The predictive role of the dietary phytochemical index in relation to the clinical and psychological traits of migraine headaches

Shahnaz Amani Tirani, Arghavan Balali, Maryam Kazemi, Gholamreza Askari, Fariborz Khorvash, Arman Arab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the relationship between dietary phytochemical index (DPI) and migraine headaches in Iranian patients, analyzing both clinical and psychological traits. A cross-sectional study was conducted using non-obese adults aged 20–50 years who were diagnosed with migraine. The study used a validated 168-item food frequency questionnaire to assess the usual dietary intake of participants. The DPI was calculated using the following formula: [daily energy derived from phytochemical-rich foods (in kJ)/total daily energy intake (in kJ)] × 100. Clinical outcomes of migraine including frequency, duration, and severity of headaches, as well as migraine-related disability were obtained using relevant questionnaires. Moreover, the mental health profile of patients including depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as serum levels of nitric oxide (NO) were measured. A Poisson regression was used for headache frequency. Linear regression analyzed migraine-related outcomes including duration, severity, migraine-related disability, and serum NO levels. In addition, psychological traits were analyzed via logistic regression. A total of 262 individuals (85.5% females) with a mean age of 36.1 years were included in the analysis. The frequency of migraine attacks was lower in patients in the last DPI tertile compared to those in the first DPI tertile both in the crude [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63, 0.78, Ptrend < 0.001] and fully-adjusted models (IRR = 0.84, 95% CI 0.74, 0.96, Ptrend = 0.009). After controlling for potential confounders, an inverse relationship was observed between higher adherence to DPI and migraine-related disability (β = − 2.48, 95% CI − 4.86, − 0.10, P trend = 0.046). After controlling for potential confounders, no significant relationship was observed between DPI and depression (OR = 0.79, 95% CI 0.42, 1.47, Ptrend = 0.480), anxiety (OR = 1.14, 95% CI 0.61, 2.14, Ptrend = 0.655), and stress (OR = 1.04, 95% CI 0.57, 1.90, Ptrend = 0.876). Higher intakes of phytochemical-rich foods may be associated with lower migraine frequency and improved daily activities among patients. Further studies should confirm our observations and delineate the biological pathways linking phytochemicals and migraine headaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6886
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Diet
  • Dietary phytochemical index
  • Headache
  • Migraine disorders


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