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Living with Migraine

Nutrition and Health

  • By Joanna Bodner Keymaster

    When it comes to managing your migraines, what nutritional challenges do you have and/or have you faced? Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share? Are you able to drink and eat many of your favorite foods? How about physical activity, is it a trigger for you and/or have you been able to find ways to stay active if so?

    Lets get this discussion started and share with us what you would like to talk about when it comes to nutrition and health!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Thanks Joanna, great topic.

    I find staying gluten free has been pretty helpful. It seems I am able to eat a little gluten, but if I overdo, I will trigger a migraine attack. Drinking enough water is very important for me as well.

    I try and stay away from lunch meat and Chinese food with MSG!

    I recently started yoga, but haven’t seen a difference yet – I’ll keep you posted!

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  • By lisa c santa cruz

    hello ,
    i am constantly nauseated even when migraine is disssipating. i have mucus buildup and always blowing my nose or spitting. for 3 weeks i have not been able to eat square meals. weather patterns shifting dramatically for me this year. i tend to eat more veggies and protein in small amounts and REALLY try to curb sugar intake which is sometimes all i want or need to get me through. some gluten free foods work but rarely because they have so much sodium.
    i cook alot of my food especially dinnertime. i do not add seasonings and if i do it is totally organic and very few ingredients.
    going to the grocery is always an ordeal … i will spend a long time deciding what will not trigger a migraine. i am neurotic about food as you can read.
    holistic nutritional counseling is what i need. someone who specializes in migraine treatment. really it should be a practice all by itself .
    happy and healthy days to come.

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    • By GardensatNight

      As someone who is very sensitive to dietary triggers as well, in our house, we find that we have to prepare ALL my food from scratch. There is literally NOTHING my husband can buy for me premade at the grocery store, even crunchy granola stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. I mention this because you made a comment about gluten free having lots of sodium and that made me wonder if you were aware of all the hundreds of names MSG hides under, and what a huge migraine trigger that is. One day my husband tried to look at (I kid you not) every brand of bread to see if he could find ANY bread I could eat in Whole Foods. He couldn’t. We make my bread (then wait two days for the yeast to stop being a trigger), jelly, desserts, pasta at home. All meat is bought raw and cooked. Veggies/fruits raw then prepared. All dairy triggers migraine for me except salted butter. So, maybe you’re already doing this, but if you’re still really sick, I might consider restricting diet more even if temporarily and seeing if that’s it.

      Also, I don’t know what you take for allergy, but whennever I have a cold, I always have days of migraine. Obviously our poor little heads don’t like it when everything up there gets all inflamed. If you live somewhere humid, I have found a dehumidifier is nice for us to run during those muggy months (that seems to make my head annoyed, but everyone is different–my head gets annoyed by a lot–I feel better and sleep better when I’m dry). Weather changes are the devil for me, too.

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    • By rachel20

      I have been keeping a food journal and am finding that I have to make food from scratch in its basic forms to not get the beginnings which turn into full blown migraines. I am finding that aspertame and other fake sugars (except stevia) have made me either feel “hung over” or give me instant migraine. My poor husband can eat whatever he wants and feels bad because i can’t eat much of the food he can. He is very supportive but hasn’t had a migraine. I tried eating one meal that wasn’t something i made and am feeling the effects. I am so discouraged because it is getting close to thanksgiving/christmas time and im not sure if i can or should eat those holidays. that’s not including when i get invited to someone’s house and have to ask to see the package or as what’s in the food. This is all so new to me but over all seems to be helping. i have had less server migraines since i started watching my food closer.

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi rachel20,

      Thank you for the update! I am sorry you are running into so many food triggers, but happy you have been able to identify so many.

      Not all of us with migraine disease have food triggers, but for those of us who do (myself included) it can be challenging. I’ve also found my triggers, including food, change over time.

      Hopefully you’ll be able to cook a fairly trigger free Thanksgiving. This link has some information on how to handle it: https://migraine.com/?s=Thanksgiving&submit=Go.

      I hope that helps!
      Nancy

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  • By sharing_s_caring

    lisa c santa cruz

    First I’m not a health professional, I’m 65 and have lived with migraine since I was 9. So I’ve had a lot of time to learn to live with migraines.

    I’m betting that barometric pressure changes affect your migraine patterns as well as pollen. Unfortunately the weather connection can not be changed. For the nasal drainage and stomach upset, I’ve found that a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1-2 cups of water helps both the drainage and the stomach churning. Repeat every 4 hours or so. Sometimes I do this while taking my morning meds when I can’t face the one cup of coffee I allow myself each day. Saline nasal flush or one/both vapor misters for nose.

    Are you avoiding artificial sweet additives and foods? Eating fresh meat only? Protein held food are held cooked no more than 24 hours (freeze leftovers immediately after cooking)? No deli or sandwich foods? Have an established sleep pattern? Do not become dehydrated? Taking preventive meds? Take pain med proactively instead of holding out too long?

    At least try eating steamed vegetables instead of eating them raw. Yes, I know raw is supposed to be good for you but if you’ve already determined gluten is problematic, then your body’s allergic response has other issues also, and possibly the lining of your stomach. During certain periods I’ve eaten applesauce, loose watered mashed potatoes, and cream of chicken soup, ginger ale, crackers, nothing solid or raw until my system resets. Constipation doesn’t help if you have allergic food responses. Dairy can take up to 4 days or so to clear your system. Just saying…

    Ice at the back of my neck and heat on upper back helps. Cold wash cloth over eyes. Dark quiet cool room.

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  • By lisa c santa cruz

    thank you for the input… greatly appreciated . yes, finally started apple cider and the mucus was improving rapidly but could not handle while migraining… now i will add honey which i love. never have additives and i seldom to never eat raw foods. steamed has always been the best for me. i eat 90 %organic and seldom have dairy unless i am on a good streak. i live my life for my diet and my menses.
    weather is huge and thank you for noticing . migraine america has had wonderful articles pertaining to this topic.
    thank you ,lisa

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  • By lara948

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  • By elli

    Dear all,
    I am here to thank all of you and all of the people who have taken the time to write blogs such as this with so much information.
    I have suffered from migraines since childhood ( 6 yrs old onwards) and it was hell and more. I have always been a super healthy girl and athlete yet the migraines were crippling to the point to have to take prescription codeine of such high doses to cope with the pain every so many times a month to be drugged in bed for days unable to get up. this is no life for a healthy athletic full of life girl! or noone for the matter.
    However, luckily, someone observed a massive reaction i had when eating at a fast food chinesse restaurant and she pointed out that I may have MSG intolerance. once I got over it i started ot research and observe myself each time I had an attack, and what I ate. after years of observation Ive found out it was ALL MSG caused and now that I know I am severely MSG intolerant I have ZERO migraines as long as i dont accidentally eat anything that has it or its derivatives.
    How do i do it? well, ive always been super healthy as ive said and always cooked from scratch however, when i bought something proccessed like jam or cheese to make a sandwitch and it had the msg or derivatives, I fell really ill. So now i avoid it ALL and just always cook from scratch, natural things delicious things and i am MIGRAINE free. In fact, i dont have any other health problems at all, except the MSG intolerance which im trying to cure by taking pre and probiotics as i believe it is a mismanagement of the gut that allows for the intolerance ot develop. so I advice you all to take the time to cook from scratch always and see if all your migraines are gone as it has happened ot me. on one side its tedious and complicated yes but on the other one i am blessed to be MIGRAINE FREE forever as long as i can eat natural foods. By natural i dont mean naturally labeled, but actually natural foods, you would be able to eat in medieval times, fruits, veggies, eggs, and so on.
    thanks again for your information!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi elli,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I’m so glad you were able to narrow down such a strong migraine attack trigger and get rid of it! I know many of us, myself included, react strongly to MSG and it seems to be all around us. You probably already know this, but here is an article that lists many hidden sources of MSG: https://migraine.com/blog/locate-hidden-msg-migraine-triggers/.

    Keep us posted on your success!
    Nancy

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