Throbbing head, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and smells, and even nausea and vomiting—as any migraine sufferer will tell you, the struggle is real. Migraines have the power to leave you incapacitated for hours at a time, often forcing you to cancel plans and forfeit precious PTO (groan!) in favor of hours of solitude in your quiet, dark bedroom.
It’s little wonder that people are often desperate to find a fix for their migraines, and dietary choices are usually among the first behavioral factors we think to change. This instinctive reaction makes sense, given the interwebs are awash with articles listing foods that trigger migraines—and even neurologists and dietitians may be quick to recommend cutting certain foods from your grocery list.
Before you spend too much time tweaking your diet, however, be sure to consider the vast array of migraine triggers that don’t involve food. The American Migraine Foundation highlights stress, changes in sleep, hormones, weather shifts, dehydration, light, smell, and medication overuse as common migraine triggers—in other words, there are a lot of things to rule out before you start going HAM on your pantry. Moreover, different foods affect different people, well, differently. You may be able to wash your sausage dinner down with a glass of red wine, while the same meal could send me spiraling into migraine hell.