Common Migraine Food Triggers
- Food additives like aspartame , MSG , nitrates , sulfites , and yeast extract
- Alcohol like red wine, beer, and hard drinks including Scotch and Whiskey
- Caffeine-containing products
- Certain dairy products like aged cheeses, yogurts, sour cream and buttermilk
- Aged, smoked, fermented, pickled, or salted meats and fish, like hot dogs, bacon, and herring
- Certain fresh fruits like citrus, banana, avocado, and dried fruits like raisins
- Beans, nuts, and soy like fava or lima beans, nut butters, and tofu
- Certain vegetables like onions and tomatoes
Dr. Andrew Charles, Director of the Goldberg Migraine Program at UCLA and President-elect of the American Headache Society, told Migraine Again, Many people with Migraine are concerned with identifying individual foods that could be triggering attacks, and some people are able to find themThe one food trigger that does seem to be consistent is red wineMSG is another probable Migraine triggerThere are a number of foods that are suspected to trigger Migraine attacks, but there is not a lot of evidence behind them. This includes nuts and aged foods of any kind like aged cheeses or cured meats containing nitrates.
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Diet And Headache Control
Merle L. Diamond, MD and Dawn A. Marcus, MD
Perhaps the best migraine prevention diet is one that is as wholesome, fresh and unprocessed as possiblethereby eliminating many of the supposed chemical triggers for migraine. In addition, eat these foods in small portions spread throughout the day averaging five to six calorie controlled portions. This eating behavior assists in preventing headache due to hunger, avoids large amounts of any supposed chemical trigger at any given time, and finally, fires up ones metabolismpreventing weight gain, which is a likely factor contributing to risk of headache progression.
Patients who suffer from migraine attacks try to determine what they did wrong each time that a headache occursthat is, they try to identify the triggers that put them at risk of having another episode. For many years, headache specialists have debated the possibility that certain foods cause the so-called migraine threshold to drop, which allows a window of opportunity for migraine to start.
Food triggers appear to be important in a minority of migraine sufferers, but other factors may be complicating an understanding of food triggers. For example, so many foods and beverages have caffeine, which has clearly been associated as a trigger for headache in individuals with high caffeine consumption.
Foods That Trigger Ocular Migraines
Ocular migraines are migraines that affect vision. An ocular migraine generally starts as a blind spot in oneâs peripheral vision that increases over time. Although triggers and causes of migraines vary, certain foods have been shown to trigger or worsen migraines more than others. Health care professionals at Loyola University of Medicine suggest keeping a food diary that tracks food consumption and onset of the migraines, as well as avoiding particular foods.
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How To Avoid Food
“Migraine disease is complex and affected by many factors,” says Simy Parikh, MD, program director of Thomas Jefferson University’s Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Advanced Headache Diagnosis and Management and Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Thomas Jefferson University.
Here Parikh offers some steps you can take to potentially reduce migraine triggers:
Eat healthily and consistently. You may have noticed that the migraine trigger list was lacking a few major food groups “healthy” foods such as fruits, vegetables, and protein, in particular. A 2020 review showed that most “migraine-friendly” healthy eating plans, such as low-fat diets, provided a decrease in the frequency of migraine attacks.
In addition to eating healthy foods, it’s important to keep a consistent eating schedule to avoid migraines.
“Low blood glucose can trigger headaches,” says Parikh. To keep your blood sugar steady, eat at roughly the same time every day without an extended amount of time between meals, she says. Parikh also suggests to all of her patients to maintain a healthy diet and weight.
Track food triggers and eliminate them from your diet. Since multiple factors contribute to migraines, many sufferers keep a headache diary. This is where they can list the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines, as well as possible triggers, including food and drink.
The #11 Special At Your Favorite Chinese Restaurant
Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer used to prepare many foods but the MSG content in foods like our favorite take-out may be higher enough to trigger a headache. To be fair, MSG isnt just in Chinese foods. MSG can be found in everything from frozen foods, to canned soups, and snacks foods. The higher the MSG content, the riskier it could be in terms of acting as a headache trigger. People with migraine may have an exacerbation of headaches after ingesting MSG, because of its effects on cranial blood vessels, according to the Delhi Psychiatric Journal.
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Why Arent Bananas On The Migraine Diet
Bananas usually dont appear on lists of foods that trigger migraines, but they could trigger a migraine for people who are sensitive to tyramine, the same substance found in aged cheese. Studies show that the peel has about 10 times more tyramine than the banana pulp. There are no reliable studies on this, but you might want to avoid those stringy pieces of inner peel that stick to your banana if a food diarypoints to it as a likely migraine trigger for you.
Is Too Much Cheese The Reason For Your Sinus Congestion
Contrary to what we were told growing up, milk and dairy products like cheese dont actually increase mucus production when you have a cold. But theres another reason that some people feel stuffy after they eat cheese.
According to Healthline, histamine is a chemical produced by the body and found in some foods that triggers the release of stomach acid to aid digestion. Its also part of the bodys immune response that occurs after an injury or allergic reaction. The enzyme diamine oxidase breaks down histamine, but some people either have a DAO deficiency or an imbalance in their gut bacteria that leads to a buildup of more histamine than their DAO levels can handle. These people have whats known as histamine intolerance and, when histamine levels get too high, it can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including nasal congestion and sinus problems.
According to a 2007 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one percent of the population is histamine intolerant. Unfortunately for cheese fanatics, aged cheeses are particularly high in histamine, and overindulging could lead to uncomfortable stuffiness.
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Aged Cheeses Should Be Avoided If You’re Prone To Headaches
According to Everyday Health, aged cheeses are often named as headache triggers for those who suffer from migraines and milder forms of headaches. Among the cheeses known to cause headaches, aged cheeses such as Parmesan, Gouda, and blue cheese are said to be the worst. So is there any truth to this widely held belief?
Apparently there’s something to it. According to Everyday Health, aged cheeses are high in tyramine, a substance that forms in cheese as its proteins break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyrosine there will be in it. Tyrosine is a known catalyst for headaches, especially for those who suffer from them often. So if you love blue cheese and other aged cheeses, but also suffer from headaches, it might be worth reconsidering your 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,” Noah Rosen, director of the Headache Institute in Great Neck, New York, told Everyday Health.
For now, we’ll sadly put a pause on delicious, creamy blue cheese dressing.
Caffeine: A Cautionary Tale
On the flip side, caffeine can cause dehydration due to its diuretic properties, which is another trigger for migraine, so its important to stay hydrated while consuming it, Petrarca says. For those who brew up a morning cup or three on the regular, try sticking to the same amount each day, and drink it at the same time of day, to help guard against migraines. Also, limit consumption to less than 200 mg if you can. Overconsumption of caffeine can result in a migraine transforming from episodic to chronic, she says.
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How Do You Identify Your Triggers
So how do you know which of these foods are actually triggering your migraines? Since food affects all migraine sufferers differently, the best thing you can do is examine your eating habits and identify patterns that could be potential triggers. By slowly eliminating foods one-by-one, you can start to recognize what spurs your migraines. Food allergy testing can also be helpful, though you should still be wary of certain foods even if you arenât allergic to them.
To keep track of your habits, Dr. Crystal recommends keeping a careful food diary for at least one month to record what you do and donât eat. If something is a trigger, an attack will likely hit 12 to 24 hours post-consumption. Youâll be able to trace the pain back to the sourceâor at the very least, narrow it down.
We know reading this might make you feel like youâll have to start living off of nothing but water if you want to avoid debilitating pain, but itâs important to remember that not all of these foods are triggers for every sufferer . Migraines are personal, and the only way to learn your specific triggers is to track your migraines, make one adjustment at a time, and see what helps.
Can Cheese Cause Migraines
At Advanced Radiology, we know that migraine triggers can vary from person to person. Stress, fluorescent lighting, certain smells and changes in the weather can all trigger the onset of head pain. But what about cheese?Can Cheese Cause Migraines?Yes. Some types of cheese can cause migraines in some people. The cheeses linked to migraines are certain aged or fermented varieties high in tyramine. Tyramine is a protein byproduct and contributes to migraines because it causes narrowing of the blood vessels. When blood vessels narrow, blood pressure increases and causes headaches and migraines.
Do you suffer from migraines? Advanced Radiology can help. Call us at 855-201-1519 for your consultation.
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These Are The Best And Worst Foods To Eat If You Have A Migraine
Turns out, there are some foods that trigger migraines and some that can actually relieve that pounding sensation in your head.
Youre out and about on a beautiful sunny afternoon and all of a sudden youre hit with a migraine. Its the worst, right? And unfortunately, migraines are incredibly common and can be really, really painful for some people.
What causes them? Probably not the answer youre looking for, but the cause is actually unknown. Some believe migraines occur from hormonal shifts, specifically a drop in estrogen during menstruation, says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D. Two triggers that definitely can lead to a migraine are poor diet and stress, she explains. And even though causes might be based on the individual , there are specific foods and drinks that universally can be either beneficial or detrimental to migraine sufferers.
Not sure which foods to nosh on or to avoid when your head is pounding? Heres a handy guide.
Tyramine Rich Foods That May Cause Migraines
There is a long list of foods that can trigger headaches or migraines, but it does not mean that if one gives you a migraine, all foods with tyramine content will give you a migraine. This is because each food item has a different level of tyramine in it. For example, tyramine levels in cheese vary a lot depending on the different ways the cheeses are processed, on the fermentation systems, aging processes and condition of the product. The higher the tyramine, obviously the higher the chances you will suffer a migraine if you are sensitive to the compound. Processed Swiss, Parmesan, feta, Muenster, mozzarella, Stilton, cheddar, Gorgonzola, Brie and blue cheeses usually contain high levels of tyramine.
Here are some other foods that cause migraines:
- Soft pretzels
Beverages with chocolate in them, as well as caffeinated beverages, beer on tap and red wine can also be migraine triggers. Sauerkraut, soy sauce, and any sauces containing fish or shrimp may contain tyramine.
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Watch What You Drink Too
Caffeine: Although not technically a food, caffeine comes in at the top of the migraine trigger list. This natural stimulant is most commonly found in tea, coffee and cocoa, as well fizzy drinks and energy drinks. Both consuming it in beverages and experiencing caffeine withdrawal can lead to migraine attacks.
Alcohol: Congeners, byproducts of alcohol, have also been linked to headaches. Dark alcoholic drinks like red wine, whiskey and brandy are said to have a higher concentration. As well as leaving us dehydrated, alcohol relaxes the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood flow to the brain.
What to try instead: Decaffeinated hot drinks such as herbal teas containing chamomile, ginger and turmeric all boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve migraine and headache pain. These teas may also help reduce stress and anxiety another contributing factor to migraines.
Eating Too Much Cheese Could Be Causing Your Breakouts
If youre dealing with adult acne, you should know that the cheese youre eating may not be doing your skin any favors. The Mayo Clinic called out four underlying causes of acne: excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, bacteria, and overactivity of androgens. The clinic noted that diet, particularly some dairy products and carb-rich foods, may worsen acne.
It isnt clear exactly how dairy products affect acne. Healthline highlighted several theories, including a possible connection between the hormones given to dairy cows and our own delicate hormonal balance. The growth hormones naturally present in milk might also be to blame. A third possibility is that dairy, combined with refined carbohydrates, may increase insulin levels and make skin more prone to acne.
And even if cheese isnt contributing to your breakouts, it may be causing other skin problems. As registered dietitian Trista Best told Health Digest, Sensitivities to dairy can also express themselves on the skin through rashes, dry patches, and uneven skin tone.
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Foods That Can Trigger Headaches
There is nothing more annoying than a pounding or throbbing headache. Although common, headaches can disrupt your sleep or productivity.
According to the World Health Organization, almost half of the adult population have experienced a headache at least once within the last year.
If you are suffering from frequent headaches but are unsure whats causing them, it may be the foods you are eating. Certain foods trigger headaches due to the chemicals and ingredients in the foods such as tyramine and histamine. Foods that give you headaches range from chocolate and alcohol to citrus fruits and aged cheese.
Not all headaches are triggered by foods but if your headaches are, it is important to know your triggers and how to avoid them.
Here are 10 foods that can trigger headaches according to the National Headache Foundation:
10 Foods That Trigger Headaches
1. Excess Caffeine
Some of the most common reasons people experience headaches are drinking excess caffeine and caffeine withdrawals. Although a healthy amount of caffeine can treat oncoming migraines, too much caffeine can trigger a headache according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Studies show that two chemicals, tyramine, and histamine, which are found in alcohol, especially red wine, trigger headaches and migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 1/3 of migraine sufferers reported alcohol to be a trigger for their occasional migraines.
3. Milk chocolate
Foods That May Help With Migraines
Unfortunately, there is no single migraine diet, or list of foods you can eat that will treat or reduce a headache. There isnt much research on the benefit of dietary restrictions and migraine triggers, Dr. Wilhour says.
One review of 43 studies, published in the journal Headache in 2020, looked at a variety of diets in relation to migraine attacks. It found that most of the diets lowered the frequency of headaches.
But the researchers wrote that the research on a whole was not high quality and there wasnt enough strong evidence to suggest any of the eating patterns were effective.
What I find more important is eating regular meals, maintaining good hydration, and consuming caffeine in moderation, Dr. Diamond says.
Its natural to want to find the one thing that triggers your headaches, but she notes migraines are more complicated than that.
Finally, if you have chronic migraine, which is a migraine more than half of the days in the month, you should talk to your doctor about going on a preventative medication to control migraines.
One goal is to be around some of your triggers so that you can tolerate them without inciting a migraine, Dr. Wilhour says.
For instance, maybe you can have a glass of red wine with your friends one night a month. Being able to enjoy yourself is one of the main goals of treatment.
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