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If you are experiencing migraine headaches, you might benefit from modifying your diet. Migraines can be triggered by foods. Common food-related headache triggers include: chocolate, caffeine, nitrite-preserved meats (processed lunch meat), aged cheese, dried fruits that contain sulfites, broad beans (such as soybeans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and lupins), monosodium glutamate (MSG), and excessive salt. Avoiding these foods might lead to fewer or less painful headaches. Keep a headache diary and track your meals to identify patterns and triggers. 

These foods have been known to trigger migraine headaches:


Candy, foods, drinks, syrup

Sugar (in excess)

Candy, cookies, cake, sweets, pop

Ripened Cheeses

Cheddar, brick, mozzarella, Gruyere, Emmentaler, Stilton, Brie, Camembert, Boursalt

Dairy products

Milk, ice cream, cheese

Alcoholic beverages

Beer, red wine, sherry, liquor

Fruits and their juices

Bananas, plantain, avocado, figs, passion fruit, raisins, pineapple, oranges, and other citrus fruits


Onions, broad bean pods (lima, navy, pea), nuts, peanut butter

Fermented, pickled,
marinated foods

Herring, sour cream, yogurt, vinegar

Yeast products

Yeast extracts, hot fresh breads, raised coffee cakes, donuts

Meats with nitrites

Bologna, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, pastrami, bacon, sausage, canned ham, corned beef, smoked fish


Salad bars, shrimp, soft drinks

Monosodium glutamate

Chinese foods, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, instant foods (canned soup, TV dinners), processed meats, roasted nuts, potato chips


Soft drinks, diet foods


Coffee, tea, cola


Stay Hydrated

Drink a lot of water, juice or milk. You will know you are drinking enough when your urine is pale yellow or clear in color. Limit the number of carbonated and/or caffeinated beverages you drink.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.