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Diet is one of several factors thought to contribute to migraine headaches among people who are susceptible to them. Modifying your diet may help reduce the frequency and severity of these painful, often debilitating headaches. Not all migraine sufferers will have the same dietary triggers, but there are many foods that are frequently linked to migraines. Foods that contain tyramine, phenylethylamine and other amines are often linked to migraines. Amine-rich foods and beverages include aged cheeses, citrus, chocolate, beer and wine. Migraines may also be triggered by nitrates and nitrites, which are found in cured and processed meats. Other foods that may exacerbate migraines include eggs, wheat, cow’s milk and high-fat and high-sugar foods. Food additives, including food dyes as well as the artificial sweetener aspartame and the artificial flavor additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), are also thought to trigger migraines in some people.
However, healthy fats found in fish oil and olive oil have been linked to reduced frequency and severity of migraines (potentially because of their anti-inflammatory properties). It’s important to note that hunger and waiting too long between meals may also contribute to the onset of migraines. Eating nutritionally balanced, regular meals may help migraine sufferers reduce or avoid these painful headaches.