How Do You Identify Food Triggers with Recurring Migraines?

Since I experience my migraines nearly daily, it has been a real challenge to identify what triggers my migraines. One correlation I can make for sure is that my stomach becomes sick and irritable with the migraine. Once I start to feel hungry I quickly make sure that I eat something my body can use, by this I mean a whole food as oppose to a fast processed meal. I find that in this circumstance a healthier meal settles easier with me, although it would be easy to find the nearest drive through it is important to listen to what your body is demanding. I keep Kind bars in my purse and always have water on me.

Skipping meals is a sure way to guarantee a migraine. For me it is important to have meals prepped or planned for the week, otherwise it can be very time consuming to keep my stomach satisfied. Sundays I prepare my go to meals for the week and stock my fridge. I avoid buying anything with high sugar content, like candy because I do notice that high sugar foods trigger migraines for me. Another item you wont find in my shopping basket is alcohol. My body does not process alcohol well and I almost always get a migraine after a drink or two. If I am going to drink, I limit myself to ciders, but ultimately it’s not really worth the migraine.  

Staying hydrated is crucial! I’m sure you have read that before but here are some tips! On a bad migraine day my nausea makes staying hydrated very difficult, I’m often not hungry and can’t work up an appetite or keep anything down. On those days staying hydrated is even more important, so I stock up on Gatorade and Pediasure and make sure I substitute hunger with those vitamin packed drinks. Make sure they are ice cold for maximum relief! Recently I have tried juicing, not as a substitute for food but as a way to get something substantial in my stomach on days I struggle to eat. I’ve also tried ResQ water, which is meant to be an anti-hangover drink. I use it as a way to keep hydrated and fill up my stomach with nutrients and vitamins.  On days where solids are hard to keep down I like to have soup and fresh fruit if I can manage, usually towards the evening when my stomach gets hungry for real food.

I have previously tried going Gluten Free for a couple months and noticed little change. I am open to elimination diets and more comprehensive allergy testing as I continue with my migraine journey. My doctors have recommended Integrative Medicine as a way to identify what my body processes and what takes more energy to digest. I am working to research Integrative Medicine more and have found insurance may not cover, so it is a financial commitment.

Most importantly, learn to listen to your body. Don’t hush the first signs of hunger or thirst; nourish your body so it can serve you well.


Have a Migraine-free day!


Olivia Rehberger (LivDelReh)