Mercy's Dr. Howie Zheng and Registered Dietitian, Kristian Morey, Discuss Changes in Diet to Reduce Incidence of Migraine

March 4, 2019
Neurology Center at Mercy - Baltimore

Millions of people, about 10 percent of the world's population, suffer from migraine headaches. Migraines effect all kinds of people, though women tend to have the debilitating headaches more often than men.

There are many triggers that can bring on a migraine headache, and one of them is what you eat.

"Some patients have a genetic predisposition or allergy to certain foods or substances, and it's bringing them closer to their migraine headache threshold," said Dr. Howie Zheng of The Neurology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.
When various triggers start to stack up, a debilitating headache is often the result. Avoiding certain foods can help avoid the tailspin.

"The challenge for the patient, the migraine sufferer, is in finding out, number one, 'Am I actually sensitive to these items?' because not everybody is. Some people will be. And then, No. 2, 'Which ones am I sensitive to?' and learning how to avoid those," Dr. Zheng said.

You can do this by following an elimination diet.

"The first step is to create a diary listing the foods that you eat, the things that you drink and when your headaches occur. And you may notice a trend within 48 hours before a headache occurs that there are some common foods that you're eating," said Kristian Morey, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian with The Endocrinology Center at Mercy.

Certain foods and beverages contain substances that are triggers, such as caffeine, amino acids, nitrates, nitrites, aspartame and nuts, to name a few.

"Individual foods or classes of foods that you may want to try to eliminate for a few days or a few weeks, and then try reintroducing it and see if it helps of hurts," Morey said.

View Mercy neurologist Dr. Howie Zheng and Kristian Morey, RD, LDN’s interviews regarding the elimination diet for migraine headaches.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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