10 Foods That Trigger Migraine

10 foods that trigger migraine

10 foods that trigger migraine, your health, harbouchanews

How our diet affects migraine

There are many factors that can trigger a migraine attack, including what we eat and drink.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, foods that trigger migraine can only do so when combined with other triggers. But this combination - and any trigger in general - is very individualized, which makes research difficult.

There is no universal migraine trigger. But there are some common triggers that can cause or contribute to migraine episodes in some people.

1.  Caffeine 

Too much caffeine and a lack of caffeine can cause migraines or headaches.

But according to the American Migraine Foundation, caffeine can actually help stop impending migraine attacks. It can also relieve headaches with occasional use.

Foods and drinks containing caffeine include:

  • Coffee
  • tea
  • Chocolate

2. Artificial sweeteners

Many processed foods contain artificial sweeteners. These are sugar substitutes that are added to foods and drinks to add sweetness.

But these sweeteners can cause migraines. In particular, aspartame is thought to trigger episodes of migraine.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most common products thought to trigger migraines. According to one study, over 35% of participants with migraine reported that alcohol was one of their common triggers.

Red wine in particular was reported as a trigger in over 77% of participants who reported alcohol as a trigger.

Alcohol can cause dehydration, which contributes significantly to the development of headaches.

4. Chocolate

According to the American Migraine Foundation, chocolate is considered the second most common trigger for migraine attacks after alcohol. They say it affects about 22% of people with migraine.

Chocolate contains both caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine, which can trigger headaches in some people.

5.  Foods Containing MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, which occurs naturally in our body.

MSG is found in certain foods and is present in many foods as a food additive. It is considered safe to eat, but some researchers associate it with migraine attacks.

The American Migraine Foundation notes that it can trigger severe migraine episodes in 10 to 15 percent of migraine sufferers. Other condatives can also be a trigger in some people.

6. Cold cuts 

Cold cuts, including cold cuts, ham, hot dogs, and sausages all contain preservatives called nitrates, which preserve color and flavor. These foods can release nitric oxide into the blood, which is believed to dilate the blood vessels in the brain.

There is some evidence that nitric oxide can cause or contribute to migraine.

7. Mature cheeses

Mature cheeses contain a substance called tyramine. It is formed when the aging of a food causes the breakdown of proteins.

The longer the cheese ages, the higher the tyramine content will be.

La tyramine est un autre produit chimique dont on dit qu'il déclenche des maux de tête et des migraines. Les fromages courants riches en tyramine comprennent :

  • feta
  • fromage bleu
  • Parmesan

8.Pickled and fermented foods

Like aged cheeses, pickled and fermented foods can contain high amounts of tyramine. These foods include:

  • pickles
  • Kimchi
  • kombucha (which may also have alcohol content)
  • Pickled okra
  • Marinated jalapenos

9. Frozen foods

Consuming frozen foods and drinks like ice cream or slushies can trigger severe shooting pains in the head.

You are more likely to experience headaches that turn into migraine attacks if you eat cold foods quickly, after exercising, or if you overheat.

10. Salty foods

Salty foods - especially salty processed foods that may contain harmful preservatives - can trigger migraines in some people.

Consuming high levels of sodium can increase blood pressure, causing headaches or migraine attacks.

Treat migraine

Treatment for migraine may involve a combination of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications and alternative remedies.

For occasional headaches or migraines, you can take over-the-counter medications like Excedrin Migraine for pain relief. Your doctor may also prescribe triptans for pain relief.

If you regularly experience migraine episodes, your doctor will likely prescribe preventative medication. These can include beta blockers, which can lower blood pressure and reduce migraine attacks.

Antidepressants are also sometimes prescribed to prevent migraine symptoms, even in people without depression.

There is some evidence that some alternative remedies can help treat migraine. These include:

  • massage therapy, which may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks
  • biofeedback, which teaches you to check physical responses to stress, such as muscle tension
  • vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which can help prevent migraine episodes
  • magnesium supplements

Perspective and prevention

Migraine episodes can be painful and interrupt your life. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes you can make and habits you can adopt that can help prevent them.

These include:

  • eat regularly and never skip meals
  • limit your caffeine intake
  • a lot of sleep
  • reduce stress in your life by trying yoga, mindfulness, or meditation
  • limit how long you look at bright lights or are in direct sunlight, which can cause a sensory migraine
  • taking frequent "screen breaks" from television, computer and other screens
  • trying an elimination diet to help identify any food allergies or intolerances that may be headache triggers

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