Headaches and Nutrition

A number of studies have investigated the dietary triggers for headaches. Estimates vary, but dietary triggers have been identified for the generation of migraine headaches in between 10 and 64 % of cases. The duration of the trigger event varies between food, with some occurring almost immediately and some taking perhaps 12 hours to manifest. Foods that might be able to trigger migraines include alcohol such as wine and beer, chocolate, caffeine, dairy products including aged cheese, food preservatives especially nitrites and nitrates, monosodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. As with all nutrition, the picture is complicated because the food that triggers the migraine might be different for individuals, and therefore the cases need to be investigated separately to identify individual foods for specific individuals. However, dehydration is perhaps the most overlooked nutritional cause of headaches, and in many cases relief can be sought by simply rehydrating the individual. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself


Arvola, T. and Holmberg-Marttila, D. 1999. Benefits and risks of elimination diets. Annals of Medicine. 31(4): 293-298

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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