuss these foods in detail.


10 Foods That Trigger Migraines Attack

Here are 10 foods commonly known to trigger migraines. From aged cheeses and pickled foods to frozen treats and salty snacks, we will examine the potential mechanisms behind these triggers and how they can affect migraine-prone individuals. 

By recognizing and avoiding these trigger foods, individuals may be able to better manage their migraines and improve their overall well-being. 


So, let’s delve into the world of foods and understand how dietary choices can impact this challenging condition.

1. Caffeine

Foods That Trigger Migraines

While caffeine can provide temporary relief for some headache sufferers, it can also trigger migraines in others. Caffeine withdrawal is a common migraine trigger, so sudden reduction or elimination of caffeine intake can lead to headaches. 

Additionally, consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, such as found in coffee, energy drinks, or certain sodas, can also lead to migraines. 

It is worth noting that the relationship between caffeine and migraines can vary from person to person, and some individuals may be more sensitive to its effects than others.


2. Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners

Certain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, have been reported as migraine triggers for some individuals. These sweeteners are commonly found in diet sodas, sugar-free candies, and packaged desserts. 

Aspartame, in particular, has been associated with migraines in some studies. If you experience migraines, it may be worth monitoring your intake of artificial sweeteners to see if they have any impact on your symptoms.

3. Alcohol


Alcohol, particularly red wine, beer, and certain spirits, is a well-known trigger for migraines. 

It is believed that alcohol triggers migraines through various mechanisms, including its vasodilating effects, the presence of certain compounds like histamines and tyramine, and dehydration caused by alcohol’s diuretic properties. 

It’s important to note that different types of alcohol can affect individuals differently, and some people may be more sensitive to certain alcoholic beverages than others.

4. Chocolate


While chocolate is often associated with pleasure, it can be a trigger for migraines in some individuals. Chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine, which can stimulate blood vessels and potentially trigger migraines. 

Additionally, chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine, which, as mentioned earlier, can be a trigger for some people. 

It’s worth noting that the relationship between chocolate and migraines can vary, and not everyone with migraines will be affected by consuming chocolate.

5. Foods containing MSG

Foods containing MSG
Foods containing MSG

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer commonly found in processed foods, such as snacks, soups, and certain Asian cuisines. 

Some individuals report that consuming foods with high levels of MSG can trigger migraines. 

The exact mechanism behind this is not fully understood, but it is believed that MSG may overstimulate certain receptors in the brain and potentially contribute to migraine attacks.


6. Cured meats

Cured meats
Cured meats

Cured meats, including bacon, sausages, deli meats, and certain types of ham, often contain nitrates or nitrites as preservatives. These compounds can dilate blood vessels and potentially trigger migraines. 

Also, cured meats may contain other migraine-triggering substances such as tyramine, which forms as proteins in the meat break down over time. 

Not everyone who consumes cured meats will experience migraines, but for some individuals, they can be a trigger.

7. Aged cheeses

Aged cheeses
Aged cheeses

Aged cheeses, such as blue cheese, cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss cheese, contain higher levels of tyramine, a naturally occurring compound that can trigger migraines in some individuals. 

Tyramine is formed when proteins in foods break down over time, and it is believed to stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters that can contribute to migraines. 

If you notice that aged cheeses consistently trigger your migraines, it may be beneficial to limit your consumption of these types of cheeses.

8. Pickled and fermented foods

Pickled and fermented foods
Pickled and fermented foods

Pickled and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and certain soy-based products contain high levels of histamine, another compound that can trigger migraines. Histamine is naturally present in many foods and is involved in the body’s immune response. 

However, some individuals are more sensitive to histamine and may experience migraines as a result of consuming foods rich in this compound. 

If you find that pickled or fermented foods are a trigger for your migraines, you may want to moderate your intake of these items.

9. Frozen foods

Frozen foods
Frozen foods

Some individuals report that consuming very cold or frozen foods, such as ice cream or frozen drinks, can trigger migraines. 

The exact reason behind this is not well understood, but it is believed that the rapid cooling of the palate and blood vessels in the head may contribute to the development of migraines in susceptible individuals. 

If you notice a pattern of migraines after consuming frozen foods, it may be helpful to try consuming them at a slightly warmer temperature or consider alternative options.

10. Salty foods

Salty foods
Salty foods

Excessive consumption of salty foods can lead to dehydration, which is a known trigger for migraines in some individuals. Salt can cause the body to retain water and affect the delicate balance of fluids in the body. 

Dehydration can lead to changes in blood volume and electrolyte levels, which can trigger migraines. 

It’s important to maintain proper hydration and moderate your intake of salty foods if you find that they contribute to your migraines.


In summary, understanding the potential mechanisms behind these triggers, such as the presence of compounds like tyramine or the potential for dehydration, can help individuals make informed dietary choices to manage their migraines. 

While triggers can vary from person to person, keeping a migraine diary and working with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians can aid in identifying personal trigger foods and developing personalized strategies for migraine management. 

Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing stress levels, and getting adequate sleep are important factors in reducing the impact of migraines.