Eliminating The Food And Drink Culprits
Since each person is different as to which foods and drinks cause and relieve headaches, it takes giving the special diet attention to determine what triggers headaches and what helps headache pain. It may be possible to link certain foods to your headaches, so you can eliminate them from the diet, or to link them to headache relief and add them to the diet.
Developing a healthy lifestyle is also crucial to headache management. You should not rely only on medications for relief. Many headaches are caused by stress and tension, so address the stress factors in your life. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Limit alcohol intake. Do not skip meals. Drink lots of water every day. Get regular good sleep. Exercise regularly. These are behaviors that anyone can control and will go a long way towards preventing headaches and/or minimizing headache pain.
These 9 Fruits May Trigger Instant Migraines New Study Says
If one of your favorite things about summer is loading up on fresh fruit, you’re definitely not alone. But when it comes to the often mysterious phenomenon of migraine headaches, researchers in Brazil have tested a migraine theory to identify nine fruits to avoid for anyone who’s sensitive to serious headaches. We have the list of all nine, ranked by their migraine trigger frequency.
The research team was composed of four neurology and nutrition pros who work at Brazilian universities or hospitals. The scientists designed the fruit migraine study on the premise that some foods have been recognized as migraine triggers, even though the mechanism behind this is not well understood. Past research had also looked at the effect on scents on migraine, with one study finding that perfume, paint, gasoline, and bleachin that orderwere significant migraine-triggering odors.
The researchers for the current study wanted to examine some of the more aromatic everyday foods we eat to look for a similar effect. For some foods, the research abstract states, “There is evidence that they act on the pathogenesis of migraine, interfering with meningeal inflammation, vasodilation and cerebral glucose metabolism.” In other words, past research had pointed to how some foods may lead to migraines due to how they impact neurological system inflammation, blood vessel dilation , and the brain’s sugar metabolization.
Does Caffeine Cause Or Treat Migraines
Caffeine can be confusing to people with migraines. On the one hand, people report caffeine to be a common migraine trigger, and daily drinkers of coffee are more likely to have chronic migraines than people who dont consume caffeine regularly.
On the other hand, caffeine has long been used in combination with aspirin and acetaminophen to effectively treat all kinds of headaches including migraines.
What experts believe is that it may not be the caffeine itself that triggers migraines, but rather the caffeine withdrawal. However, not all coffee drinkers will get withdrawal symptoms. So if you are a regular coffee drinker who also gets migraines, make sure you are consistent with when you drink your daily cup. And if you are looking to cut back on your caffeine consumption, try to do it gradually over the course of a week.
Don’t Miss: How To Cure Migraine Naturally
Bananas Give You Energy When You Need It
Looking for something quick and easy that could help stave off a migraine attack or an episode of hypoglycemia, which could lead to a headache? Reach for a banana rather than highly processed foods like granola bars or candy, suggests Brown.
Bananas are a great food for quick energy recovery, and theyre high in magnesium, which can be helpful when people have headaches, she says.
Bananas are about 74 percent water, so there are hydration benefits as well, Brown says.
What Foods Can Help Prevent Migraines
Eating a healthful diet can help prevent migraines. A healthful diet should consist of fresh foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Fresh foods are less likely to have added food preservatives, such as monosodium glutamate . Preservatives can trigger migraines in some people, so avoiding foods that contain them can help.
The Association of Migraine Disorders have created a list of migraine safe foods to guide a persons food choices. These foods generally do not contain preservatives, yeasts, flavorings, and other substances that are potential migraine triggers, such as nitrites and phenylalanine.
Below, we look at which foods to eat and avoid within a range of food groups:
Recommended Reading: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy
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.
Millions Of Americans Suffer From Chronic Headaches Or Migraines
These can range from just a minor annoyance to debilitating pain. While medication can help, these can have some difficult side effects.
Many people who take migraine medications, for example, report feeling nauseous or extremely sleepy. These side effects are so bad in some patients that they cant function. Obviously, no one wants to take a medication that can make you feel worse.
Fortunately, there are some at home remedies that are generally perfectly safe and effective. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, these simple remedies might be just the thing you need to get through the day.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine
Collard Mustard And Turnip Greens
These greens are all high in magnesium and add delicious variety to your migraine diet. Known as traditional southern greens, this trio is excellent sauteed, braised, or added to soups. For example, check out this quick collard green recipe, or this recipe for southern collard greens. You could even add these greens into your pasta, for example this dish with pasta collard greens and onions.
A Migraine Diet Made Easy
We have put together a list of tasty and healthy foods that are rich in the vitamins and minerals that will help fight off migraines. We have also included some tips and tricks on crafting an overall better migraine diet, from what to avoid to what you should definitely eat. Finally, we rounded that up with a collection of eat this, not that recommendations at the end.
There has been quite a bit of research done on the correlation between certain foods and migraines. The results are usually classified into categories such as pain-safe foods that never contribute to headache and common triggers that often cause headaches. Everything else can fall in the middle and not all diet choices will be right for you.
Some triggers will affect you and some wont, so it is always a smart idea to keep track of what you eat and how it affects you. You can use a daily activity journal to track and identify problem foods and activities to better understand how to mitigate your migraines. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that it could take several months to notice a sizeable difference when eliminating certain foods. Remember, changing your diet isnt guaranteed to make you migraine-free, but it is a powerful tool in helping you reduce migraine episodes and pain overall.
Recommended Reading: Over The Counter Migraine Medications List
Don’t Buy Expensive Pills
Theres little point in spending extra on fancy-sounding pills, says Dr Andrew Lawson, consultant in pain medicine and senior lecturer at Imperial College, London.
There is no advantage in buying a branded, usually more expensive product instead of a generic brand, he says.
You cant beat value paracetamol caplets as a general all-round painkiller, and they cost as little as 16p.
For paracetamol to be effective for an adult, you should take two 500mg tablets four times a day.
Avoid long-term use more than two weeks because it raises enzymes in the liver.
Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory properties and works well for headaches accompanied by high temperature. Again, there is no advantage in buying a branded product, he says.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Beat Migraines Naturally
Add Magnesium To Your Diet
Magnesium is a great nutrient to add to your migraine diet. It can help with increasing energy, calming anxiety, and relieving digestive issues. It also has been shown to prevent and soothe migraine headaches of all types. Try adding spinach, quinoa, and whole grains to your diet as they are high in magnesium and other essential nutrients. If you cant seem to fit in enough, magnesium supplements are an excellent alternative.
Why Do People Get Headaches From Eating Bananas
Can bananas give you headaches?
- Potassium is needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity, blood pressure, and nerve and muscle function, but
- pressure, and nerve and muscle function, but theres no evidence that it can.
- cause headaches, even in high amounts..
- In fact its very rare that.
- potassium levels are too high in healthy people eating a normal diet –
You May Like: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine
How Else Can Migraine Be Treated
Some over-the-counter headache medications can help with the pain, such as Tylenol or Excedrin . If your migraine attacks are more severe or frequent, your doctor may prescribe medications or other treatments for you.
For relief without pills, your doctor may suggest trying Botox injections or using a neuromodulation device like the Cefaly Dual.
Resting in a dark, quiet room helps some people. For extra help, a cold compress on the head can have a numbing effect. There are also natural remedies you can try, including supplements like:
Instead Of: Ice Cream Or Frozen Yogurt
Nothing says summer like a big bowl full of ice cream or frozen yogurt, but dairy and sugar can trigger and increase migraine pain exponentially. Is it really worth it?
Try: Mango berry nice cream
Most of the dairy-free nice cream circulating around the web these days feature bananas and coconut milk, two foods to skip on a migraine diet. This mango berry nice cream is rich and sweet with no added sugar. Berries are at their very best in the summer. To take advantage of this treat year-round, freeze them first on cookie sheets. Then put them in pre-measured bags for a quick frozen treat whenever the urge strikes!
If you need more directed help with your migraine headaches, talk to a pain doctor today to learn about treatment options that could help you. Click here to contact one of our pain specialists.
Also Check: Natural Remedies For Vestibular Migraines
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.
When Should I Consider A Tyramine
Tyramine-rich foods might interact with or alter how medications work in your body. For example, certain MAOIs, including certain antidepressants and medications for Parkinsons disease, can cause tyramine buildup.
Excessive tyramine intake may lead to a hypertensive crisis that can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic. A hypertensive crisis can occur when blood pressure is so high that you have a greater chance of stroke or death.
If you have a poor ability to break down amines such as tyramine or histamine, you may experience allergic-type reactions to small amounts of amines. Your doctor may say that youre amine intolerant.
For the majority of people who are amine intolerant, tyramines effects are most obvious when you have excessive amounts. At high enough levels, you might experience symptoms, such as:
- heart palpitations
If you think you may be sensitive to tyramine or if youre taking MAOIs, report any symptoms to your doctor.
As a treatment for migraines, some doctors recommend trying a low-tyramine or tyramine-free diet. The diets effectiveness for treating migraines isnt medically proven.
If youre sensitive to tyramine or youre taking MAOIs, you may want to limit your intake of tyramine-rich foods and beverages to lower your chances for tyramine buildup.
Don’t Miss: Migraine Med With Caffeine
Broccoli May Help Prevent Menstrual Migraine
Changes in hormone levels can lead to headaches, especially for women with menstrual migraine or headaches, says Brown. Falling levels of estrogen, which occur just before menstruation begins, can trigger an attack, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
Women who have this type of migraine would benefit from increasing their intake of cruciferous vegetables, because of their effects on estrogen, Brown says.
Cruciferous vegetables contain hormonally active compounds called phytoestrogens, which can have estrogenic, or estrogen-like, effects in humans or, conversely, antiestrogenic effects. Its thought that the antiestrogenic effects of some phytoestrogens may lower a womans risk of certain types of cancer by lowering her exposure to her own estrogen.
Some research, cited in a February 2021 review in Climacteric, indicates phytoestrogens improve bone mineral density and markers of cardiovascular risk in post-menopausal women effects that estrogen would be expected to have in premenopausal women.
Theres also some evidence that phytoestrogens help to prevent menstrual migraine attacks in premenopausal women, according to a review published in Neurological Sciences.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy those can all be very helpful if you include more of them in your diet, says Brown.
Whats The Link Between Tyramine And Headaches
Because of its chemical structure, tyramine is called a monoamine. Thereâs an enzyme in our bodies that breaks down monoamines called monoamine oxidase . This enzyme helps process tyramine.
Scientists made the connection after anti-depression drugs that inhibit MAO went on the market in the 1950s. People taking the drugs began to get headaches and high blood pressure when they ate foods containing tyramine.
Experts are still trying to understand how tyramine triggers migraines. One explanation is that it causes nerve cells in your brain to release the chemical norepinephrine. Having higher levels of tyramine in your system — along with an unusual level of brain chemicals — can cause changes in the brain that lead to headaches.
Also Check: How Often To Take Excedrin Migraine
Managing A Headache With Good Food Choices
The Cleveland Clinic notes that most information about food that triggers headaches was gathered from people self-reporting their experiences. There have been research studies conducted in the past, and many ongoing right now. The challenge for researchers is that each case is different. The first step is avoiding foods that are known to trigger headaches. Should a headache develop, there are foods that may spur a faster recovery period.
Knowing what to eat when your head hurts can help you make good choices. The most common foods and drinks that have been reported to help headaches include:
- Leafy greens
- A small cup of coffee for a caffeine headache
Avoid consuming processed foods, aged cheeses, smoked or dried fish, cultured dairy products, high sodium foods like potato chips and foods high in carbohydrates and sugar. Sometimes, headache relief comes from knowing what not to eat.
Chocolate: Is It Really A Migraine Trigger
Research recently presented at the International Headache Society suggests that cocoa may actually protect the nerve cells that cause migraine headaches. But 22 percent of headache sufferers identify chocolate on the list of foods that trigger migraines or headaches. “Chocolate may be getting a bad rap as a migraine trigger,” says Dr. Rosen. “Many people with migraines have increased appetite and food cravings just before their headaches start.” Reaching for a chocolate bar may be the result of a migraine, rather than the cause.
Read Also: How To Fake A Migraine To A Doctor