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.
Migraine Triggers Often Work In Combination
Often, its not one particular trigger that sets off your migraine attack but a combination of factors that build up. These could include:
- Stress: Drinking wine when youre stressed or anxious could produce a headache, while a glass or two when youre happy and relaxed is fine.
- Dehydration: All alcohol causes some level of dehydration, which is a known trigger for migraines. Sip a glass of water in between each glass of wine to keep dehydration at bay.
- Hunger: Its an easy mistake to wait too long to eat when youre having a couple of glasses with friends. This causes your blood glucose to dip and is also a common trigger for a migraine episode.
- Foods: Many social events include snacks that are on the list of foods to avoid, such as fried, fatty finger snacks, nuts, hot dogs and food containing MSG or food dyes. Eating just one of the wrong foods on top of the other factors could set off your migraine.
- Sun or bright lights: Drinking wine outdoors on a sunny day sounds wonderful, but in reality, it can be a headache waiting to happen. For migraineurs who are light-sensitive, too, a social event indoors under spotlights can also up the ante in favor of an attack.
- Noise: A vast majority of social events include loud music, and even if they dont, a large number of people in attendance can generate quite a conversation buzz. Add that to your wine sensitivity and the combination could be painful.
The Fallacy Of Sulfites
Youll often see the wording contains sulfites on wine bottles, which means the product contains a sulfur-based preservative to prevent oxidization and retain freshness. Sulfites are naturally-occurring chemical compounds that prevent microbial growth and reproduction, and winemakers often add extra sulfites to the wine to extend its shelf life. Sulfites are also found in foods, and are believed to trigger asthma attacks more than migraines.
Red wine usually contains fewer sulfites than white or sweet wines do. If experience shows that sulfites could help to provoke an episode, stick to organic wines that usually have lower levels of sulfites. You can expect these to both taste differently and differ in cost as well.
Also Check: Does Laughing Cow Cheese Go Bad
Avoid Foods That Trigger Migraines Containing Soy Sauce And Msg
Monosodium glutamate , which is found in soy sauce and as a food additive in many other foods, has been found to cause cramps, diarrhea, and a horrible headache in 10 to 15 percent of people who get migraine headaches. “Soy sauce as a migraine trigger is probably due to MSG, but soy sauce is also very salty, which can lead to dehydration, another possible headache trigger,” notes Rosen.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Babybel Need To Be Refrigerated
What We Know About Gluten And Migraine
Gluten is a protein found in wheat products, rye, barley, and triticale . It is found in many foods like bread, pasta, beer, food colorings, and cereals.
For many people with Migraine, gluten is not a problem. Research suggests, though, that those with celiac disease or other inflammatory bowel conditions may be at a higher risk for developing Migraine and may experience gluten-related Migraine. One recent study found an increase in reports of Migraine in people with CD or IBD.
How To Keep A Food Diary
When keeping a food diary, it is important to write down everything you ate and when along with any symptoms experienced. It is also important to jot down compounding factors like the details of your menstrual flow , major weather events, outside stressors, and sleep patterns.
Mobile apps take the guesswork out since they often factor in weather in your area and perceived sleep patterns, saving you the effort of adding that data yourself. Because triggers are additive, you might be able to enjoy a triggering food one day, and find it problematic if consumed on a high-stress day when a storm is brewing outside.
Once you have a clearer picture of your own Migraine food triggers, you can choose to avoid them. Theres no need to avoid the whole laundry list of potential foods.
Migraine Again founder Paula K. Dumas gave up aged cheese for nearly 15 years before discovering it wasn’t necessary at all. For her, it wasn’t one of her personal migraine food triggers.
Recommended Reading: Babybel Expiration
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 diary points to it as a likely migraine trigger for you.
What Cheese Can People With Migraines Eat
If you’re a migraine sufferer, you already know how debilitating those headaches can be. But what you may not know is there’s a possible connection between some types of dairy and migraines. Aged cheese, like gruyere, havarti, parmesan and even some cheddars, can trigger migraines within hours.
Video of the Day
Migraine sufferers should stick to fresh cheeses, like mild cheddar, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, American cheese, Colby and Monterey Jack. Aged cheeses, like Parmesan, Asiago, Mozzarella and sharp cheddar contain tyramine, an amino acid that can trigger headaches.
This is the effect of an amino acid called tyramine, which affects the diameter of the blood vessels in your brain and can bring on throbbing headache pain. If you suspect food is a trigger for your migraines, keeping a food journal can help you pinpoint any potential offenders.
Also Check: Babybel Cheese Melt
Tyramine Containing Foods Are Often Cited As Migraine Triggers
If you’ve done some research on a Migraine diet, you’ve probably run across tyramine. Tyramine is a byproduct found naturally in some foodsparticularly those that are aged and fermented, like cheese.
Foods produce tyramine when the amino acid, tyrosine, is converted to epinephrine, which is an adrenal gland hormone. The resulting byproduct, tyramine can trigger Migraine attacks in those who are sensitive.
Here’s the catch: it doesn’t affect everyone equally. Some people are amine-resistant, meaning they have a difficult time breaking down any amine, tyramine included.
Create A Prevention Strategy
Forming a prevention plan with your doctor is key. Your strategy should center around anticipating and alleviating triggers. That might involve increasing your hydration or temporarily using preventive medications, Dr. Klenofsky says.
Additionally, steer clear of migraine-activating foods, especially when there’s rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Common offenders include:
Read Also: Can Babybel Cheese Stay Unrefrigerated
The Connection Between Wine And Migraines
To wine or not to wine, that is the question for many migraine sufferers who believe there is a connection between drinking wine and developing an attack. While alcohol in general is considered a common trigger by some, research from the American Migraine Foundation appears to show the risk is overrated. The most common reason for a headache associated with wine consumption is drinking too much of it. This presents itself as a hangover that causes stress, which is an undisputed trigger of migraine attacks. All the same, some patients develop headaches after drinking just a single glass of wine, especially when red wine is made from dark-colored grapes.
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.
You May Like: Can I Eat Grilled Cheese After Tooth Extraction
What Is An Elimination Diet And Should I Try One
An elimination diet consists of removing a long list of foods from your diet that may be triggering a Migraine attack.
“Besides red wine and MSG, in terms of food triggers, there really is not good enough evidence to justify elimination diets,” said Dr. Charles. “An elimination diet can really interfere with someones quality of life, and that kind of interference may be unnecessary.”
Overripe Dried Or Citrus Fruits
Certain fruits can lead to migraines, particularly those that are exceptionally sweet. Dried fruits, citrus juices and overly ripe fruits are amongst these. Examples include figs, raisins, papaya and overripe bananas. Canned fruit stored in sweetened syrup or with added preservatives can also serve as culprits. In general, fresh fruit is best.
- Certain fruits can lead to migraines, particularly those that are exceptionally sweet.
- Canned fruit stored in sweetened syrup or with added preservatives can also serve as culprits.
Also Check: Can You Melt Babybel Cheese
Triggers Of Migraine Headaches
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 them…The one food trigger that does seem to be consistent is red wine…MSG is another probable Migraine trigger…There 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.”
Read Also: Dominos Philly Cheesesteak
Other Migraine Triggers You Should Know
Although food can be the cause of migraines for a lot of people, there can be other reasons for an attack of this kind. Its important to understand what could be triggering your symptoms if you are suffering.
Studies have shown that weather, hormones, physical activity, stress, lack of sleep and over-use of medications can cause migraine headache and pain.
There is a theory linking headache pain and changes in the weather it is a need to seek a safer environment due to the uncomfortable environmental conditions. That fact is: extreme heat and cold seem to trigger severe headaches in some people. Evidence indicates that a lot of women experience migraines during menstruation because of a big fluctuation in female sex hormones.
While stress induced migraines and lack of sleep require little explanation, physical activity and over-use of medications are a little more complex. A recent study showed that 38 percent of migraine sufferers had exercise related migraines at some point. This is due to the fact that they went overboard when working out. In many cases they hurt their necks or back, which ultimately led to the migraine. As for medications, often migraine sufferers start with the occasional attack, but over-use of pain-relieving medications actually cause more migraines to occur.
A Few More Potential Trigger Foods
Even though weâd hate to take the fun out of even more of your favorite foods, we should let you know about these other potential trigger foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these foods are commonly reported as migraine triggers, but thereâs no scientific evidence that they really cause them, so donât clean out your fridge just yet. Instead, turn to a migraine tracker to see if any of these might be causing you pain.
- Chicken livers and other organ meats
- Dairy products like buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
- Dried fruits like dates, figs, and raisins
- Most beans including lima, fava, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, and snow peas
- Pickled foods like olives, sauerkraut, and, of course, pickles
- Potato chips
- Some fresh fruits like ripe bananas, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, and pineapple
- Smoked or dried fish
- Tomato-based products
Also Check: Best Philly Cheesesteak Pizza
Heres How Cheese Causes Headaches With Tyramine
I love cheese and eat all kinds of it, but thats because I am among the lucky ones who has no genetic problems processing it. Today Im going to talk a lot about cheese, just as one example to make the case against tyramine which causes headaches.
Cheese, all of them Sauerkraut
Elevated blood pressureSevere hypertensive crisis May include symptoms above as well as signs of impending stroke
4. A person who is deficient in Vitamin B6 either due to poor nutrition, or from taking a drug mugger of B6Vitamin B6 is needed to finish the methylation pathway and form 5-MTHF , and without B6, this process cannot be accomplished. MAO inhibitor drugs will impact B6, and therefore suppress folate production in the body. If you have SNPs in this pathway . I do realize this information is complex, and there is an interconnectedness with genes, vitamins and disease states, so please talk to a qualified, holistic physician who understands all this. I am not a doctor, so I am unable to weigh in beyond the educational information presented here.
If you need more help, there is a lot of information at the National Headache Foundation:
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.
Also Check: Domino’s Philly Cheese Steak Sauce
How To Do An Elimination Diet
If you suspect that certain foods or drinks trigger your migraine, an elimination diet could help. You’ll cut out foods and drinks that can trigger migraines and then slowly add them back. If your migraine symptoms return, it may be a sign that it’s because of a certain food.
Talk to your doctor before giving it a try. You’ll want to make sure that it’s safe for you and learn how to fine-tune the food plan for your needs.
Donât cut out everything that might cause a headache at once. Thatâll only make it harder to figure out which ones affect you. Also, itâs a bad idea for children and pregnant women to restrict food.
Instead, cut out one potential food trigger at a time. Keep track of how you feel over the next month. This should help you decide whether the food in question is a problem or if you can start eating it again.
Keep a food journal
A diary will help you keep track of your diet. If you get a migraine, don’t look only at what you ate that day. Go back as far as 3 days before.
Sometimes, people crave the foods that will trigger their migraine. If you suspect a certain food or drink, remove it from your diet again for at least a month.
Think about your medicines
Don’t stop or change any of your medication doses until you get the go-ahead from your doctor.
An elimination diet isn’t foolproof
Since migraines have many triggers that arenât food or drink, keep in mind that the diet may not give you all the answers.