I see a lot of different anti-migraine diets on the web, what is the most reliable version please. Thanks! Diana.


There really is no “one migraine diet fits all”. Everyone seems to be able to handle one food that someone else cannot. As a rule of thumb however, these rules seem to apply to most migraineurs:

(1) Regular schedule – every day should look like every other day; regular meals and don’t skip; regular sleep and enough of it; some regular exercise (even if it’s just a walk to the end of the block and back again).

(2) General medical “tune-up” – migraine symptoms are more likely to flare if there are other medical/physiological stresses on your system. Migraineurs should work with their other medical professionals if necessary to get control of other health problems, such as allergies, thyroid, blood pressure, blood glucose, hormones, etc.

(3) Migraine diet – there are many foods that are potential migraine triggers. The joke about a migraine diet: make a list of all the foods you like … you can’t have them! The simple way to remember a migraine diet: eat ONLY fresh food. You can eat fruits, vegetables or meats. You can cook your food. But all food must be prepared fresh when you want it. If you do this, you are pretty well on the migraine diet. The list of “Thou Shalt Nots” is long and sad:

  • nothing aged, cured, pickled, or fermented (cheese, beer, wine, alcohol, vinegar, soy sauce, yogurt, sour cream)
  • no caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate)
  • no artifical sweeteners/sugar substitutes (especially aspartame)
  • no nitrites (deli meats – proscutto, pepperoni, salami, etc)
  • no sulfites (red wine, dried fruits – raisins, apricots, etc)
  • no nuts
  • no MSG (monosodium glutamate – take-out Chinese food, and virtually every packaged food in the grocery store – usually listed as “natural flavour additives,” not MSG, in the ingredients label)

Scott 8)

Thanks Scott, i saw that list quoted from a doctor and have been following his fresh food directive. The thing I am confused about is that I also read elsewhere that I should be avoiding some fresh foods, like bananas and mushrooms. Now I feel afraid to eat them.

Diana, finding any consistency with the diet and triggers has been an impossible task for me…I really monitored it for 8 weeks and still couldnt figure mine out…I’m not even sure I have any foods that I have to avoid!!!

I think if theres any really obvious ones you’ll work them out quickly but otherwise you may never know


Scott, are sulfites really the main issue with dried fruits?
I thought sulfites sped up the formation of tyramine, but it was intrinsic to the nature of figs, grapes, etc. to have dangerously high levels of tyramine when dried.
BTW, what do you make of the Journal of Food Composition & Analysis review paper, Tyramine in foods & MAOI drugs, 19 (2006) S58-S65 that pops up on searches for USDA + Tyramine?