How much of a role does your diet play in your MAV?

I decided to post this topic in here just because there were so few posts in the Migraine Diet board. I have suffered from migraines/MAV for 15 years or so. Not all migraines make me dizzy or cause vertigo spells. Thank God! :smiley: The only thing I had changed was my diet. I have had some migraines since, but they are less frequent and less severe. Maybe this is only a coincidence but I’m sticking to it. Maybe all of you have tried this before, but if you have not, I would DEFINITELY advise you to try it. I found that my biggest triggers seem to be processed foods containing MSG, Aspartame (Nutrasweet), Nitrates (found in hot dogs and processed meats) and to a small degree chocolate. I still eat small amounts of these founds (sometimes you can’t help it) but have really cut down and that seems to be making a huge difference.
Lastly, I also wanted to mention that one of the substances which I found aggravated my headaches was aspartame. The dissolvable Maxalt MLT tablets contain a trace amount of Aspartame and were giving me rebound headaches. I had my doctor switch me to the tablet version which does not contain aspartame and have not had a rebound headache from it since.

I’m the person who posted the last success story. I’m still doing great. Recently increased the Effexor to 75 mg to help with persistent headaches. I’m a dizzy survivor.
Anyway, after months of experimentation, I’ve found that diet does play a role in my MAV. I was hoping I could eat whatever I wanted when I got my meds just right, but that’s not the case. I eat very healthy now with extremely little fast food. I’ve had bad days (dizzy, worse balance, headache) after eating Chinese food three times, so I guess I have to nix the Chinese food. Also, I eat very little aged cheese. The few times I’ve eaten a few pieces of very cheesy pizza were followed by bad days. And I noticed that aspartame was immediately bad for me even when I was at my worst. I drink a lot of unsweetened flavored sparkling water (La Croix and Canada Dry brands). I used to be a diet Coke addict before all this started, but bye bye diet Coke.
I always bring my lunch to work, and I pay attention when I do eat out if I feel worse afterwards. My head has no problem with Chipotle burritos, for example. Had to nix the Chick-fil-A.
Onions may make me feel a little worse, but they’re in every darn thing so I pretend to not notice them and eat it anyway.

Yes, diet plays a massive role in keeping my head from going crazy. Like you I can’t avoid it sometimes and other times I just decide to eat the offending food anyway because I get sick of eating the same stuff. Foods I won’t go near at any time, however, are deli foods, aspartame, and anything with vinegar. I sometimes cave in and eat chocolate, cheese (small amounts), and the odd nut, and sometimes fruit too but I have to be in a good state.

Note too that by controlling other triggers, like sleep and keeping stress levels down, allows for more tolerance in eating the offending foods. That’s my experience anyway. Lastly, making lifestyle changes is fundamental in managing migraine as a first step –– which includes identifying food triggers and following other lifestyle mods.

This from Steve Rauch, MD:

(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).

Best … Scott 8)