Salt - food triggers revisited

OK, does anyone have trouble with salt as a migraine trigger??? I recently have been told by 3 other (middle aged) women that they know that adding salt to their diet or ingesting too high of a level of salt triggers migraines. I finally found some information online about that but it’s all been rather offhand and not very specific other than salt causing obvious vascular swelling. I find this interesting since I’ve never been a heavy salt person anyway, so I’m not sure what has changed for me, but now I don’t think I can even cook with the stuff AT ALL. Sheesh.

Ironically enough, when I got my misdiagnosis # 7 of Meniere’s, the first thing that was restricted was SALT plus I was given a prescription of a diuretic. And, the foods that are on the Meniere’s diet are also included in the migraine diet as well. Maybe Buchholz is right that Meniere’s should be included under the migraine umbrella afterall.
Maybe salt is one of the hidden triggers that some of you newbies have been struggling with but didn’t know it… Just saying.

i thought i had meniere’s too up until last month so i always avoided salt but it always made me retain water esp with hormones so i have tried to watch salt.

ii get sooooo frustrated just when i think i’ve avoided most of the triggers then i find another list that has different triggers!

these migraine triggers are driving me crazy. i thought i was eating safe stuff - i thought rice and apples were not on the list or chicken i found this site that said
Studies show that ingestion of the following foods or substances may induce migraine headaches in susceptible individuals.

Apple, banana, grapes, melon, peach, strawberries, avocado, citrus fruits, pineapple, raspberry, red plum

Carrots, corn, onion, tomato, potato, cabbage, eggplant, pickles, spinach

Black eyed peas, peanuts, pinto beans, soy, broad beans

All types

Oats, rice, rye, wheat

Animal Products:
Beef, cheese, chicken, cow’s milk, egg, fish, goat’s milk, pork, wieners
Aged Meats, canned or smoked fish, cheese, chicken or beef liver, dry pork & beef sausage, egg white, pickled herring, sour cream

Coffee, tea, wine (esp. red), beer, and other types of alcohol

Cane sugar, chocolate

Benzoic acid, MSG, tartrazine

Fried foods, garlic, yeast and yeast extracts, fermented foods, Marmite, sauerkraut, soy sauce, vinegar

guess this list is a little bit much and Dr. Bucholz “Heal your Headache” list sounds more like it i think. im still tryng to figure mine out.

it’s sooooo hard


Chris… yah, welcome to my new world. I have been wondering about apples, grapes (afterall wine is made from them?), peaches, maybe oats… not sure. The list you first posted is definitely one that is inclusive of food allergies. Oh, geez. However, the Buchholz list does go easy on the onion section, garlic, young cheeses, tomato sauces and some other things. I know a few people who cannot eat raw tomatoes who cannot eat raw tomatoes but can eat tomato sauce. I’m not sure I can have anything tomato-ish. Too scared to try again. Last time was a disaster but now I’m wondering if it was the salt. That’s why I’m glad to be on a preventative med since they usually can offset some of the food triggers a bit but I still need to work on this more. I sure hope carrots are not on my own personal one. Hoo boy.

Hi M&E,

Salt is fine for me as far as I know. I can eat salted chips (fries) and no reaction. I salt most foods but just a little. However, if they are seasoned with chicken salt or some other strange seasoning, I’m toast.


well i have to keep figuring out if i have any triggers or not and eat everything in moderation for sure like you said Scott. I will try to avoid the big triggers that they talk about in Buccholz book for sure - i love cheese though!!! :frowning:


Salt doesn’t seem to be a problem for me either. I’m actually trying to increase my salt now because it appears I may have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Increased salt and fluids is recommended for that condition.

I just had dinner at Chili’s with my husband. I had corn chips (more than I can usually get by with), ribs (dry rub no BBQ sauce), salad/no dressing with some cheese and tomatoes in it (though I ate around them as best I could). So far so good. However, I did raise my topamax by 15 mg. starting yesterday. Now taking 75 mg. daily. Don’t know if there’s a connection or not. I will know tomorrow morning for sure. Ugh. Food triggers.

I think salt is a trigger for me but as with a lot of stuff with this disease I’m not 100% sure. I’ve been on a low salt diet and diuretic for a couple of years. Most of my severe vertigo attacks have happened in the early AM sleeping hours, but the two that have occured in the evening wakening hours happened shortly after eating supper. And these two occasssions just happened to be occassions in which I put salt on my food, something I rarely do. Yes, there were other times I put salt on my food in the last two years and I didn’t get vertigo but since I so rarely do add salt I just thought it was strange that 2 out of the maybe 20 times I did add salt, I got vertigo afterwards. I don’t know if there is a connection or not but it scared me enough that I never add salt anymore.

My neuroT said I do not have Meniere’s, stop the diuretic and it’s okay to put salt on my food. I believed him and wham bam, two vertigo attacks in a month. I’m now back on the diuretic and low salt. I asked my PCP, how can this be? He tells my I don’t have MM, but instead have MAV, yet lo salt and diuretic seem to help. Doc said MM isn’t the only condition helped by a diuretic/losalt. I forgot to ask him what else this helps.

I’m post menopausal but if you’re still of a good young age, the salt will help retain flluids during your period with may cause a migraine.

It’s hard to figure all this out, isn’t it?


Salt doesn’t seem to trigger my MAV-type responses. I do limit its intake, though, because of hypertension.

Well, Book… I’m a younger post-menopausal. I really don’t know what has happened to me this past three years. I think it’s really a complex combination of things involving my neck, salt, and food triggers/food intolerances/food allergies. So, it’s been very stressful lately to take it all in and then get it more under control. David is right that hypertension is one condition that is helped by lowered salt in addition to Meniere’s (supposedly). It really is a lot to handle and somehow I’m trying to get enthusiasm up for the holidays.