Food and Lifestyle Journaling -Tracking Migraine Triggers

Keeping a food diary can reveal information that will be helpful in determining what triggers your migraines. Keep a designated notepad, food diary or app with you at all times. Write your symptoms down as they occur; do not rely on your memory.

Use any format you feel comfortable with but be sure to include all of the following details:

  • Foods you ate- don’t forget to include foods you use sparingly (ketchup, soda, cream in coffee, salad dressing). If you’ve had leftovers, be sure to make note of it, as some have higher tyraminecontent and could be the cause of your migraine
  • Estimate portion sizes consumed
  • Time of day
  • Where you ate the food — at your desk, restaurant, home, car, employee cafeteria? This information may provide clues to triggers, such as whether there was fluorescent or flickering lighting at the employee cafeteria, or drinking coffee with a meal. It could be an environmental factor of an occasional food or beverage that triggers your migraine.
  • Who you ate with — alone, family, friend, co-worker?
  • How you felt at the time. Tired? Maybe you slept in or didn’t get enough sleep —this could be your migraine trigger — mood matters!! Were you feeling happy, sad?
  • What you were doing while you ate - reading a paper, watching TV, working at your computer or just eating?
  • Date and day of week — your weekday habits may be different from weekends.

Consider joining to gain access to their migraine journal section. The migraine journal can become your document for tracking symptoms, triggers, & medicines. This will become valuable if you choose to seek medical attention to diagnose and treat your migraines.

Helpful Hints:

  • Be Honest!!
  • Make recording your symptoms easy, whether it’s on your iPad, smart phone, note pad or home made form — keep it with you.
  • Be timely — you will forget details later, so write them down as they happen. Stay motivated to document a quality data log.

By tracking and trending your foods, events, and symptoms, you’ll become a successful detective in determining your migraine triggers.


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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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