Blog: What To Eat During a Migraine Attack

May 18, 2024

“I am having a Migraine attack; are there any foods that will help?”

Migraines can severely impact daily life, with some individuals facing attacks frequently. It's crucial to explore practical ways to facilitate eating during these episodes, even when nausea, high pain levels, or vertigo are present. Here are some suggestions to assist patients in managing migraines through nutrition:

  1. Prioritize Hydration: Encourage patients to stay hydrated with water, herbal teas, broths, or electrolyte solutions, even if they find it difficult to eat solid foods during an attack.
  2. Try Simple Smoothies: Recommend simple fruit smoothies as a convenient way to consume nutrients and stay nourished during a migraine episode.
  3. Consider Meal Replacement Shakes: Suggest meal replacement or protein shakes that patients may tolerate well, providing essential calories and protein.
  4. Explore Nausea-Relieving Foods: Ginger and peppermint are known for their potential to alleviate nausea and discomfort. Patients can try incorporating these into their diet during migraine attacks through teas and candies or chews.
  5. Try Cold Foods: Cold foods like Greek yogurt, ice cream, or popsicles can offer relief by soothing head pain and providing a refreshing sensation.
  6. Experiment with Pureed Soups: Some patients find pureed vegetable soups easy to tolerate during migraine attacks. Recommend keeping a batch in the freezer for convenient access.
  7. Know When to Skip Eating: If migraine attacks are short-lived (lasting only a couple of hours) and accompanied by severe nausea or vomiting, reassure patients that skipping a meal during the attack is acceptable. However, for prolonged migraines lasting 72 hours or more, it's essential to employ strategies to ensure adequate nourishment.
  8. Consider Caffeine for Acute Management: For individuals with episodic migraines, who don't consume caffeine daily, a cup of coffee can be used as an acute management tool to reduce the severity of migraine attacks.

In conclusion, while food alone may not be a cure for migraines, it can play a supportive role in managing symptoms for some individuals. Remember, migraine prevention and treatment require a personalized approach, and it's essential to help patients experiment to find what works best for them.

The Exam Room Nutrition Podcast has an entire episode dedicated to nutrition and migraine. Check out episode 31 | Migraine Management: Finding Relief with Food. You can listen here.

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