Migraine Food Triggers: How to Avoid Them

As any seasoned migrainer will tell you, they can list the migraine food triggers that send them off into a headache. Some of these triggers can provoke a headache even in small amounts.

  • Alcohol

For me, alcohol is the winner. And I mean just about all forms including most wines, beer and mixed drinks. (Hey, the good news is..I will never be an alcoholic. The pain is just not worth it!)

Funnily enough, when I was young, I thought a horrible pounding headache with nausea and vomiting just after drinking an alchoholic drink, was normal! Hmm.. With alcohol, the most common culprit is red wine. Generally, the dryer and redder the wine, the bigger the risk for migraine attack. This is due to the amount of tannins in red wine.

  • Caffeine

What about caffeine? Well, caffeine by itself doesn't cause a migraine, but if you have chronic severe migraines, all caffeine does is make them worse. It irritates nerve tissue (that would be your brain!) and over time reves up headaches.

Caffeine and how it hurts your headaches.

  • Chocolate

Let's talk about the MYTH OF CHOCOLATE causing headaches. Not really true. Nope. Nada. Zip.

One recent study suggested that since chocolate contains copper, it may increase copper levels and then trigger a migraine. However, you would have to eat a LOT of it not just a few pieces to cause a headache.

So what's going on?

Migraines have a pro-dromal phase where you "feel" something is coming one. During this time certain parts of the brain are firing off and one of them can stimulate food cravings, particularly sugar or sweets. Well we all loovve chocolate, right? Then after eating it, the headache always follows.

This article discusses the facts more and is from the University of Pittsburgh. No evidence chocolate causes headaches.

Here is more information about the headache chocolate connection.

  • Additional Migraine Food Triggers

Nuts, aged cheeses, foods containing nitrates (bacon and lunch meats), smoked foods.Some patients tell me onions are a trigger, as are packaged foods with lots of chemicals.

Some recent studies are now looking at the effects of gluten or wheat products in the diet and migraine. Are you a food sensitive? Here is my review on a terrific book written by a dietician about migraine food triggers where she discusses management of food sensitivities. There is also a FREE ebook for download on that page.

Aspartame (artificial sweetener) is also known as a migraine food trigger as is the ever famous MSG a food taste inhancer. This is found in many salad bars, oriental restaurants and even seasonings you buy in the store!

Try to identify those items that are a migraine food trigger through keeping a diary..then avoid them. Sort of under the old adage of: if it hurts when you do that..don't do that.

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