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A Nutritionist’s Advice: ‘Can Boosting My Fish Intake Decrease Migraines?’

Eat your way to fewer migraines and less pain.


Chronic migraines are hard to ignore as they cause symptoms including (but not limited to) throbbing head pain, nausea, and dizziness. While pain relievers like Ibuprofen can temporarily ease discomfort, remedies that offer long-lasting relief — like adjusting your diet — are preferable. The American Migraine Foundation warns that processed foods, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners are common migraine triggers. Therefore, it’s best to limit consumption of these unhealthy foods in favor of nutrient-rich options.

Eager to manager her own migraines, a First for Women reader wrote in with a question about increased fish consumption as a possible cure. We put the question to our nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD to see what they had to say.

Adding Fish to Your Diet for Migraine Pain

Q: I suffer from chronic migraines, and a friend told me she heard that eating more fish might help. Is there any truth to this?

A: Yes! More than four million people suffer from chronic migraine, which means they experience pain 15 or more days each month, and women are especially prone to these debilitating headaches. But your friend is correct: Eating fish may help. In a study of 182 adults suffering from chronic migraine, investigators reporting in The BMJ found that those who prioritized fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout in their diet rather than chicken and other sources of protein experienced a reduction in migraine frequency after 16 weeks. The reason? Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in the omega-3-rich diet increased participants’ blood levels of oxylipin, which helps reduce pain and inflammation.

And you can boost that benefit by enjoying your fish with a side salad, roasted veggies, or brown rice. The reason? Similar research published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience suggests that people who consume a heart-healthy diet that emphasizes nutrients within produce, healthy fats, and whole grains are likely to have fewer migraines and less pain than those who don’t.

Meet Our Experts

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol (available at To ask them a question, send an email to

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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