What can trigger Migraines?

Triggers of Migraine I Berwick Family Osteopathy

What foods can help migraines and what are some known food triggers?

Triggers of Migraine I Berwick Family Osteopathy

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There is a lot of confusing information out there about migraines and migraine food triggers. Here is a quick guide to try to help you understand the relationship of migraines and food triggers.


If you dive into google deep enough you will find hundreds of migraines triggers reported. But here are some common evidence based food related ones:

  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) also known as glutamic acid, or just glutamate. Most foods that mention yeast extract will contain MSG
  • Artificial sweeteners
    • Caffeine (more than 2 servings per day or taken inconsistently)
  • Aged cheeses  and sour cream
  • Meats – those that are aged, smoked, fermented or highly processed
  • Dried fruit
  • Beer and Red wine
  • Excessive sugar intake or low blood sugar

Migraine I Berwick Family Osteopathy

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What about chocolate?

Many people report chocolate as a migraine trigger although when tested it doesn’t seem to bring on attacks. It is believed that people crave chocolate a few hours before a migraine attack so it often falsely gets the blame as the trigger. If you still believe that chocolate triggers you then it’s still best to avoid it.

Some helpful foods

There are lots of nutrients that have shown some benefit to those with migraines. Magnesium (up to 50% of people with migraines are deficient), Omega 3, riboflavin (B2) and potassium, are all potentially beneficial. Here are some foods worth adding to your diet:

  • Salmon– high in omega 3
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacoa)- high in magnesium
  • Ginger and tumeric – natural anti-inflammatories
  • Sweet potatoes – beta carotenes (natural inflammatory) and high in potassium
  • Kale – there are no known triggers and it contains magnesium as well as omega 3
  • Quinoa – contains magneium, B2 and wont spike your blood sugars


Salmon and Migraine I Berwick Family Osteopathy

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Migraines triggers can be quite nuanced so it is best to see what works for you specifically. Talk to one of our osteopaths about other ways that we can help with migraines. Give us a call at Berwick Family Osteopathy and Spinal Clinic on (03) 9702 0094, or make an appointment online.

We can’t wait to see you in the clinic and help you with your health. 

Blog written by Dr Samuel Wilmann – Registered Osteopath.
Berwick Family Osteopathy & Spinal Clinic




The American Journal of Medicine, ISSN: 0002-9343, Vol: 132, Issue: 8, Page: 984-991

Mauskop, Alexander & Varughese, Jasmine. (2012). Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996). 119. 575-9. 10.1007/s00702-012-0790-2

Spriztler, F. “11 Amazing Health Benefits of Salmon.” Authority Nutrition (2017)

Abbey, M. J., Patil, V. V., Vause, C. V., & Durham, P. L. (2007). Repression of calcitonin gene-related peptide expression in trigeminal neurons by a Theobroma cacao extract. Journal of ethnopharmacology115(2), 238-48.

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