“Persons with headache and migraine have more dietary options than ever. Ultimately a healthy headache diet excludes processed foods, minimizes caffeine and includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats. After all, you are what you eat.” – Vincent Martin, MD, professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.
If you suffer from regular migraines, you might already have a list of causes that you take precautions against. But migraines can be caused by all sorts of different factors – even foods. Different types of food can be known to trigger migraines due to the makeup of the food.
Sometimes, even food that is often encouraged for a healthy lifestyle can set off someone’s migraine. A migraine can sometimes be hard to avoid, but having the information on what types of food can set one off is a good starting point. Everyone is different, however, so keep track of what you eat when a migraine occurs.
HERE ARE 5 FOODS THAT TRIGGER MIGRAINES
1. ALCOHOL AND RED WINES
Alcohol of any type can trigger a migraine. After all, alcohol can give people who don’t suffer from migraines regular, pounding headaches. However, the most common type of alcohol that is often the cause of migraines happens to be dark liquors and red wines. Alcohol contains high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which is a known cause of headaches.
Alcohol also causes dehydration, which is why you’re encouraged to drink water throughout the night when you go drinking to avoid a hangover. But dehydration is another key trigger for migraines. If you find that you’re often struck with migraines after a glass or two of wine, you might want to cut it out of your diet entirely.
As delicious and varied as it is, chocolate is also another culprit in the list of foods that are known to trigger migraines. Chocolate contains tyramine, which is a known cause of many migraines. Chocolate cravings often come during a time of hormonal changes in women, such as during their menstrual cycle.
With the body already unbalanced, introducing high levels of thymine can set off a migraine. If you notice that your migraines come more often when you get a chocolate craving, you might need to find a substitute, or eliminate it from your diet altogether.
3. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
There’s already been plenty of push back against artificial sweeteners in the recent years, and this could be another one. Aspartame is the name of a widely used artificial sweetener, and it’s often found in low calorie desserts and diet sodas. It’s also sold as a replacement for sugar.
Unfortunately, this artificial sweetener is known to trigger a migraine. It’s best to skip the artificial sweeteners altogether. They’re not as slimming for you as you may think, and they also may be responsible for triggering a painful migraine episode. Skip the sweeteners, and go for the real deal if you’re craving something sweet.
4. FAST FOOD
Everyone loves a quick burger and fresh fries from the drive through. Unfortunately, even your favorite value menu item could be a cause of migraines. MSG, sulfites and nitrates are food additives that are used to increase the shelf life of foods, which are often all used in fast-food restaurants to keep your food fresh and delicious.
This may be costing you, though. These particular additives are known to trigger migraines. Many different types of seasoning can also contain a high level of these same additives, so be careful about where you get your quick meals.
5. SALTY FOOD
Along with fast food, food that contains high levels of salt have also been known to be the culprit behind debilitating migraines. Sodium is a mineral that our bodies need to keep going. Unfortunately, we’re often getting way more than we need due to the amount of sodium that’s put into prepackaged food.
Higher than necessary levels of sodium often work hand-in-hand with food additives, which makes eating those types of food a hair trigger for a migraine. Keep an eye out on the labels of your quick snacks and make sure you’re not getting more sodium than necessary.
Everyone is different, but these types of foods are known to trigger migraines in many people. If they work for you, great! If not, you’ll want to think about changing around your diet to avoid migraine foods. Keep an eye out on everything you eat and whether or not those types of foods tend to trigger a migraine.
There’s lots of variation in food, and some ingredients are harmless between individual people. The variance in migraine trigger-foods is wide, so make sure you do what works best for you.