Foods That Trigger Migraine
Migraines can be caused by a variety of factors, but food is a fairly common trigger. The challenge is there are no absolutes that apply across the board. Several foods that are common triggers still vary from person to person when it comes to how or even if they are affected. What doesnt faze one person at all can send another crawling to a dark room in blinding pain.
This means that the list of foods that trigger migraine is arbitrary at best. Yes, it has been narrowed from a statistical standpoint based on the percentage of the migraine population that is affected, but it does not provide a concrete guide and application must still be made on a case by case basis.
Axon Optics talked to registered dietician and nutritionist Ana Reisdorf, MS.RD. about how certain foods can trigger migraine and what can be done to determine which foods cause your migraines. Foods can present distinct challenges when it comes to your health, particularly regarding medical conditions and migraine is no exception. Understanding what role food plays in your overall health can allow you to take more control over your wellbeing.
Treatment For Headache From Sugar
An isolated headache will need normal treatment. It may include the use of over-the-counter medicines, stress reduction, and homeopathic remedies. The instant treatment for hyperglycemia is to increase the blood sugar level quickly. You can perform this with the help of drinking juice or soft drink which is sugar-based, or you can simply eat candy. If the indications do not improve within 15 minutes, you can consume more sugar. If the symptoms do not go away and persist, you should call your doctor immediately.
You should treat the chronic headache with the help of a doctors advice. When having frequent hypoglycemia, you may need to consume meals regularly at scheduled times and consume foods without carbs such as white sugar. You will also have to adjust the eating schedule to eat more frequent small meals daily. Sugar-related headaches that happen due to diabetes will need a more in-depth treatment plan. You must work with a doctor so that you can develop the plan.
Why Does Food Trigger Migraine
Doctors and researchers dont know the exact cause for migraine. Most doctors agree that when brain activity briefly changes, it can lead to an attack. What prompts these changes is not entirely clear. However, numerous studies, have found potential links to certain environmental and behavioral factors that are consistent enough in migraine patients to be considered triggers. This includes certain foods that seem to cause migraine attacks in about 10% of the migraine population.
Research indicates that certain elements in food such as sulfites, nitrites, histamine, phenylethylamine, and tyramine are have a significant role in migraines caused by food. It is believed that these foods and elements in them affect certain migraine phases by prompting the release of norepinephrine and serotonin. This can elicit several responses, all of which can cause headache or migraine:
- The blood vessels dilate , causing the blood pressure to decrease
- The blood vessels constrict , causing the blood pressure to increase
- Directly stimulate the brainstem, trigeminal ganglia, and cortical neuronal pathways.
Therefore, it stands to reason that when these foods or food additives are eliminated from the diet, the head pain will not be triggered, thus allowing the patient to avoid or prevent food-triggered migraine.
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Migraines May Protect Against Alcoholism
There is another beneficial effect of migraine: research has suggested that migraine sufferers are relatively protected against the development of alcoholism. This may be a more intuitive relationship than with diabetes, since many people with migraine report that they avoid alcohol because it can trigger headache.
A Silver Lining For Migraine Sufferers
- By Paul Rizzoli, MD, Contributor
Could there be any benefit associated with having migraine headaches? Most migraine patients would agree this is an odd question. is a common, inherited, lifelong, and often debilitating illness that impacts people most during their productive working and parenting years. It has been associated with a higher risk of vascular disorders such as stroke and heart attack, and psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety. What could possibly be good about migraine?
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Peace Of Mind: Achieved
Getting to the bottom of diabetic headaches should give some peace of mind: youll know that they usually can be treated along with your general diabetes treatment. Plus, it could give you literal peace of mind when you avoid headaches in the future.
Keep your blood sugar in place, try Hedia , keep hydrated, and dont let Algos rear its ugly head again!
Other Common Migraine Triggers In Sugary Foods
Sometimes people may erroneously assume the triggering factor in their food choice was sugar. When it was actually something else in the sweet treat. Sugary foods are often combined with other ingredients that are considered common migraine triggers such as nuts, chocolate, food colorings and certain dried foods.
Determining migraine foods triggers can be very tricky especially when you have frequent attacks. From observation, some people have a handful of common foods that are triggering. So, eliminating one food at a time often does not yield results. For example, they may avoid chocolate while continuing the eat nuts and protein bars while being sensitive to all three foods. It can be quite frustrating especially since many well-meaning experts suggest avoiding suspected foods one at a time.
What Do Sugar Headaches Feel Like
For the most part, sugar headaches feel like normal headaches. There are a few clues, however, that can help you identify if its a sugar headache or not.
- Hyperglycemia headaches, for example, dont show up right away. Usually, people hang out with high blood sugar for a few days before the body starts putting out pain signals.
- Hypoglycemia headaches appear more swiftly and are often accompanied by other fun symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
If you have recurring sugar headaches, you may want to schedule a doctors appointment. Consistently irregular blood sugar levels could be a sign of diabetes, which can be fatal if untreated.
In very rare cases, consistent sugar headaches are a sign of ketoacidosis, a complication most commonly associated with type 1 diabetes. In a nutshell ketoacidosis occurs when someone has high blood sugar and high ketone levels at the same time .
Odds are your sugar headaches are just the result of an off day of eating. If you keep an eye on your symptoms and eating habits, you should be able to kick those headaches to the curb.
What Else You Should Know About Ocular Migraines
An ocular migraine is short-lived and may not be painful, but it can be debilitating you have to be careful while doing daily activities like driving, reading, or writing. The chance of permanent vision loss due to an ocular migraine is rare but the reduced blood flow for a prolonged time can damage your retina. So it is a good idea to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist to check your condition.
Since hormones play such a big role in causing migraines, declining estrogen levels as women age and enter menopause is a reason why migraines usually reduce in severity in older women.11
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What Are Hypoglycemia And Hyperglycemia
Consuming excessive amounts or little to no sugar can cause headaches that may be related to sugar headaches. There are health conditions such as diabetes that may leave you more inclined towards experiencing sugar headaches. Two reasons may cause this headache, whether you can increase the risk of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Low Blood Sugar Is Often Overlooked
Migraine headaches are a symptom of low blood sugar in some people. Normally, heres how the blood sugar system works in the body:
The lunch she had eaten had a fair share of high Glycemic index foods, so we can expect that her blood sugar level initially rose too high. This released a higher than normal amount of insulin which brought her blood sugar down too low. Her migraine headache started around 7 p.m., which is the expected time that low blood sugar would start to cause a migraine headache or other symptoms.
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A Juicy Slice Of Watermelon Can Head Off Dehydration Which Is Often A Factor In Headaches And Migraine Attacks
If youre living with migraine, you probably know that certain foods and drinks can trigger an attack. But even though its important to know what to avoid, focusing on the foods to add to your diet matters, too: It may help reduce the number or severity of migraine attacks or other types of headaches.
Food really is the first medicine, says Wynne Brown, MD, the medical director of integrative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When youre trying to manage migraine, what you eat and when you eat can make all the difference, she says.
Being open to change in your diet is a good start, says Dr. Brown. Often, we can get in a rut and eat the same things over and over. By adding different fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet, we can reap benefits in terms of water content as well as vitamins and minerals, she says.
A diet with a variety of good foods will make a big difference both in migraine management and overall health and may improve imbalances that contribute to headaches, says Brown.
If youre looking for ways to change your diet to better manage your migraine, here are some expert tips on the foods and drinks to help you on your journey.
How To Avoid Sugar Headaches
Whether you have diabetes or not, you can manage your diet to avoid developing a headache after sugar consumption. Try these strategies:
Avoid sugar binges. Remember that sugar exists in many foodsand in alcohol. To avoid a sugar headache, dont binge on candy, desserts or cocktails.
Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration can help your body eliminate excessive glucose from the bloodstream.
Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Simple carbohydrates like refined grains, potatoes and table sugar cause insulin levels to spike, which can lead to headache. To avoid that, aim to eat more complex carbohydrates like fresh vegetables and whole grains. Complex carbs take longer to digest and dont dramatically raise insulin levels.
Reduce your sugar consumption gradually. Taper off sugary drinks, for example, instead of quitting cold turkey. This approach will allow your brain and blood vessels to adapt to the change in glucose levels.
Track your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, either formally or informally. People with should precisely track all the simple and complex carbs they consume throughout the day to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Others can use a dietary app for this purpose, or simply limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you eat with each meal.
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Watermelon Provides Fluids To Keep You Hydrated
Interesting fact: Watermelon is actually considered a vegetable because of the way its grown, although some people would argue it belongs firmly in the fruit category because of its sweet flavor and higher sugar content.
Watermelon also has a lot of water in it. Its actually 92 percent water, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Getting plenty of water both by drinking it and by consuming foods that contain lots of water will help you stay hydrated.
Getting enough fluids is important for all aspects of health, including migraine, says Brown. About one in three people with migraine say dehydration is a trigger, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
Many fruits and vegetables can have a hydrating effect, and the fresher it is, the higher the water content, says Brown.
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How Much Is Too Much
I might start with how much is too much. I just learned this about carbohydrates and I need to tell you because it shocked the heck out of me.
The sugar in Schär Gluten Free crackers!
27.5 grams / 6 in a packet = 4.58 carbs and 66 sodium as per packet
4 grams = 1 t sugar, so one cracker is over 4 grams of sugar
This means each cracker has more than one teaspoon of sugar… each single cracker.
**Note: Schär Brand is officially certified as Low FODMAP. I thought this would mean less sugar… but I was wrong.
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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.
Does Sugar Cause Migraine Headaches For You
The only way to find out for sure is to experiment and see what happens, but be sure to keep a journal. If you’d like more help, there is a food experiment journal in my course – Migraine Pain Management Course
TEST & MONITOR
Angela Stanton Ph.D., author of The Migraine Epidemic, suggests testing 1/2 cup of blueberries first to see if that triggers an attack. Then she suggests testing 1/2 a baked potato and then a whole baked potato. Keep a journal, monitor your results. Test it once to see and then test 2 days in a row, then test 3 days in a row.
But wait a week or so in between testing.
Until next time, be well and be pain free.
WANT HELP WITH FOOD ?
MIGRAINE PAIN MANAGEMENT COURSE
There’s an 8 week food experiment in my Migraine Pain Management Course. The first module is free… continue reading
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Can You Explain Hyperglycemia And Hypoglycemia And Their Relationship With Headaches How Does Someone Know They Have This Condition Is It A Temporary Condition Or Do You Always Have It
Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia arent diseases themselves, but rather symptoms, or indicators of a health problem.
Dr. Patel was quoted as saying:Hyperglycemia occurs when the body is not producing or using enough insulin, the hormone that absorbs glucose into cells to be used for energy.
Again, this is typical in diabetics. Hypoglycemia is caused by very low blood glucose and is often associated with diabetes treatment. It can also very rarely be a side effect of medication, alcohol consumption, severe liver illnesses or hormone deficiencies.
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.
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Is Diabetes To Blame For Your Headache
Take control of pain
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that results in blood sugar, or glucose, abnormalities. This causes a host of symptoms and related complications, some of which can be life-threatening. A common symptom of high or low blood glucose is a headache. Headaches alone arent harmful, but they can signal that your blood sugar is out of its target range. If you have frequent headaches, diabetes may be to blame. Find out if diabetes is the cause of your headache so you can take proper action.