Thursday, June 13, 2024

6 Foods That Can Trigger Migraines During the Summer

Do you feel that summer triggers your migraine symptoms? Migraine can cause pain as real as the pain of injuries, but there is a difference in that you can prevent migraine with healthy habits and simple remedies. Summer headaches are a concern for many people, as they appear to be more sensitive to changes in weather. Medicine is a great way to reduce and prevent migraines during the summer. Increased heat and humidity during the summer not only cause migraines, but certain foods can also trigger migraine attacks.

Summer is here, and unfortunately, a lot of people are going through this pain. And that’s why Mente Blog thought to take a deeper dive into the matter of migraines and help people with some real insights.

Can Weather Changes Trigger Migraines?

Many individuals who have migraines are more sensitive to certain changes in the weather. Some weather-related triggers are:

  • Bright sunlight
  • High humidity
  • Dry air
  • Sun glare
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Extreme cold
  • Windy or stormy weather
  • Barometric pressure changes

Many people ask their doctors if summer can cause migraines. Actually, often finding the root cause can help individuals prepare better and prevent migraine pain. For some people, extreme weather changes may cause imbalances in brain chemicals (such as serotonin) that can lead to the severe throbbing pain of a migraine. Often, weather-related triggers can worsen headaches caused by other triggers.

Can Foods Trigger Migraines?

There are many things that can trigger migraines, including what we eat and drink. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine food triggers can only happen when there are other triggers. More research is needed to find migraine food triggers. As of now, there is no such thing as a universal migraine trigger. However, there are some common triggers that can contribute to heat migraines.

Foods That Can Trigger Migraines

Though more research is needed to find out more about migraine food triggers, some foods are directly and indirectly connected with such headaches and discomfort.

1. Artificial Sweeteners 

You know that many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners, which can cause migraines. Aspartame, in particular, can trigger migraine episodes.

2. Alcohol 

It is one of the common things that can trigger migraines. According to a study, alcohol was one of the common triggers for 35% of all participants. More than 77% of participants cited red wine in particular as their migraine trigger. Alcohol can cause dehydration and that can lead to headaches.

3. Chocolate 

Chocolate is the second-most common food trigger for migraine attacks after alcohol. It contains caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine which can trigger migraines in some people.

4. Cured Meats 

Cured meats such as hot dogs, ham, deli meats, sausages, etc. contain preservatives called nitrates. These foods can release nitric oxide into our blood and dilate blood vessels in the brain.

5. Aged Cheese 

Aged cheese contains a substance called tyramine. The longer the cheese has aged, the higher it will be. Tyramine is another headache and migraine trigger. Some common cheese options that contain high tyramine are:

  • Parmesan
  • Blue cheese
  • Feta

6. Salty Foods 

Salty processed foods may contain harmful preservatives that can trigger migraines during the summer in some people. Also, consuming high levels of sodium can increase your blood pressure, leading to headaches or migraine attacks.

Tips to Head Off the Migraine During Summer

Bearing headaches during the summer is really challenging. The pain can prevent you from concentrating and affect your everyday activities. Consulting with a physician and taking medicines are proven ways to manage migraines. However, taking care of a few things can also help you prevent migraines during the summer.

1. Find a Calm Environment 

If you are having summer headaches or migraines, take a break and step away from whatever you are doing (if possible). Bright lights and high-volume sounds can make migraine pain worse. So try to relax or sleep for a while in a dark, quiet room. If possible, take a nap.

You can apply hot or cold compresses to the neck or head. The numbing effects of an ice pack may reduce the pain. On the other hand, heat pads or hot packs can relax your tense muscles.

Taking a cup of coffee can relieve heat migraine symptoms in the early stages. If you have taken medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or aspirin for headaches, caffeine may enhance the pain-reducing effects of these medicines. However, drinking too much caffeine can lead to withdrawal headaches later.

2. Sleep Well 

Migraine pain may prevent you from sleeping well. Inadequate sleep can contribute to migraines and other health issues. Try to establish a healthy sleep routine. Follow your sleep routine daily, even on weekends. Do not sleep for hours during the day; you can take short naps of 20 to 30 minutes. Reduce using phones and other gadgets in bed and before sleeping. If you are struggling to sleep at night, seek the help of your doctor.

3. Eat Wisely 

Your eating habits can trigger migraines during the summer. Try to have all meals– breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. We have discussed the foods that trigger migraines above. So, try to avoid them to prevent summer heat headaches.

4. Exercise Daily 

During physical activity, our body releases certain chemicals that can block pain signals to the brain. These chemicals are also effective in reducing depression and anxiety, and these conditions can make migraines worse.

Obesity can also increase the chance of migraines and other issues like hair loss, lack of confidence, and so on. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a proper diet can help you stay fit and prevent migraine attacks. Walking, cycling, swimming, and even yoga are good choices to stay fit and prevent headaches.

5. Manage Stress 

Did you know that stress and migraine pain go hand in hand? It’s hard to avoid daily stress, but you can keep it under control.

  • You should simplify your life; don’t try to be overproductive. Set a realistic productivity goal for every day.
  • Manage your time wisely. Start your day with what you like to do and try to finish 90% of your tasks before sunset.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, simply take a break instead of pushing your mind or health.
  • Adjust your attitude and stay positive. Take care of your mental health to lead a positive and fulfilling life.
  • Enjoy yourself, and do something that makes you happy. It can be playing a game, having a cup of coffee, or standing on the balcony staring at the clouds.
  • Practice deep breathing from your diaphragm; focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply. Practice it for at least ten minutes everyday.

6. Maintain a Migraine Diary 

Maintaining a diary may help you determine what can trigger your migraine during weather changes. List down things like when your migraine starts, what foods you have taken before that, what you were doing at that time, etc. Avoiding migraines is better than taking medicines to reduce the headache. You have to keep a close eye on your food habits, everyday routine, etc. to find out what exactly triggers your migraines and prevent them before they appear.


Without any doubt, living with migraines is a daily challenge. However, having a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent migraines during the summer or in any other extreme weather conditions. Even after trying everything, if it is getting hard to manage migraine headaches, seek medical help from an experienced physician. Also, people who are feeling depressed or anxious can join a support group or seek counseling. Always try to believe in your ability to control pain.


1. What is a summer migraine?

A summer migraine is a type of headache triggered by dehydration, heat, and changes in routine during hot weather. In order to prevent sun headaches, always drink plenty of water, wear comfortable clothes, prevent scalp sweating, carry an umbrella, and never skip breakfast. If your condition worsens, consult with a physician as soon as possible.

2. How do I avoid migraines?

Migraine pain prevention is better than reducing it with medicines. However, certain medicines prescribed by doctors can help you prevent headaches during the summer. Lifestyle modification can help you avoid migraine attacks. To prevent migraines during the summer, stay hydrated, maintain a regular sleep schedule, manage stress, and limit exposure to heat and bright sunlight.

3. How can I get rid of my headache during the summer?

To get rid of a headache during the summer, you can rest in a cool, dark room and apply a cold compress to your forehead or a hot compress to your neck. Taking a few sips of hot tea with ginger extract can relieve your sun migraine symptoms. If anything doesn’t work, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers.

4. How to relieve migraine headaches

Many people ask how to reduce headaches due to heat; there is no one-shot remedy that can help all. However, trying relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help. Also, you need to improve your sleep cycle to reduce migraine headaches during the summer.

5. What can I eat to reduce migraines in the summer?

There are some foods that trigger migraine attacks, such as alcohol, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, caffeine, etc. However, there are some foods that can help you reduce migraines in the summer, such as cucumber, watermelon, and leafy greens.

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