Identifying Migraines Triggers: Part 2

June 15, 2015

What it feels like to have MS
Why We Crave Sugar
Going Gluten Free
Now Trending:
I'm alene!

I’m Alene, Nutrition Coach and your MS sister. I created this online haven to empower you to heal and inspire you to thrive with MS! Make yourself at home and become a regular!


Become an Empowered Patient

Yes, Empower Me!

Go into your appointments feeling focused and confident so you can collaborate with your doctor.

Are you scratching your throbbing head as to what is triggering those awful migraines? While the direct cause is still a little foggy in the mind of researchers, the food on your plate could reveal many culprits.

With millions of migraine sufferers in the United States alone, the triggers and level of tolerance can vary, but here’s a look at the most common foods trigger.

1.     Caffeine

Caffeine can be just as much of a friend as it is a foe. In the short term a little caffeine may be good to kick a looming migraine, but regular or excessive consumption could be actually bringing on more migraines.

Swap: Even decaffeinated coffee and tea still contains a small level of caffeine, opt for an herbal tea instead.

2.     Chocolate

Caffeine and other ingredients in chocolate often contribute to a not-so-sweet side effect when it comes migraines.

(Check out the migraine that started with a kiss.)

Swap: Carob may be a better option to satisfy those chocolate cravings.

3.     Nuts

Whole nuts as well as nut butters and milks can trigger migraines, but because this is a broader category it’s valuable to test nuts individually. For those that prove to be triggers, pay special attention to the ingredients of baked goods and sauces such as pesto or the oil in which some foods are cooked that can be nut-based.

Swap: Test out some of the nut-free alternative butters and milks.

4.    Preservatives

Add migraine-trigger to the long list of reasons to minimize processed food in your diet. Nitrates and MSG can be among the worst. Nitrates can be found in lunch meats, bacon, sausage and hot dogs and monosodium glutamate (MSG) is commonly found in Chinese food, Ramen noodles, soy sauce as well as many processed foods and seasonings.

Swap: Look for more natural versions and “preservative-free” labels or choose fresh, whole foods to avoid these preservatives all together.

5.     Artificial sweeteners  

They may be lower in calories, but fake sweeteners can cause real pain in your head. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin have found their way into countless products so it’s important to read labels – especially those touting to be low calorie or low fat such as diet beverages, soups, low fat yogurts and salad dressings, and even gum.

Swap: Enjoy a homemade dressing, soups or when out, go for the original product and just enjoy a smaller portion.

It can be a time-consuming process to identifying your personal food triggers, but eliminating these common culprits could put you on the road to more migraine-free days a lot faster.

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

so hot right now

I'm Alene, your MS Sister.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, I was scared and felt alone. But as a Nutrition Coach, I knew there was more to healing than what I was being told. I took action and within six months the lesions I had on my brain shrunk and went inactive. Now, seven years later there has been no new lesions and no new activity. As a nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis, I help women take back control of their future.

That’s my story, but I’m not alone. It's your turn to start Thriving with MS. I’m here to show you the way. 

hey there!

What's the Best Diet for Autoimmune Disease

get it now

Blog Post

Letter to My Newly Diagnosed Self

read it

Blog Post

 Top MS Nutrition Resources

Snag My MS Wellness Tracker

This tracker simplifies life with MS by helping to keep you on track with your food, sleep and movement.

Free guide

MS Wellness Tracker

I’m Alene, nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis and your MS sister. I created this online haven to empower you to heal and inspire you to thrive with MS!

Alene Brennan

© alene Brennan, LLC 2023  |  Policies  | 





follow along 
on Instagram:

  Medical Disclaimer