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What Not To Eat When You Have A Migraine

Which Food Is A Common Migraine Trigger

Diet that triggers headaches and what to eat to reduce them – Ms. Sushma Jaiswal

Some common trigger foods include:Baked goods with yeast, such as sourdough bread, bagels, doughnuts, and coffee cake.Chocolate.Cultured dairy products Fruits or juices such as citrus fruits, dried fruits, bananas, raspberries, red plums, papayas, passion fruit, figs, dates, and avocados.More itemsDec 5, 2020

Dont: Eat Foods With Msg

If youve ever gotten a migraine after eating at an Asian restaurant, the culprit might be monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG. Caffeine withdrawal and administration of MSG have the strongest evidence for triggering attacks of headache, says VanderPluym. MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly found in soy sauce, some packaged foods, bouillon, and Asian foods. It can be tricky to spot, because MSG might be listed under another name, including natural flavoring, all-natural preservatives, hydrolyzed fat, or hydrolyzed protein. If youre sensitive to MSG, youll know it: Symptoms start within 20 to 25 minutes of consuming it and can include headache, facial flushing, a burning sensation or tightness in the chest, and abdominal discomfort.

The form of MSG matters as well. Studies show MSG is more likely to cause a headache if its in liquid than if its in food, says Martin. Thats because food delays the absorption of MSG. That means eating wonton soup from your favorite Chinese restaurant is more likely to cause a headache than, say, General Tsos chicken.

How To Hold Off Migraines

Take these steps to help stave off a migraine after you eat:

Choose better food. Eat as much wholesome, fresh food, like fruits and vegetables, as you can. Avoid processed and packaged foods.

Eat more âminiâ meals. Instead of three large meals each day, opt for five or six small ones. This will prevent you from getting a headache because youâre hungry. Youâre also less likely to eat a lot of a single food that could trigger a migraine.

Drink plenty of water. To stay hydrated, sip at least eight glasses of water each day.

Manage stress. Feeling tense and worried may be enough to make your head throb. Regular exercise can give you a sense of control of your feelings. Itâll also help you keep a healthy weight.

Read Also: Naproxen And Migraines

Common Foods That Trigger Migraines

There are several factors that we could list down as migraine triggers stress, lack of sleep, or sensory stimuli like bright lights. Have you ever considered that perhaps your diet could also have a part to play in triggering those splitting migraines? Certain types of foods and drinks can be a factor in triggering these splitting headaches.

Red Wine And Other Alcoholic Beverages Are Foods That Trigger Migraines

12 Best &  Easily Available Foods to Eat When You Have Migraine

Sulfites, used as preservatives in red wine, are included in the list of foods that trigger migraines. Alcohol in any drink causes increased blood flow to your brain and can also result in dehydration, both of which might be headache triggers. “People with migraines tend to get worse hangovers from any type of alcohol,” notes Robert Daroff, MD, professor of neurology at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and past president of the American Headache Society. Alcohol will also trigger a headache in someone going through a period of cluster headaches.

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Is It A Trigger Or A Warning

We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.

Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.

During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.

These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.

The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.

Migraine Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid For Migraine Attacks

Written byDevon AndrePublished onJanuary 12, 2018

Migraine attacks can be very difficult to deal with, often leading sufferers to experience severe throbbing headaches as well as nausea, vomiting, and a sensitively to light and sound. However, what most people dont realize is that the food they eat can significantly influence the onset of these kinds of headaches.

Migraine diets are something many medical professionals will endorse when diagnosing a patient as a chronic migraine sufferer, as many studies have found links between migraines and food.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common foods that are part of a typical migraine diet plan, as they help prevent and even treat migraine attacks. Additionally, we will go over several foods to avoid, as some food may trigger migraines.

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Can Food Affect Migraines

In the past, certain foods like cheese, chocolate, and caffeine were thought by many people to trigger migraine attacks. But while these foods may bring on migraines in some people, there isnt a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that this is true for a majority of people with migraine.

What experts now believe is that the food thought to trigger the migraine is sometimes a craving that is part of the pre-headache phase of the migraine. Confused? Lets look at an example.

You eat a whole bar of dark chocolate one night. The next day you wake up with a migraine. You assume the chocolate triggered it. But what is probably going on is that in your pre-headache phase, you are experiencing heightened sensations that are coming out as a craving for dark chocolate. So, the craving for dark chocolate is actually part of the migraine, not the trigger.

Heres what we know for sure about food and migraines: Skipping meals is reported as a trigger in 57% of migraines, alcohol in 38%, and food in 27%.

    Eat More Healthy Fats

    Why Do I Get Migraines And Headaches From Not Eating And What To Do

    Some people still think fat is a bad word, but there are some major benefits to adding certain ones to your migraine diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly found in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon, can really help with migraines. Olive oil is also another great source of healthy fat. The monounsaturated fats can be just as beneficial as omega-3s and they can be a healthy substitute in most recipes. Research has shown that they help reduce the frequency, pain level, and duration of migraines. Make sure you add in a healthy dose a few times a week to start seeing some positive changes.

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    Did You Know That Certain Foods Can Trigger A Migraine Heres A List Of What You Should And Shouldnt Eat During An Attack

    If you suffer from frequent migraines, you know all too well how excruciating the pain is. Some people describe it as a feeling of one side of their brain being hammered constantly. Some people say they feel like they are being poked with a million needles. A migraine is defined as a headache of varying intensity, accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

    According to Migrainetrust, migraines are the third most common disease in the world, after stress, where the prevalence of the condition is estimated to be 14.75%. Several factors such as loud noise, bright lights, hectic lifestyle. stress, heat, etc. are known to be triggers for people. But did you know that certain foods aside from conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety, can also be potential triggers? Heres what you should and should not eat during an attack.

    Healthy Eating For A Healthy Head

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans make food recommendations to help you live a healthier life. Some recommendations are:

    • Aim for half of your grains to be whole grains. Whole grains have more fiber and vitamins. Try to change things like white bread, white rice, and pasta in your diet to whole grains.
    • Aim for increasing fruit and vegetable intake. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, every time! Eat a variety of vegetables.
    • Aim to eat healthy fats, not low fat. Limit saturated and trans fats when possible. Try to increase seafood consumption to two to three times per week to get your omega-3 fats.
    • Limit sodium to less than 2300 mg/day. Most salt in our diets comes from processed foods . Cook from scratch whenever possible, or choose foods labeled as low sodium whenever possible.

    In addition to the basics of a healthy diet, there are a few things to think about if you have migraines:

    • Dont skip meals, especially if this triggers migraines.
    • Consider eating 5 small meals per day. Eat a carbohydrate with a protein or a good fat to stay full longer.
    • Dont eat or drink anything that you KNOW triggers your migraine. Some common food triggers are alcohol, aged cheeses, caffeine, and chocolate.
    • Drink water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice.


    Rockett, F. C. et al. Dietary aspects of migraine trigger factors. Nutr. Rev. 70, 337356 .

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    Keep A Headache Diary

    To control your migraines, its important that you understand the current trend of your migraines and what might cause them to happen. To determine when your migraines are occurring and how severe they might be, it would be a good idea to keep a headache diary in a physical organiser or on a notes application on your phone.

    Take note of when you get migraines, how often and how severe each episode is, and potential factors surrounding the episode that might have contributed to it. This can make it easier for you to identify whether your migraines have been getting more or less severe in response to certain factors.

    How Long Is Too Long For A Migraine

    Know Which Foods Not to Eat When Suffering from Headaches

    How long is too long for a migraine? A typical migraine lasts between four and 72 hours. If a migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, it is paramount to consult with a doctor. Also, if a person experiences 15 or more headache days per month, a doctor may diagnose this individual with chronic migraines.

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    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.

    Discover 11 Foods That Can Help Migraines Go Away

    Below are a few of the best foods to try to see if they positively impact your migraines. The first few are all rich in magnesium, a nutrient that seems to play a role in migraines.

    Magnesium supplements are common treatments for migraine. The science behind this practice is that the ongoing pain of migraine causes neurons in the brain to become more active and more sensitive than normal, and that this hypersensitivity plays a big role in the chronification of migraine .

    Magnesium is a gate-keeper to these neurons. When it is found in abundance, it keeps the gates closed and prevents the neurons from becoming more active or more sensitive. When it is depleted, the gates open and ions or chemicals can alter the physiological properties of the neurons involved in the generation of migraine headache.

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    Avoiding Triggers In The Kitchen

    Frier oil and the smell of it burning is a huge migraine trigger for me. It also isn’t too pleasing on a nauseous stomach, so fried foods are usually way out of the question. I also am rarely able to keep down a heavy or large food item during an attack, so I opt for light fare and food items that are easy on my own digestion. I also avoid super sweet and sugary foods when I have a migraine and feel nauseous, as well as heavily salted foods. Having both migraine that is sometimes triggered by sharp sensory experiences as well as high blood pressure further confirm my aversion to very salty foods.

    Foods That Trigger Headaches

    Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

    Headaches and migraines are often triggered by certain foods. But not all headache triggers deserve their bad rap.

    Theres nothing like a pounding headache to make you seek refuge in a dark, quiet room and hide from the world. If you suffer with chronic headache pain, you have great company. More than 45 million Americans have chronic headache pain from migraine, tension, or cluster headaches.

    Women suffer headaches more frequently than men, perhaps because of variations in the brain chemical called serotonin, which plays a role in pain and depression. When levels of the hormone estrogen plummet, levels of serotonin change as well.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headaches include:

    • Cluster headache
    • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia , cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicranias

    Whether you suffer with migraines, tension or sinus headaches, or headaches from arthritis or jaw pain, all headaches have one central thread that weaves them together: inner or outer triggers cause the body to react with pain thats felt in the head. These triggers may stem from foods, tobacco, chemicals, stress, environment, or your hormones, among other things, and may vary from one person to the next.

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    Spinach Could Help Migraines Go Away

    This dark leafy green vegetable is particularly rich in magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 milligrams, making it an easy and excellent way to start increasing the magnesium levels in your diet. Add spinach to your scrambled eggs in the morning, toss some baby spinach into your salad at lunch, or make sautéed spinach with garlic as a side for dinner.

    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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    At The Salad Bar: Skip Snow Peas Try Anything Else

    Youre all good when sticking to raw, fresh veggies at the salad bar, except for snow peas, which contain tyramine. Broad beans such as favas also contain tyramine, so consider passing them by, as well. And about the dressing: Citrus such as orange, lemon and lime can contain tyramine. But the National Headache Foundations low-tyramine diet suggests limiting citrus to half a cup serving per day, so a spritz of lemon on your salad hopefully wont be an issue.

    How To Determine Your Food Triggers


    Similarly to how peoples bodies can respond differently to various medications, they often respond differently to foods as well. So while alcohol and nitrates may trigger migraines in many people, different types of foods may trigger migraines in other people.

    If you have certain food sensitivities, then eating those foods can also trigger migraines. The food intolerance isnt the cause of the migraine, but it can make the migraine worse, or bring it on.

    For some people, figuring out what foods if any trigger a migraine can be very obvious. For others, it might be trickier. The good news is that with a little determination and patience, you can get to the bottom of whether certain food triggers are a feature of your migraines or not.

    The most common way of doing this is to keep a food and symptom diary. This involves carefully tracking factors that may have been at play when a migraine hit. When you feel it coming on, try logging what you ate or drank, how much sleep you got, if you were on your menstrual cycle, and how often you were eating in the days leading up to it. This is detective work: Recording everything in as much detail as possible will help you determine potential associations and culprits. The longer you keep a food and symptom diary, the more likely you are to get the answers you seek.

    The downside of this method is that it can be tedious, and it may take several months to notice a pattern, especially if your migraines are not very frequent.

  • Caffeine

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