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Patient Resources

Food Triggers

Ice Cream Headaches (and other food for thought)

Certain foods contain chemicals which may cause blood vessel dilation. Alone in or combination, they may trigger a vascular headache in susceptible individuals. Careful attention to the foods you have consumed prior to headache onset will help you isolate your food triggers and avoid them.

  • Chocolate: candy, food, drinks
  • Excess Sugar: candy, cookies, cakes
  • Ripened Cheeses: cheddar, brick, mozzarella, gruyere, emmantaler, stilton, brie, camembert, boursalt
  • Dairy Products: milk, ice cream, etc.
  • Alcohol: beer, red wine, sherry, etc.
  • Fruit and fruit juices: bananas, plantains, avocados, figs, passion fruit, raisins, pineapple, citrus
  • Vegetables: onions, pods of broad beans (lima, navy, pea pods), nuts, peanut butter
  • Fermented, pickled, marinated: Herring, sour cream, yogurt, vinegar
  • Yeast: yeast extracts, fresh bread, raised cakes, doughnuts
  • Nitrites: processed meats such as bologna, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, pastrami, bacon, sausage, canned ham, corned beef; smoked fish
  • Sulfites: salad bars, shrimp, wines, soft drinks
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): Chinese food, Accent, Lawrey’s Seasoned Salt, convenience foods (tv dinners, canned soups), roasted nuts, potato chips
  • Aspartame: sweeteners such as Nutrasweet and others, in sugar-free and diet foods, diet soft drinks
  • Caffeine: coffee, tea, colas, Mountain Dew, “energy” drinks, OTC stimulants


Tracking Calendars

Sometimes there is no obvious cause for a headache, but for some people there are triggers. A headache diary may help. Track your headaches on a calendar to find potential patterns or causes.
Headache Management Diary
I Headache – Headache and Migraine Diary Free App

Online Resources

American Migraine Foundation

The mission of the American Migraine Foundation is to mobilize a community for patient support and advocacy, as well as drive and support impactful research that translates into treatment advances for patients with migraine and other disabling diseases that cause severe head pain.