Migraines: Causes, Triggers & Foods You Should Avoid

Migraines can be painful and affect your lifestyle in many ways. Read on to know what foods you can avoid if you suffer from them.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Dec 21, 2022 12:45 IST
Migraines: Causes, Triggers & Foods You Should Avoid

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Migraines are a neurological disease that can be extremely painful and last longer than a regular headache. They can also be accompanied by other health conditions like vomiting, vision problems, and sensitivity to light and smell. Apart from taking medication, you can also avoid certain foods triggering your migraines. Read on to learn the causes of migraines and what foods you should avoid. 

What Causes Migraines?

People who have migraines can get frequent headaches that are very severe and difficult to bear. For some people, their migraines even last up to three days or longer. Some of the reasons that can cause migraine attacks are: 

  • Stress
  • Unhealthy Diet
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Dehydration
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Weather Changes
  • Strong Smell
  • Bright lights

Here are the foods you should avoid if you get frequent migraine episodes:

Excessive Coffee

Coffee has two different roles to play if you are facing migraine attacks. While drinking coffee may ease your pain for a while, consuming coffee in excessive amounts can be harmful and trigger migraines. Even coffee withdrawal can start a migraine if you regularly drink coffee in the morning or throughout the day. You can start increasing your water intake in your body.

Also Read: Why Is Migraine Triggered By Weather Change?


Yes, we know that chocolates are everyone’s favourite, but this tasty treat can trigger migraines in some people. Chocolates have beta-phenylalanine and caffeine in them, which can cause migraine attacks.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are very healthy for your skin and your health, however, you should try avoiding them if you get migraine episodes post-consumption. They contain octopamine, a substance that may cause migraine attacks frequently. 

Red Wine

You should avoid drinking red wine if your body is intolerant to histamine that dilutes blood vessels. Red wine increases the production of serotonin in your body, which may cause migraines, particularly ocular migraines. 

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Foods like bread and cakes that contain yeast may also be responsible for triggering migraines. They contain tyramine that may be the reason you have frequent migraine attacks.

Other foods like aged cheese, nuts, tomatoes, artificial sweeteners, and cured meat may also trigger migraines in some people.

Also Read: 10 Home Remedies To Relieve Migraine Attack Naturally

What Is an Elimination Diet?

Look for foods you think might trigger your migraine and cut them from your diet. You can then add them to your diet slowly, and if the symptoms return, you know which foods to avoid. However, it is advisable to talk to your doctor before trying this out to ensure it is safe. 


Everyone has different trigger points for migraines, therefore, it is best to make a food journal that will help you to detect which foods you should avoid. Even foods that are highly nutritious and healthy can be harmful to you. It is also important to learn that skipping meals or not eating enough can cause migraines. You should maintain a healthy diet and avoid foods triggering your migraine. Visit your doctor to start medications and take preventative measures for treating migraines.