A man pours himself a cup of decaffeinated coffee into a turquoise mug.Share on Pinterest
Switching to decaf coffee might reduce migraine attacks. Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images
  • Migraine has no known cure, so making diet and lifestyle changes is important to finding relief.
  • Drinks that help headaches and migraine attacks include green smoothies, fruit-infused water, and milk.
  • Avoid beverages with ingredients that trigger your migraine episodes.

Migraine is a neurological condition that affects about 12 percent of people in the United States, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

While the symptoms of an episode can vary widely, a migraine attack is often significant enough to affect your everyday activities. There’s no cure for migraine, which makes treatment, lifestyle changes, and diet important ways to improve your quality of life.

In fact, some drinks may even be able to make a difference in your migraine symptoms and frequency of attacks.

Keep in mind that certain ingredients can trigger migraine attacks. So, before getting started with any of the drinks below, make sure they don’t contain any ingredients you know will worsen your symptoms.

And while these drinks can be a helpful way to ease a headache at home, they’re not a standard remedy or a substitute for traditional treatment and prevention strategies for migraine attacks. Instead, you should work with your doctor to develop a unique treatment plan.

Keep reading to see 12 of the best drinks for headaches and migraine attacks.

While too much caffeine may trigger migraine attacks in some people, it can be challenging to give up your daily cup of coffee. Swapping out your regular coffee for a decaf version can help.

As you make the switch, try to wean yourself off caffeinated coffee gradually. Otherwise, you could experience caffeine withdrawal — another possible trigger for migraine episodes.

Keep in mind that coffee companies are allowed to label their products as “decaf” with 97.5 percent of caffeine removed, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

This means you still may get as much as 15 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee, per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). So, you may want to limit yourself to just one cup per day.

If you’re looking for an alternative to decaf or regular coffee, with a happy medium in terms of caffeine content, consider brewing green tea.

An 8-oz. cup has between 30 and 50 mg of caffeine, versus the 80 to 100 mg found in the same serving of regular coffee, according to the FDA.

Like black and oolong varieties, green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and it’s touted for its antioxidants.

While green tea is said to help alleviate headaches, more research is needed to see if it can prevent migraine attacks for everyone.

Feverfew is an herb derived from a flowering plant that’s been found to potentially help alleviate symptoms of migraine attack, including pain, light sensitivity, and nausea, according to the NCCIH.

It can be brewed into a tea.

But it’s important to note that chewing on feverfew leaves can sometimes cause mouth ulcers, according to a 2011 research review. Some headache specialists recommend it in capsule form, instead.

Ask your doctor before drinking feverfew tea for migraine attacks, especially if you have a history of allergies. Don’t take feverfew if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Known for its analgesic effects, peppermint oil is commonly used in alternative medicine as a topical treatment for tension headaches, says the NCCIH.

There may be benefits to drinking peppermint in tea form and breathing in the aroma for a migraine episode — especially if you’re experiencing throbbing head pain.

According to a 2006 research review, peppermint tea had a pain-relieving effect in animal studies. However, more research is needed to determine if drinking it can help with migraine episodes.

Peppermint tea is caffeine-free, so you may drink it any time of day without fear that it could impact your sleep.

Another caffeine-free herbal tea that may provide relief for migraine episodes is ginger tea. This type of tea is made from the root of the plant, rather than its leaves.

In terms of treatment for migraine attacks, ginger is perhaps most helpful at reducing nausea and vomiting, according to the NCCIH. These are symptoms that can occur during an attack.

Even if you aren’t currently experiencing these symptoms, you may appreciate the spicy taste as an alternative to other teas.

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Folic acid, which is found in the leafy greens you can use in a smoothie, has been shown to reduce migraine symptoms. Marti Sans/Stocksy United

If you’re not eating enough leafy greens, you may be deficient in an important B vitamin called folate (vitamin B9). This might not be helping your migraine attacks.

A 2015 study showed that folic acid (a form of folate) reduces migraine symptoms. However, more research is needed to determine whether taking this vitamin in supplement form helps prevent migraine attacks.

That said, you may benefit from getting folate in the form of whole foods in a green smoothie. You can experiment with different greens, such as kale or spinach, along with berries and plant-based milk.

In addition to drinking other beverages, it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day. Doing so helps prevent a common trigger of migraine attacks: dehydration.

You can also prevent dehydration by drinking water before and after exercise, as well as more during warmer weather.

For people who don’t drink enough water because they find the flavor boring, fruit-infused water may be a tastier way to avoid the dehydration that could trigger a migraine attack.

Simply add chopped fresh fruit to a glass of water for added taste and a nutritional boost. Depending on the type of fruit you try, you may also gain additional benefits, such as vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Grape juice may have been one of your favorite childhood drinks, but potential benefits of this drink can last throughout your adulthood, too.

A 1/2-cup serving of grape juice contains about 10 mg of magnesium, an important mineral that may be linked to improved migraine attacks.

Magnesium deficiency may be linked to irregular nerve transmission, which could play a role in migraine attacks.

Adult women need between 310 mg and 320 mg of magnesium per day, while adult men need between 400 and 420 mg per day, depending on age.

Getting the recommended amount of magnesium is also important in other body processes, including metabolism, cardiac function, muscle contractions, and more.

Orange juice is another drink that may help with headaches and migraine attacks, given its high magnesium content.

A 1/2-cup serving of orange juice contains about 11 mg of magnesium. Choose varieties labeled “100 percent juice” to avoid added sugars.

If citrus fruits trigger migraine episodes for you, skip orange juice and try another drink on this list instead.

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Grapefruit juice contains a high amount of magnesium, which is an important nutrient for people who experience migraine episodes. Maskot/Offset Images

If you prefer tarter fruit juices, you may still be able to reap the benefits of magnesium by choosing a 1/2-cup serving of grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit juice contains about 13 mg of magnesium — the highest concentration compared to the other fruit juices on this list.

According to a 2018 review, the micronutrients in grapefruit juice are comparable to those in the fresh fruit itself. However, it’s important to select juice without added sugars.

As with orange juice, you should avoid grapefruit juice if citrus fruits trigger a migraine episode for you.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is another nutrient that may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Drinking reduced-fat milk can help you reach the recommended daily value of vitamin B2, which is 1.3 mg for males adults and 1.1 mg for female adults.

In fact, a 1-cup serving of 2 percent milk has about 0.5 mg — this is almost 50 percent of the daily recommended amount for most people.

Migraine is a neurological condition with no known cure. However, making lifestyle and diet changes — including drinking certain beverages — may offer some relief from migraine attacks.

Tea and decaf coffee may reduce inflammation, while juices, milk, and green smoothies can deliver essential nutrients that may reduce migraine episodes.

Migraine triggers vary from person to person, and it’s important to avoid any ingredients that may worsen your symptoms. If any beverage causes a migraine attack or makes it more intense, stop drinking the beverage right away.

It’s important to note that beverages are not a substitute for mainstream migraine treatment.

Talk with your doctor if your migraine symptoms don’t improve. They may suggest further testing and other lifestyle changes you can make.