Avoiding some of the common food and drink triggers may help prevent migraine attacks, especially during times of increased vulnerability. If you are experiencing frequent migraine attacks or other migraine triggers, such as stress or menstruation, then controlling migraine food and drink triggers can sometimes help you avoid or decrease the severity of an attack.


  • Carob, chocolate, or cocoa

  • Diet drinks (all contain aspartame)

  • Energy drinks

  • Flavored coffee/creamers

  • Lemon/lime sodas

  • Liqueurs

  • Malt beverages

  • Sherry

  • Sports drinks with fruit triggers

  • Tea—all varieties

  • Wine or beer (including those that are alcohol-free)

Breads and cereals

  • All containing butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), yeast extracts, or other additives

  • Croutons (unless additive-free)

  • Doughnuts (unless additive-free)

  • Sour dough breads

  • Stuffing mixes

Dairy products

  • Buttermilk

  • Chocolate milk

  • Skimmed milk

  • Sour cream

  • Yogurt

  • Aged cheeses including: blue; boursault; brie; brick; camembert; cheddar; feta; gouda; jack; mozzarella; muenster; parmesan; provolone; roquefort; romano; stilton; swiss


  • All containing aspartame

  • All containing chocolate

  • All containing fruit triggers (see Fruit)

  • All containing nuts

  • Gelatin

  • Licorice

  • Maple syrup

  • Molasses


  • All over-ripe and dried fruit

  • Avocados

  • Bananas

  • Cantaloupe

  • Dates

  • Figs

  • Grapefruit

  • Grapes

  • Guava

  • Honeydew melon

  • Kiwis

  • Lemons

  • Limes

  • Mangoes

  • Nectarines

  • Oranges

  • Papayas

  • Pineapples

  • Plums

  • Prunes

  • Raisins

  • Tangerines

Meats and fish

  • Any meat or fish that contains tenderizer, soy sauce, soy products, nitrates, or yeast extracts.

  • Anchovies

  • Caviar

  • Corned beef

  • Dried game meat

  • Dried or canned ham

  • Dried/salted fish

  • Hot dogs

  • Liver

  • Meat extracts

  • Packaged meats

  • Pepperoni or salami

  • Pickled herring

  • Sardines

  • Sausage (fermented, containing nitrates and/or nitrites)

  • Snails

  • Tuna containing vegetable broth

  • Cured, fermented, pickled, or processed, smoked meats

Nuts and seeds and their oils

  • All nuts

  • Caraway seeds/oil

  • Flax seeds/oil

  • Peanut butter

  • Peanuts/oil

  • Poppy seeds/oil

  • Pumpkin seeds/oil

  • Sesame seeds/oil

  • Sunflower seeds/oil

Sauces, soups, and gravies

  • All bouillon cubes and soups

  • All broth (except homemade)

  • All canned and bottled gravies

  • All canned and bottled soups

  • All bottled sauces with monosodium glutamate

  • Sauces such as sweet and sour, worcestershire, soy, and teriyaki sauce

  • Ramen noodles

  • Wine vinegar


  • Beets

  • Fava beans

  • Garbanzo beans

  • Italian beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Lentils

  • Lima beans

  • Mushrooms

  • Navy beans

  • Onions (except flakes and powder)

  • Pickles

  • Pea pods

  • Pinto beans

  • Pole or broad beans

  • Rhubarb

  • Sauerkraut

Food additives

  • Aspartame

  • Autolyzed yeast

  • Beef flavoring

  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

  • Buylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

  • Carrageenan

  • Caseinate

  • Corn starch or modified corn starch

  • Flavor(s) or flavoring(s)

  • Gelatin

  • Glutamate or glutamic acid

  • Guar gum

  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)

  • Hydrolyzed soy protein

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)

  • Kombu extract

  • Malt: barley/extract/flavoring

  • Maltoxdextran

  • Modified food starch

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

  • Natural flavoring

  • Seasoned salts (unless contain spices without additives)

  • Soy or soy products

  • Soy lecithin

  • Sulfites

  • Smoke flavoring

  • Seasoning(s)/salts

  • Tenderizer

  • Whey or whey protein

  • Vegetable oil with soy

  • Yeast extract

Packaged food

Prepackaged food usually contains additives but not always. Check mints, toothpaste, sugarless gum, and any food with “sugarless” on the label, medications, and all diet and “low” fat foods for aspartame. Additives are often found in make-up, lipstick, and lotions as well.

The following packaged food may contain additives:

  • Commercial salad dressings and mayonnaise

  • Flavored potato chips

  • Frozen foods (lunch or dinner entrees)

  • Health bars and drinks

  • Multivitamins

  • Packaged or frozen meals

  • Pizza (commercial)

  • Pickled, preserved, or marinated food

  • Protein powders (unless rice or egg protein only)

  • Weight loss powders

  • Weight loss prepared foods and supplements

  • Bottled sauces (with aspartame, MSG, soy)

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