What In Cheese Causes Migraines

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This May Be A Sign That You Need To Eat Less Cheese

Cheese & the migraine diet

For those who are lactose intolerant, eating cheese can really wreak havoc in the body. WebMD noted that diarrhea is one of the many gastrointestinal symptoms associated with lactose intolerance. The good news is that some cheeses are quite low in lactose and should be safe to eat for most lactose intolerant people. An article published in the magazine Real Simple highlighted nine of the lowest-lactose cheeses: muenster, Camembert, brie, cheddar, provolone, Gouda, blue, Parmesan, and Swiss.

But, ironically, eating too much cheese can also lead to constipation. If your diet contains so much cheese that it leaves you too full to consume other, more colon-friendly foods, constipation may result, SFGate explained.

The article noted, “If your diet was high in cheese but low in high-fiber plant foods, you might want to blame your constipation on the cheese, but in fact the culprit would be the absence of fiber.” So if you’re going to go crazy on the cheese, make sure you balance out your diet with fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains.

The Connection Between Your Diet And Migraines

While migraines may arise due to a wide range of factorsand these vary from person to persontheres no doubt that diet and dietary patterns are linked to the condition. How so? Heres a quick breakdown:

  • Certain foods and drinks contain substances that may trigger migraine attacks.
  • Skipping meals or eating at irregular times can also bring on migraines.
  • Obesity is a risk factor for migraines, so diet may be used to promote weight loss.

More research is needed about the exact associations between diet and migraines. However, the current consensus is that they increase the chances of attacks. And, for an estimated 20% of those with this disorder, certain foods and drinks act as triggers.

What We Know About Chocolate And Migraine

Chocolate is NOT a proven Migraine food trigger! Although chocolate is a commonly reported trigger, studies have not been able to show that chocolate consistently triggers attacks.

In fact, it actually may be healthy to eat in moderation. If you are getting a craving for chocolate, it may be a sign that a Migraine attack is already on its way.

However, if chocolate is a trigger for you, be sure to avoid it.

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How Can You Tell If A Food Is A Trigger For Your Migraine

  • Eating a certain food should trigger a headache within 12 to at most 24 hours.
  • Limit the food of concern for four weeks and monitor your headache frequency, severity, and response to treatment using a headache diary.
  • If there is no change in your headaches, then that food alone may not be the trigger.
  • Cautiondo NOT restrict all possible trigger foods from your diet for an extended period of time. This is not likely to be helpful, and too much concern about avoiding foods may be another stress, as well as decrease your enjoyment of mealtime.
  • Restrictive diets should not be tried or followed during pregnancy. These diets are not likely to be helpful, and may prevent adequate nutrition for both mother and fetus because of the reduced consumption of calcium-rich and vitamin-rich foods.
  • Restrictive diets should NOT be used in children and adolescents because of doubtful benefit, and significant social disruption. Prohibiting the child from sharing a chocolate Easter basket with his siblings or the teenager from attending a pizza party can significantly add to the social stigma of having headaches.

Keeping a headache diary and following your lifestyle factors along with diet may help you identify patterns to your headache. Onset of menstrual cycles, work stress, sleep routine changes, and fasting may all be confounding what is thought to be a food trigger for headache.

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Overindulging In Cheese Could Cause High Blood Pressure

The 5 Types of Foods That Commonly Trigger Migraines ...

The 20152020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg a day. The report also noted, however, that the average American consumes about 3,400 mg daily, and high sodium consumption is considered a risk factor for high blood pressure.

The bad news is that many cheeses are high in sodium. An ounce of feta, for example, has a staggering 360 mg about 15 percent of your daily limit. But not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to their effect on blood pressure. Research published in the European Review of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences in 2018 studied the effects of Grana Padano, an Italian semi-fat cheese, and found that participants who ate 30 grams daily actually lowered their blood pressure.

Citing the study’s author Giuseppe Crippa, director of the hypertension unit at the Guglielmo Saliceto Hospital in Italy, Men’s Health revealed that this particular cheese contains two compounds isoleucine-proline-proline and valine-proline-proline that relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. But for everyone not eating this kind of cheese, it’s a good idea to watch the sodium in the cheeses you do eat, particularly if you already have high blood pressure.

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Tips To Identify Trigger Foods

Some doctors may recommend that people with migraines keep a food journal to track what they eat and any headache symptoms that they experience.

It is worth noting that some people may have an immediate reaction to a food, while others may not react until 24 hours after eating it.

The next step is to try removing one potential trigger food from the diet to see if migraines still occur. For example, a person may decide to avoid all products that contain red wine for a week, including red wine vinegar and the wine itself.

This approach can ensure that people do not remove foods from their diet unnecessarily.

Doctors have identified five main trigger categories for migraines, one of which is different food types. The other four categories are:

  • Changes in the environment. Changes in atmospheric pressure, the season, and even storms may trigger migraines.
  • Hormones. Changes in hormone levels that occur due to the menstrual cycle can trigger migraines, as can some hormonal changes during pregnancy.
  • Sensory stimulation. Bright lights, certain smells, smoke, and excessive and repetitive noises can all trigger migraines in some people.
  • Stress. Stress, intensive exercise, illness, or unusual sleep habits may trigger migraines.

Sometimes, a combination of migraine triggers can lead to a migraine headache. For example, a person could be very stressed, miss a meal, and reduce their hours of sleep.

Making dietary changes is not the only option for treating migraines.

Is Too Much Cheese The Reason For Your Sinus Congestion

Contrary to what we were told growing up, milk and dairy products like cheese don’t actually increase mucus production when you have a cold. But there’s 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. It’s also part of the body’s 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 what’s 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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Diet Soda: Potential Headache Trigger

While you may feel that drinking diet soda instead of regular soda is a way to avoid excess sugar and calories, they typically contain aspartame as an artificial sweetener, which has been reported as a potential headache or migraine trigger for some.

Ultimately, its important to remember that every person, and every headache, can be different. And most people do not have any triggers at all. If you believe certain safe foods may still be triggering your headaches, try keeping a headache diaryor a migraine diary to track patterns and consider consulting your doctor.

Additional simple food swaps can also help you reduce head pain.

Caffeine: A Cautionary Tale

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

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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What Makes A Migraine Different From A Bad Headache

A migraine is a neurological disorder accompanied by symptoms that are so severe, they are incapacitating. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics, disorders of nerve pathways and brain chemicals are main components of a migraine, and these make it different from a generic headache.

Migraine symptoms make it difficult for those affected to work, go to school, or function. These symptoms include:

  • Severe pain or throbbing on one or both sides of the head
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in hands, feet or face
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, sound and smell
  • Vomiting

Attacks typically last anywhere from four to 72 hours.

How Our Diets Affect Migraine

Many things can trigger a migraine attack, including what we eat and drink.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, foods that trigger migraine may only do so when combined with other triggers. But this combination and any trigger in general is highly individualized, making research difficult.

Theres no such thing as a universal migraine trigger. But there are some common triggers that can cause or contribute to migraine episodes in some people.

Too much caffeine and experiencing caffeine withdrawal can cause migraine or headaches.

But according to the American Migraine Foundation, caffeine can actually help stop oncoming migraine attacks. It can also offer headache relief with occasional use.

Foods and drinks with caffeine include:

one study , over 35% of the 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 the participants who reported alcohol as a trigger.

Alcohol can cause dehydration, which is a significant contributor in developing headaches.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, chocolate is thought to be the second most common trigger for migraine attacks after alcohol. They say it affects an estimated 22 percent of people who experience migraine.

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

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Your High Cholesterol May Or May Not Be The Result Of Your Love Affair With Cheese

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 29 million Americans have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL. The CDC noted that high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

The American Heart Association has linked the saturated fat in cheese and other dairy products to increased low-density lipoprotein , or “bad” cholesterol, and thus, heart disease. The AHA recommends that saturated fat should make up no more than 5 or 6 percent of your daily calories.

However, not all experts agree. One 2015 study published in Food and Nutrition Research found that “cholesterol levels did not increase after high intake of 27% fat Gouda-type cheese over 8 weeks’ intervention.” A meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016 concluded that “dairy fat intake was not significantly related to risk of total CVD ,” although they did note that replacing the fat in dairy products with polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils decreased cholesterol levels.

Everyday Foods That Cause Headaches And Migraines Foods That You Should Avoid

8 Foods That Trigger Headaches

Before we mention the common foods that cause headaches and migraines, we would like to introduce to you some background information about these conditions. Migraines and other types of problem like a sinus headache and tension headache have a painful experience. When you suffer from migraines and headaches, you may face the symptoms such as nausea, pounding headache, vomiting, and light sensitivity. Migraines can be treated with abortion and antinausea drugs or preventive medications. The common treatment for the problem is using pain relievers.

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Food Drink And Additive Triggers

Perhaps because of the genetic variations, no studies exist that prove a particular food or drink ingredient triggers attacks in all migraine sufferers. There have been studies that show certain ingredients trigger attacks in some people. Theres also evidence from surveys of migraine sufferers and headache diary analysis that these triggers exist. From those research findings and anecdotal evidence from migraine sufferers a few likely culprits emerge:

Tyramine-Rich Foods

It appears that some migraine sufferers dont process foods containing the amino acid tyramine in the same way that people without migraines do. A few examples of tyramine-rich foods include:

  • Aged cheeses blue, Swiss, Parmesan, feta, aged cheddar
  • Cured meats salami, summer sausages, pepperoni, corned beef
  • Pickled foods olives, sauerkraut, kimchee
  • Broad beans fava beans, snow peas
  • Fermented soy products soy sauce, tofu, miso soup, teriyaki sauce

A slice of cheese in your sandwich wont necessarily trigger a migraine, says Stephen F. Knox, M.D., a neurologist with Sutter Medical Group neurologist who treats patients with migraine, but a platter of cheese, olives and salami at the party certainly could especially if you add a glass of red wine.


Food Additives

Some studies refute the idea that these additives trigger migraines, but the consensus seems to be that certain additives affect subgroups of migraine sufferers.


Citrus Fruits


Bread Grains And Cereals

  • most cereals, except for those containing nuts, dried fruits, or aspartame
  • plain or sesame seed bagels
  • quick bread, such as pumpernickel or zucchini bread
  • most plain pretzels and potato chips
  • unflavored crackers, such as saltines or Club crackers
  • white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread from a store

Foods to avoid:

  • flavored crackers, such as cheddar cheese crackers
  • fresh bread that is homemade or from a grocers bakery
  • pizza, as it is also a fresh bread
  • highly flavored or seasoned chips
  • soft pretzels
  • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, MSG, and artificial sweeteners
  • smoked fish
  • yeast extract

Not eating anything at all can also lead to an increased incidence of migraines. For some people, prolonged hunger and not eating enough are known headache triggers. This may be due to a link between low blood sugar levels and worsening migraine headaches.

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Keep Asking Questions Until You Get The Answer You Need

The Medical Experts are all here to answer your questions online or with a phone call.

Many drinks which contain alcohol will result in a headache by increasing the blood flow to our brain and making your body dehydrated. They are also the triggers of migraines and headaches. Patients with the problem tend to have worse hangovers caused by any alcohol type, according to Robert Daroff, MD, a professor of neurology working at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and also a past president of the American Headache Society. Alcohol will cause headaches in some patients who have gone through a period of cluster headaches.

Eating Too Much Cheese Could Be Causing Your Breakouts

11 Foods That Cause Migraines

If you’re dealing with adult acne, you should know that the cheese you’re 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 isn’t 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 isn’t 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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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.

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