Food Triggers and Migraines

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Recurrent headaches are not much different. They are almost always the result of nutritional folly and, like other reasons that keep doctors' offices busy, are completely avoidable.

The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.1

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.

15 Common Migraine Triggers
sweetsdairy and cheesesalted or pickled foods
fermented foodschocolatevinegar
pizzasmoked meatsalcohol
monosodium glutamatenutsfood additives
yeasthydrolyzed proteinbaked goods

1. Diamond, S. 1995. Migraine headache: recognizing its pecularities, precipitants and prodomes. Consultant, August, 1190-95.

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Sylvia Larson - May 3, 2006 10:55 AM

Dr. Fuhrman:
I am interested in your book: Eat and Live, but I would like it in printed form. I have only seen it in E-Book form. Is that the only format you have? My computer is not real reliable or accessible at home and I cannot download at work. Please advise.
Sylvia Larson

row - May 4, 2006 12:44 AM

A friend of mine had 25-30years of servere migrains, most of her adult life. Finally after seeing many doctors and trying many different medications,the only thing that was left was to learn to live with the migrains, those were the words of the last doctor. Only when there was no hope left did she finally read dr joel fuhrmans "Eat to live" and his book on "fasting". In a matter of a few months her migrains had stopped following dr fuhrmans advice.
She would never listern to me in the past because she had always had the best doctors and the lastest advice they had to offer. She has completely change her way of eating ,She nows lives headache-free and is a much happier person.

anet - May 7, 2006 8:46 AM

Sylvia, I have read and re-read Eat To Live. I have bought 20 copies in the last couple of years and gave them out to people that showed interest in my way of eating. It is the best referenced book on nutrition that I have ever read. It changed my whole approach to nutrition.
You know how Gidean's put New Testament's in every hotel room? If I could, I would put a copy of ETL in every hospital and physician office waiting room.

Katherine Jacobson Soto - May 19, 2006 10:18 AM

Will progesterone cream help with the hormone headaches? I've tried everything else, including the healthy diet as perscribed. I'm a 44-year-old female, who is otherwise doing great. I've got the headaches down to 3-4 per month instead of twice a week. But, I want to do better.

Joel Fuhrman - May 22, 2006 8:59 AM

The next step is to increase your consumption of cruciferous vegetables, not progesterone cream. Have a glass of carrot juice or tomato juice with at least one ounce of some kale or watercress juiced in. Have my high cruciferous soups, and follow the high cruciferous recipes in my November 2004 newsletter. The extra isothiocyanates will help your hormone balance and favor detoxification. Join the member center at DrFuhrman.com (http://tinyurl.com/ajsjy) to learn more and be able to communicate with me about your problem.

Jill Fremont - March 10, 2012 10:21 PM

Dr. Fuhrman,

After the birth of my second child, I started experiencing daily dizziness. I was recently diagnosed with Migraine Associated Vertigo. I get the auras such as visual disturbances, vertigo/dizziness, and other neurological effects of migraine, but rarely get the pain. I was wondering if you thought that your program/books would be helpful with this particular ailment. Thank you for your response. I am assuming that if it is helpful with regular migraine events than it would also apply to the dizziness coming from migraine.

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