Does Blue Cheese Really Trigger Headaches
As much as we love food, it seems like eating is getting more and more complicated these days, what with all the things we’re told to avoid. Many of us are gluten-sensitive, we hear , so it’s best to avoid bread, pastries, and pancakes. Then there all the chemical additives in food that are no good for us, from artificial colorings that may make us hyperactive to high-fructose corn syrup which can cause diabetes, as Healthline reports. Food allergies, says the BBC, are at an all-time high, leading us to wonder if it’s still safe to eat common allergens such as peanuts and dairy.
Sometimes ordering off a menu can feel like a minefield. And if you’re someone who’s prone to headaches, you may have already been dealing with this problem for years. Headache sufferers agree that certain foods and drinks such as red wine, soy sauce, and processed meats, according to Everyday Health can bring on a mild headache, or even a migraine. One culprit that’s often blamed for headaches is blue cheese, but does it really cause them?
Watch Out For Aged Cheese On A Migraine Diet
“There is not much research on cheese as a migraine trigger, but it is generally agreed that aged cheese is more likely to cause a headache,” explains Rosen. The culprit may be a substance called tyramine that forms as the proteins in cheese break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyramine it has. Examples you might want to skip on a migraine diet to avoid headaches include blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.
How Can I Determine The Source Of My Migraines
The only way to truly determine what is causing your migraine is to speak with your doctor, who may suggest keeping a migraine diary. This will help you look for any patterns and discover what triggers an attack.
The internal medicine physicians at Raleigh Medical Group take a comprehensive view of your overall health, enabling us to create a tailored plan for you. Well work closely with you to pinpoint the cause of your migraines and craft an effective solution.
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How Many People Report Food Triggers For Their Migraines
The International Classification of Headache Disorders recommends 12 hours to establish a link between the intake of a certain food and a migraine attack. Not everyone shares the same food trigger and their influence tends to be overestimated. For example, there is research showing that chocolate is not a food trigger for the vast majority of people.
What Are The Common Causes Of Migraines
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, its important to realize that different things can trigger migraines, but they dont cause the migraine. For this reason, what may trigger a migraine in one person wont necessarily trigger it in another.
Triggers may include:
- Sleep difficulties or changes in sleep patterns
- Flickering lights
- Strong smells or odors related to smoke/pollution
- Motion sickness
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Migraine Should Eat What
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Common Foods And Drinks Can Trigger Migraine
Food and drink that we consume can be the straw that breaks the camels back, and become the final trigger for the migraine cascade to start.
However, these triggers usually are additive to other triggers, like sleep disorders and side and stomach sleeping, and neck problems. Many times what people thought were food triggers may no longer trigger a migraine, once the sleep and neck issues are taken care of.
Food affects people with migraines differently. If you have headaches, particularly migraine headaches, you should keep a record of what you eat, so youll know whether a particular food is one of your triggers. Along with this, you should keep a headache diary, and include sleep and sleep position, and any neck problems that seem to occur with your headache.
Some people believe that avoidance of triggers is the wrong thing to do, that we need to just let our brains get used to the trigger. These people think our brains cycle in and out of migraine susceptibility, no matter what we do. But, I believe if we take care of the big triggers, namely sleep issues and neck problems, then avoidance of obvious triggers, such a food and drink, is a good thing. Because if you do get migraines, as I do, you really want to avoid them!
The Migraine Triggers Food Wheel
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Skipping Meals/low Blood Sugar: An Underestimated Trigger
- Limit high-sugar foods like candy, cookies, cakes, etc.
- Replace refined grains with whole grain alternatives
- Try to have breakfast within one hour of waking up, or at least some protein and slow carbs
- Do not skip meals
- Carry low-sugar / high protein snacks in your purse, bag, or car
- Try to eat some fat and protein with each meal and snack
YES we are aware that some of the healthy snacks proposed are in the trigger list.
Get The Answers You Need
Headaches, neck pain, back pain, sleep disorders, and multiple sclerosis. As the founder and a top neurologist at a major neurology center, I have seen a lot of tough cases of each of these conditions. Theyre complex and disruptive to your quality of life. But, what most dont realize is that they can all be connected. In this guide, I dissect each of these neurological conditions and show you how the symptoms youre experiencing may all be related.
I have created free online video series to help you better understand your symptoms and disorder and take back control of your life.
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How Do You Stop Tyramine Headaches
If youre looking to lower your tyramine levels, here are four things to try:
1. Cheese that has been pasteurized
Tyramine levels in pasteurized milk cheeses are lower than in aged cheeses. Alternatives include American cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, and cream cheese.
2. Fruits and vegetables
Rather to ingesting huge amounts of fermented or pickled vegetables, eating fresh, raw or cooked veggies will help you avoid tyramine overconsumption.
3. Protein that has not been cured
Fresh protein sources like beef, poultry, pork, and fish are an excellent option to cured or processed meat if youre attempting to lower your tyramine levels.
4. Vodka, gin, rum, or bourbon
If you want to consume alcohol, stick to bourbon, gin, rum, or vodka if you have tyramine sensitivities.
Can Certain Foods Cause Migraines
Migraines are not mere headaches: They are a serious, debilitating condition that affects 1 in 4 U.S. households. Twelve percent of the population suffers from migraines, making it the third most prevalent illness in the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
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Pinpointing Problem Ingredients: Can Cheese Cause Migraines
Unless you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, it is not the milk in cheese that will cause you problems. Instead, your cheese-related migraine comes down to a couple of compounds known as vasodilators, which dilate the blood vessels in your brain.
Most experts point to tyramine as the major culprit behind cheese-triggered migraines. Tyramine is an amino acid belonging to a family of compounds called amines. Amines cause blood vessels to constrict, then dilate, and if you are vulnerable to migraines, this constriction and dilation can lead straight to a pounding headache.
Tyramine develops in food as it ages or ferments. Different cheeses contain different amounts of the troublesome compound, and it can be difficult to measure each precisely. Alcohol and chocolate are also loaded with amines, so you will want to keep them out of your diet too.
Like amines, nitrates cause your blood vessels to dilate, which can bring on a migraine. The term ‘hot dog headaches’ has been used to describe the aftermath of eating processed meats treated with nitrates. Although nitrates occur naturally in a variety of foods, the amount in processed, smoked or preserved foods is much higher and problematic for migraine sufferers.
Cured meats are the biggest offenders when it comes to nitrates, but smoked cheeses are not far behind. Get in the habit of reading ingredient labels closely to make sure there are no additives that could cause problems.
Can Certain Foods Trigger Migraines
While scientists are still studying if there are direct correlations between foods and migraines, certain foods seem to stimulate headaches or can combine with other factors to trigger a migraine.
These foods include:
- Aged cheeses According to the Cleveland Clinic, aged cheeses have tyramine, which is formed when protein is broken down as foods age. Cheeses high in tyramine can trigger migraines. This includes cheeses such as brie, cheddar, feta, blue cheeses and Parmesan.
- Processed foods Artificial sweeteners, MSG and nitrates can be contributing factors.
- Fresh yeast bread
- Alcohol Red wine is high in tyramine, which can contribute to migraine problems.
- Salty foods
The Mayo Clinic also says that the absence of food such as skipping meals or fasting can trigger a migraine.
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Can Blue Light Glasses Stop Headaches
Whilst the blue light filter of tinted lenses that come with blue light glasses can help to reduce a migraine trigger
The easiest way to prevent over-exposure to blue light is to change the light bulbs within your home, rather than to just opt for blue light glasses.
There are many sources of blue light within the home, and not only could it be affecting your headache disorder pattern, but it has also been proven to affect a myriad of other healthy biological functions that could be contributing to your tendency to suffer from migraines.
Research does show the effectiveness of using blue light glasses to reduce symptoms of digital eye strain. However considering your exposure as a whole is a much more effective strategy to reduce your blue light exposure than just wearing blue blocking glasses.
We offer a range of products such as high-quality blue light blocking glasses, and blue light blocking light bulbs so that you can efficiently reduce your blue light exposure.
Common Food Triggers Migraine Sufferers Should Avoid
An unexpected migraine can keep you down for hours or days, forcing you to miss work or other activities while you deal with debilitating pain and other symptoms. Lots of different things can trigger migraines, from stress to sensory inputs. For about 10% of migraine sufferers, foods are a migraine trigger.
If you’re living with migraines, we recommend that you look at your diet to see if you should cut out or avoid certain common trigger foods. You may be able to reduce unexpected migraines. If you’d like to discuss your specific case with Hasan Badday, MD, at Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine, we’re happy to schedule a consultation. Dr. Badday specializes in pain management and can help you design meal plans that won’t leave your head aching.
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Lets Talk About Ocular Migraines
The purpose of this post is to define the difference between classic and ocular migraines. Also, before I launch into specifics, I would like to start with this:
Flashing lights in your eyes can be concerning, as they can be a sign of retinal detachment or other retinal problems. It is essential to see an ophthalmologist if you have flashing in your eyes. An eye exam can reveal problems with the vitreous fluid, the retina, or even signs of a stroke.
Now, lets talk about migraines. This blog talks about two types:
Classic Migraines are thought to be caused by spasm of blood vessels in the brain. If this happens in the temple area, the result can be a severe, one-sided headache, sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.
If, on the other hand, the spasm of blood vessels occurs in the back of the brain where vision is processed, this could be an Ocular or Eye Migraine. This condition can be one cause of visual disturbances that often do not need treatment. However, its still essential to have a complete eye evaluation to rule out more serious causes.
How Do I Determine Which Foods And Drinks Are My Headache Triggers
One common suggestion for figuring out your own personal headache triggers is to track the foods and drinks you consume in a daily food headache diary. You may consider yourself to be sensitive to a certain food or drink if you get a headache consistently 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating that certain food.
However, keep in mind that even though it sounds simple to track what you eat to try to figure out what foods and beverages might trigger your headache, its not this simple.
Problems with food headache trackers
Is it truly the food or drink that is causing your headache or is it one of the many ingredients or chemicals in these foods? Foods consist of many ingredients that contain many chemicals. Chemicals include nitrates/nitrites, phenylethylamine, sulfites, tannins, tyramine, salicylates, aspartate, added sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, glutamate and capsaicin to name a few.
Even beyond consumed foods, drinks and ingredients/chemicals are other factors that must be considered that may complicate identifying the true trigger of your headache. These factors include:
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At The Burger Joint: Skip The Pickles Try Raw Cucumber
A few favorite burger toppings can be migraine triggers for some, all thanks to tyramine, so the next time you hit up your fave joint, be wary of a few items like raw onion, cheddar or blue cheese and sauerkraut . Pickled food can be high in tyramine, too, so you might consider laying off that pile of pickles. It might sound weird, but raw cucumber can give you that same satisfying crunch, so you might ask your server for a swap-out.
Foods That Might Be Causing Your Headache
If you feel like your headaches come on after eating certain foods, you may not be imagining the connection. Many foods do trigger headaches and migraines for certain people. The first thing you should do is start tracking your headacheswrite down what you ate before the headache occurred. If you write this down each time you suspect a food-related headache, you might find the cause or, at the very least, help your doctor find the cause.
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Common Food & Drink Triggers
Aged Cheese: Aged cheese contains tyramine, an analogue of catecholamines, or stress hormones, formed as proteins in the cheese break down over time. The general rule is that the older the cheese, the higher the tyramine content. Examples of cheeses to avoid cheeses include cheddar, parmesan, gouda, blue cheese, gorgonzola, brie, and swiss.
Chocolate: Chocolate can trigger headaches in some people, which is real bummer for those of us who love chocolate! Some think the responsible agent is tyramine, the same trigger that is in aged cheese. Others say that you crave chocolate during stress and hormonal changes, both which trigger headaches. When eating chocolate try reducing the amount you eat, eating enough to satisfy the craving, but not so much that it triggers a headache.
Caffeine: Coffee, black tea, green tea, soft drinks. These are problems primarily because they contain caffeine. For some people, drinking too much caffeine can trigger a migraine. Paradoxically, in small doses caffeine can actually help a headache and is even included in some migraine medications. If youre drink at least 200 mg of caffeine a day , stopping your caffeine consumption will likely result in a caffeine withdrawal headache. Try slowly decreasing the amount of caffeine you drink and then stick with drinking the same amount regularly.
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Blue Light And Migraines
While bright light is generally a cause for irritation, blue light is typically the most painful hue for migraine sufferers.2 Its also the color that is most commonly emitted by screens on our computers and smartphones. The blue light from these electronic devices may trigger migraine attacks.3 Many migraine specialists recommend limited screen time to those who routinely experience severe headaches and light sensitivity.3
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Salad Dressings And Sauces
If you get a headache after eating Chinese food, barbecued chicken or beef, or even salads, the culprit causing your headache might be monosodium glutamate . This ingredient is used as a flavor enhancer in soy sauce, barbecue sauces and salad dressings, as well as potato chips, lunchmeat and more. This one can be tricky to track because MSG also shows up on ingredient lists as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, glutamic acid, autolyzed yeast, sodium or calcium caseinate and other terms.
Even though many people can consume nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, tyramine and MSG without problems, some people are sensitive to certain ingredient triggers, especially migraine sufferers. If you think your headaches are food related, thats why tracking what you eat each time you have a headache can be so helpful. Share your concerns and your tracking notes with your doctor to find out the best ways to avoid or relieve food and drink related headaches.
Be sure to keep our convenient, on-the-go stick packs of BC® Original pain relief powder on hand for quick pain relief whenever a headache pops up.