4 Powerful Nutrients Help Prevent Migraines

There are certain foods and beverages that migraine sufferers can and should have more often. No food is a proven headache cure, but eating foods known to prevent the symptoms that lead to migraines (such as inflammation and dehydration) is a good start to getting on the road to a healthy, pain-free life.

Healthy Fats

Adding some healthy fats into your diet may help reduce inflammation, which is thought to exacerbate migraine pain. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are most concentrated in fatty fish, and the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil have both been shown to reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of headaches. I recommend eating fresh wild salmon high in omega-3s at least two times per week and adding other omega-3 foods (eggs fortified with omega-3 are a versatile choice) as a regular part of your diet. Try to use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter in your cooking and baking whenever possible.


Riboflavin — also called vitamin B2 — is necessary for the body’s production of energy at the level of the cell. Some research suggests that people with migraines may have a genetic defect that makes it difficult for their cells to maintain energy reserves, and this lack of basic energy could trigger migraines. Although it is difficult to get enough riboflavin to prevent migraines from food sources alone, I recommend adding some riboflavin-rich foods to your diet; good choices are lean beef, a bowl of whole-grain fortified cereal with fat-free or reduced-fat milk, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach. If you would like to try riboflavin supplements, I recommend a daily dose of 400 mg or a combination product that includes riboflavin and other potentially beneficial supplements. 


A diet high in magnesium may help to prevent all kinds of migraines, but the mineral seems to be particularly valuable for women who get menstrual migraines. The best foods for magnesium include spinach, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, Swiss chard, fresh amaranth, quinoa, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and whole grains. You can also try a diet supplement.


Water is actually a nutrient, essential for your body’s proper functioning, and dehydration is a common migraine trigger. Migraine sufferers need to stay vigilant about the amount of fluid they drink and should aim to preempt thirst. I recommend at least nine cups of liquid a day for women and 13 cups a day for men. Remember that inexpensive and calorie-free water is the single best way to stay hydrated — but herbal tea, decaf coffee, and fat-free or 1 percent reduced-fat milk are also good choices. Steer clear of soda, sugary fruit drinks, sweetened tea or coffee, and juices because they’re too high in calories and sugar (and in some instances are migraine triggers).

Article courtesy of Joy Bauer's Food Cures website, found here.

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