Dietary

Migraine and Headache Diet Recommendations

Finding the right balance of diet, exercise and sleep is not easy; nonetheless, this is one of the most critical elements in maintaining long-term control over a headache condition. By offering education about these basic life functions, the Diamond Headache Clinic empowers our patients with knowledge that makes a difference in everyday life. Proactively making lifestyle changes and practicing healthy life functions help patients reduce and/or better manage their headache conditions.

Working On the Basics

During treatment, we focus on the following essentials:

  • Diet
    Studies have shown that strictly adhering to a “migraine elimination diet” can make a difference. This means removing all possible food-related headache triggers, including chocolate, aged cheeses, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, onions, broad beans, pickled and marinated foods, yeast products, meats with nitrites, foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate), NutraSweet® and caffeine. While these triggers don’t cause headache, they may provoke an attack.

    While we believe that adhering to a strict diet for migraines may be helpful, albeit difficult to follow, we also recommend the more general dietary guidelines below:

    • Eat breakfast every morning.
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables — raw, lightly cooked or dried. Bananas, watermelons, dates, mangoes, papaya and pineapple can increase your energy levels as fast as any candy bar. Carrots and potatoes are also quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.
    • Unless allergic, consume small amounts of nuts and seeds every day.
    • Incorporate whole grains, brown rice, whole-grain bread, corn flakes and shredded wheat into your daily diet.
    • Get adequate protein from lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, beans and peanut butter.
    • Drink six 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
    • Take a multivitamin every day.
    • Limit fried and high-fat foods, highly processed foods like candy bars and chips, and stimulants such as caffeine.
    • Avoid alcohol and tobacco use.
    • Avoid beverages containing caffeine.

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  • Exercise
    • Regular exercise decreases fatigue and improves sleep patterns.
    • Even light exercise increases energy levels.
    • Increase your heart rete for at least 20 minutes during exercise. Aerobic activity boosts energy and helps the body release toxins.
    • Refrain from lying down immediately after a meal. This often leads to heartburn or indigestion.
    Sleep
    • Maintain a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
    • Do not oversleep.
    • Reduce noise in your bedroom or create soothing “white noise” by using a fan.
    • Keep a moderate temperature in your bedroom. Don’t let it get too hot or cold.
    • Eat a snack before bedtime.
    • Do not drink caffeinated beverages before going to bed.
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