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What foods trigger a Migraine Headache?

Migraines are a common type of headache that can be extremely painful and debilitating. Women are three times more likely to encounter them than men, and they are thought to afflict 1 in 7 persons worldwide. Although they might be frightening and distressing, migraines usually do not result in death.

Migraine headaches can be triggered by a variety of factors, including certain foods. 

  1. Aged Cheese – Tyramine, a compound that can cause migraines in certain people, can be found in aged or fermented cheeses such as blue cheese, cheddar, and parmesan. Since tyramine is produced when the proteins in cheese break down with age, aged cheeses often contain more of it than fresh cheeses.
  2. Processed Meats – Nitrates and nitrites are preservatives found in processed meats like hot dogs, salami, and pepperoni. Some persons may have migraines as a result of these substances.
  3. Chocolate – Caffeine, which is present in chocolate, may cause migraines in some people. It also contains tyramine, which we already stated, and phenylethylamine, which can widen blood vessels and, in some people, lead to migraines.
  4.  Alcohol – Tyramine, histamine, and other chemicals found in alcohol, particularly red wine, and beer, can cause migraines in certain people. Dehydration, which for some people can be a migraine trigger, is another effect of alcohol.
  5. Citrus Fruits – Citric acid, which is present in large quantities in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, can cause headaches in certain people.
  6. Nuts – Tyramine, which is abundant in nuts and particularly prevalent in peanuts, almonds, and walnuts, has been linked to migraines in some individuals.
  7. MSG – MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer that is commonly used in Chinese food and other types of cuisine. Some people are sensitive to MSG and may experience migraines after consuming it.
  8. Coffee – Coffee contains a significant amount of caffeine, a common migraine trigger. However while coffee may trigger migraines in some people, it may also have beneficial effects for others. Some studies suggest that caffeine can help to relieve migraine symptoms by constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation. 

Why do certain foods trigger migraines?

According to research, certain foods may cause migraines by altering the concentrations of the brain’s pain- and inflammation-controlling neurotransmitters. Tyramine, for instance, which is present in aged cheeses and chocolate, might widen blood vessels and result in migraines. Similarly, nitrates and nitrites, which are included in processed meats, can narrow blood vessels before they open up, which can result in migraines.

What should you do if you think certain foods are triggering your migraines?

Keep a food journal to assist you pinpoint the items that may be causing your migraines if you suspect that they are. To test if it affects your migraine symptoms, you can also try removing one meal at a time from your diet. It’s crucial to remember that not every individual who gets migraines reacts the same way to certain meals, so what works for one person might not work for another.