Avoiding Holiday Migraines

Red wine and some cheeses can trigger migraine headaches.

Holiday gatherings are approaching, and that comes with a serving tray full of tempting foods that can be problematic for those who suffer from migraine headaches. If you’re prone to migraines, it’s crucial to resist the allure of trigger foods that surround you. “Patients who have suffered with migraines for a while tend to become familiar with what triggers them and it can vary for some people. However, we do know that a lot of the foods served at parties can trigger migraines. I advise people prone to migraines to avoid red wine, chocolate, processed food and flavorings,” advises Neurologist Charles Fiore of Culicchia Neurological.

Specifically, avoid indulging in processed or aged cheeses and meats, as they are known migraine triggers. Steer clear of the cheese tray, especially avoiding cheddar, blue, and Swiss cheese, as they contain an amino acid associated with headaches.

If you’ve experienced migraine headaches for a while, you likely have insight into your personal triggers. Nevertheless, it’s always beneficial to revisit the list of common migraine triggers and consider maintaining a food diary.

Common migraine culprits, such as red wine, salty and spicy foods, chocolate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), tend to make frequent appearances at holiday gatherings. Exercise caution with processed meats like bologna, salami, and sausage. If you choose to enjoy red wine, intersperse it with water to prevent dehydration, and most importantly, practice moderation.

Culicchia Neurological Clinic New Orleans Fiore

Charles Fiore, MD, neurologist at Culicchia Neurological and Medical Director, PAM Specialty Hospital in New Orleans

Stick to your regular eating schedule; avoiding skipping meals is essential, even if you plan to indulge at a holiday party later in the day. Some individuals find that hunger can trigger migraines.

If a migraine does strike, address it promptly. Take your prescribed medication and consult your doctor if your migraines are worsening, especially if accompanied by new symptoms such as changes in vision, numbness, tingling, or nausea, advises Neurologist Charles Fiore of Culicchia Neurological.