What Foods Do You Gravitate Towards During A Migraine Attack?

What Foods Do You Gravitate Towards During A Migraine Attack?

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.

Sparkling water

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.”

A jacket potato

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.”

French fries

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.”

Chicken noodle soup

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.”

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.

Be sure to also read Kyky’s original article titled, Migraine Meals: What I Eat When I Feel Like I Can’t Eat.

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?

Comments

View Comments (9)
  • Sherrell
    8 months ago

    I go for bread or crackers. This is odd, as I am usually gluten free, but it’s the only thing that doesn’t make the nausea worse. Animal crackers are the best! Saved me when I was pregnant as well. I drink hot water and coffee.

  • Rowena
    8 months ago

    Something very salty like crisps, pringles etc. The “junkier” it is, the better. Then a small glass of milk. But that won’t make it go, it’ll just reduce it slightly. I’ll still have to take Zomig.

  • greeneyednanny
    8 months ago

    I know that if at all possible, I need to eat and drink during a migraine as dehydration intensifies the pain/discomfort. Water, which I love, tastes ‘off’ to me during a migraine so I drink ginger ale. I literally live off this along with saltines, chicken soup w/crackers or chicken flavored ramen noodles. Those items seems to be the only ones I can tolerate when the nausea is persistent. Also, a twangy flavored hot tea (usually herbal type) seems to help keep the nausea at by.

  • Snafu6995
    8 months ago

    for some reason, Red Bull seems to ease my stomach when its not to bad but mine are refactory for others this means its just a matter of how bad it is but its always there normally at a level of a 4 to 5 when it ramps up to 7 or 8 I can for the most part still function a but at a 10 im done either in the hospital or the fetal position in bed with a bucket.

    meds I have: IM ketorolac 60mg 2cc
    IM Promethazine 25mg 1cc
    IM Benadryl 50mg 1cc
    IM Dilaudid 4mg 1cc
    IM Sumatripion 6mg 1cc
    po ibprophen 550 mg 1 tab take 2 tabs after anti-nausea meds kick in… this works if I catch it before a 7 after an 8 or 9 its to the ER I go or 2 to 3 days of hell, for the most part, this keeps me out of the er if not the cocktail is the same but IV with a steroid allergic to morphine and Reglan and pcn IV dye and contrast

  • AmyBritt
    8 months ago

    Other than Aimovig and Botox, nothing has ever helped with my migraine pain. I find that if I am not completely nauseous, eating carbs actually deadens the migraine pain slightly. My theory is that putting food in the stomach diverts the blood from the extremities and head to the core, deadening the headache somewhat.

  • Marg-raine
    8 months ago

    The nausea so bad I cant eat usually but to fight the feeling it is ‘salt’ I put a piece of rock salt in my mouth and let dissolve.

  • Darwin's Knickers
    8 months ago

    I am saved by citrus water. I put 1/4 a lemon into 92 oz of water, add ice and i can hydrate in almost the worst condition. Frozen fruit (as you said) is also very helpful but inactivity has brought a bit of extra weight so the water is my main source of cold defense against dehydration. ….. Side note: I can go to the local bulk store and buy almost pure lemon juice (used in cooking) at less than 5.00 a gallon. I put 1 teaspoon in 92 oz of ice water and it has the same affect. Bad part is that after 10 years of migraine my teeth are showing signs of accelerated decay. But the choice of remedies was made by availability and my illness.

  • tammay
    8 months ago

    I actually just finished with a 4 day migraine attack so I can answer this one accurately. I usually (especially lately) get nausea so go-to foods for me are lemon ginger tea, saltines, toast with cream cheese, and soup. Off-limits are anything that is heavy especially dairy.

    Tam

  • Joleen1966
    8 months ago

    Hot decaf tea with milk, carbs for sure – a bagel with a little butter! I do have to be very careful to get in some protein. Most times I can tolerate a pb and jelly sandwich. Just eaten very slowly.

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