If you’ve ever suffered from migraines you’d probably do almost anything to be free of them. The sharp, knifing pain through one eye, the vision disturbances, and the nausea or vomiting is enough to make them completely debilitating. While much has been written on the foods that can trigger migraines in those who are vulnerable to them (such as aged cheeses, alcohol, food preservatives, soups made with bouillon mixes and caffeine), little has been written about the foods that help prevent migraines.
It’s not just what you avoid but also what you eat that can help prevent migraines altogether. The Association of Migraine Disorders has put together a list of the safe foods to avoid migraines. Because not all of these foods on their list are healthy options and, as a nutritionist, I cannot in good conscience recommend them, I have created my list of the best foods for migraines that are not 1) not typical migraine triggers; and 2) offer excellent nutritional and health benefits to migraine sufferers:
TOP FRUITS FOR MIGRAINE SUFFERERS
There are many excellent fruit options for migraine sufferers. One of the important factors to consider is that low blood sugar levels can be a factor in migraines. Snacking throughout the day and avoiding high sugar foods can help prevent low blood sugar levels. While fruit raises blood sugar levels, the fiber helps to slow the natural sugars’ rate of absorption into the bloodstream. But, you may wish to eat small amounts of fruit alongside other high fiber foods as a way to prevent blood sugar fluctuations, particularly if you are extremely prone to migraines. Of course, you can enjoy these fruits on a frequent basis but it is best not to gorge on any food that has the potential to cause blood sugar fluctuations. Here are some of the safest and most nutritious fruits:
Apricots (not dried, sulphured ones)
Peaches and Nectarines
TOP VEGETABLES FOR MIGRAINE SUFFERERS
Most vegetables are safe options for migraine sufferers. You’ll want to choose organic as much as possible for both fruits and vegetables since most pesticides are neurotoxins (toxic to the nervous system). Most of these vegetables are good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that can help strengthen the body and reduce the likelihood of experiencing migraines.
You can enjoy these foods as often as you’d like without worry that they will contribute to migraines. By making these vegetables the focal point of your meals, you’ll probably find that the frequency and intensity of migraines lessens over time. Enjoy them roasted, sautéed, or grated and raw. You can eat them as sides, pureed in soups or atop a large salad.
OTHER TOP FOODS FOR MIGRAINE SUFFERERS
Of course, there are many other foods that are suitable for migraine sufferers but the following ones offer a wide range of health benefits in addition to being safe. Chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are also high in fiber, good sources of protein and fatty acids that help to regulate blood sugar levels, and build healthy nerves and blood vessels, all of which are beneficial to migraine sufferers. You can puree chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt for a delicious dip. Chickpeas are also delicious in a soups, stews and curries or atop salads.
Mushrooms tend to be full of flavor and nutrition, making them a great addition to your diet. Mushrooms make a great addition to soups, stews, salads, stir-fries or as a base for a delicious plant-based gravy. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds make great snacks (but be sure to avoid those pre-made versions with “natural” or “artificial flavors” added). Toss a handful of these or sesame seeds on your salads or as a garnish and nutrient boost to curries and stews.
Every person is different so you may be able to eat many other foods without risk of suffering a migraine. The above list is simply the most common safe migraine foods that also offer nutritional and health benefits that, over time, may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.