8 Snacks to Try When You Have a Migraine

Sometimes medicine isn’t enough. Here are some suggestions for what to eat and drink when you are having a migraine.

8 Snacks to Try When You Have a Migraine

By Charlotte Falkner Published at December 20 Views 8,230 Comments 1 Likes 1

You may know your personal migraine triggers, but most migraine sufferers are not aware that certain foods and drinks may actually help relieve their migraine pain. Try these out next time you have a headache and see if they reduce your migraine intensity or duration.

1. Water

One of the most common causes of migraine onset is simple dehydration. Yes, this is a no-brainer, but drinking enough water is probably the best thing you can do to both prevent and relieve migraines. A word of caution though: while some people can get migraine relief from sports drinks, some contain ingredients like MSG that could trigger, or worsen, headaches. Tea, coffee, milk, and juice are not bad alternatives, but it is best to stay safe and stick with plain water.

2. Salads

Any leafy green will do, and the darker the better. Spinach is best not only for its water content, but because it contains magnesium—a nutrient that helps lower blood pressure naturally and which may reduce the duration and pain of a migraine. And if your digestive system has difficulty with roughage, cooking your spinach will make it easier to digest. Both cooked and raw versions could help relieve migraines.

3. Caffeinated drinks

If your migraines are caused by vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels), caffeine can potentially reduce the size of your blood vessels and stem the pain from your migraine. Drinks like coffee are especially effective because they also contain allergy-fighting histamines, known to help if your migraine is caused by seasonal allergies. If you don’t know whether your migraines are due to vasodilation or vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels), consider keeping a migraine journal to help you identify your food and drink triggers.

4. Whole-grain toast with almond butter and bananas

While most sources will tell you that this carb and fat combination is terrible for you, some people find it is a miracle worker when it comes to migraine relief. The carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, and fats in this snack might knock your migraine out of commission almost immediately, since each ingredient by itself has migraine-reducing properties.

5. Potatoes (maybe)

Many migraine sufferers find that potatoes (with potassium-rich skin included) can provide relief from migraine symptoms. As a bonus, potatoes may also relieve nausea brought on by headaches. However, this is where your knowledge of your personal migraine triggers is useful: some people report that members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes included) actually cause their migraines instead of preventing or relieving them.

6. Turkey salad with almonds

Though this snack is a little more complex and requires some preparation, some say it is a migraine-reducing powerhouse. Both turkey and almonds contain tryptan, a known migraine reliever. And if you add a little real mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt to your salad, your nerve cells can benefit from their fats and calcium as well. Turkey and almonds are also great by themselves if you are having a migraine—especially the almonds, which not only deliver tryptan, but also magnesium and serotonin to help lessen the pain in your head. But, as with the nightshade family above, be aware that nuts are a common migraine trigger food for some people.

7. Watermelon

There is possibly nothing more refreshing than cold watermelon when you have a migraine. Not only will its water content help rehydrate your thirsty cells, but it is also unlikely to irritate your digestive system. Watermelon is also versatile. Consumed frozen, fresh, or blended into smoothies or salads, you can eat it in the ways you enjoy most to help staunch your headache pain. Cucumbers, too, have been found to help in the same way.

8. Salmon

This nutrient-rich fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that may help to banish migraine pain. Omega-3s pack a wallop against inflammation-related migraines (as do olive oil, avocados, and sardines) by relieving and protecting your nerve cells. Additionally, these foods may play a role in reducing blood pressure, which is another common cause of migraines.

As with almost everything migraine-related, there is no one solution that works for everyone. Learn to track and identify your own migraine triggers, and then pay attention to what helps ease your pain. Once you find foods that work, try to have access to those snacks for emergencies.

Please share your experiences with migraines below. Have you found any particular food or drink that works to relieve your migraines? How did you discover it? What other ways have you found to deal with your migraines?

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