What Foods Do You Gravitate Towards During A Migraine Attack?
Last updated: May 2023
Everyone who’s had a migraine knows how debilitating they are. Worst still is that the nausea can be so bad that eating at all during an episode is simply not possible! But it seems most sufferers have found a handful of go-to foods to sustain them while the migraine runs its course.
So, we posed the question on the Migraine.com Facebook page to find out which foods you gravitate toward when you have a migraine attack. From fruit to French fries, the answers were diverse. Nearly 100 of you weighed in on what you nosh on when nauseous.
Here’s what some had to say.
What drinks do you have to stay hydrated?
Hydration generally helps any ailment, but especially a migraine. As the community knows, migraines can be triggered by dehydration, so remembering to stay hydrated on a regular basis is a great start. And if you are already feeling nauseous, hydrating is still a great help to your body, so find which non-caffeinated drinks work for you.
“I generally drink a lot of water but I can’t drink water when I am nauseated, if I do I bring it back up but sparkling water is fine. I also drink watered down Gatorade, ginger tea, ginger ale and I always have popsicles in the freezer.”
“I am lucky that after 33 years I don’t get nauseous very much anymore, but when I do, club soda with coconut water does the trick.”
Which simple starches do you have?
A lot of you said that simple carbs fit the bill, getting calories to settle a hungry stomach, while not ingesting anything acidic or spicy to upset your stomach. Plus, there’s something comforting about simple, starchy foods.
“During migraines, I eat Shredded Wheat, baked potatoes, and plain oatmeal.”
“The only thing I could stomach the idea of was a jacket potato. I ended up having a jacket sweet potato.”
Do you crave French fries during a migraine?
It makes sense that several of you named French fries as your go-to migraine food. For some migraine sufferers, dehydration or strenuous exercise leaves you feeling imbalanced, and you need the salt to get your electrolytes back to normal. Plus, who doesn’t love French fries?
“French fries! Every time. I crave them so bad, and they are the only things I can eat without feeling disgusting! Sometimes they actually help to settle my stomach! During the periods of severe attacks I will end up eating them every day and it will be the only thing I have. My friends keep telling me I should find a healthier substitute but I seriously couldn’t care less. If it makes me feel even slightly better then it’s worth the extra salt and fat!”
“When I finally feel like eating again, I want all the salty foods. Like Subway and a Cherry Coke, or Wendy’s spicy chicken with French fries.”
Which soups do you find soothing?
A lot of you said soup, namely chicken or miso. Although a few of you mentioned that it’s hard to find off-the-shelf chicken noodle soups that don’t contain MSG. One way around those additives would be to try the hot soup bars at local grocery stores, some of which even list every ingredient in what they serve. Or, on a good day, make a big batch and freeze single servings in Tupperware, ready to go.
“One of my go-tos is Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, probably a holdover from childhood, but it also contains salt, chicken broth and other restoratives.”
“I used to always keep chicken noodle soup on hand, but it’s very hard to find any commercially prepared that doesn’t have MSG or yeast extract.”
Do you crave ice cream?
For some, the freezing effect of ice cream is soothing for the head. Not to mention, ice cream, with its sugar and fat, is one of the most instantly comforting foods on the planet.
“For a milder migraine, ice cream. And for the worst, ice cream. The relative nirvana of brain freeze is the goal—to mask the pain some. Artificial sweeteners must be avoided.”
“I tend to crave ice cream and frozen fruit, like I’m trying to freeze out the migraine from the inside. I’ll sit and eat frozen fruit until my mouth is numb but it’s just so good! Oh and has to be the strawberries/mango/pineapple (and sometimes peaches) mix.”
We want to extend a big thank you to the community for dishing on what foods work for them. Hopefully, readers find a few more foods to try that leave them feeling full and well.
Let's keep the conversation going! Share with us in the comments below. Is food off limits for you during an attack? If not, what are your go-to's?
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?