A lot of people suffer from the agonizing pain of migraines these days. Migraine sufferers would do anything to get relief from this throbbing headache. Here’s an article about foods that trigger migraines which should be avoided to prevent migraine attacks.
Migraine is a severe headache which is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The sufferer becomes extremely sensitive to light and sound, which makes him look for a quiet and dark place to lie down. Migraine pain can be unilateral or bilateral and it can last for several hours. Before it strikes, a person may experience visual disturbances, feeling of intense energy, thirst, craving for sweets, irritability or depression. Sometimes the attack may come without a prodrome. There can be various causes of migraine attacks, but avoiding the foods that induce migraine can be an easier way to keep the pain away.
Migraine is more common in women. Studies have shown that women are three times more prone to migraine than men. The frequency and severity of headaches though varies from person to person. Although there is no permanent cure, one can reduce the attacks and the severity of the pain, by making certain changes in the lifestyle. But for this, one should be aware of the different causes of migraine. There are many things which can trigger migraines. One should be able to identify the triggers of migraine, and try to avoid them to minimize the severe attacks. Diet often plays an important role in case of migraine. There are a lot of food items that trigger migraines.
Foods to Avoid for Migraines
Foods containing tyramine are known to be the most common migraine triggers. Tyramine is an amine present in many protein-based foods. It is formed as a result of breakdown of proteins. Fermented foods or those which are stored for a long time have a higher tyramine content. Tyramine is known to elevate blood pressure resulting in migraines. Other amines which can trigger migraines include phenylalanine, phenylethylamine, octopamine, serotonin, dopamine and histamine. One should also stay away from tobacco as it contains nicotine which also intensifies the migraine attacks.
For many people though dietary amines are quickly broken down and hence don’t pose a threat. Foods high in amines that lead to migraines are:
- Canned or processed meat
- Raisins and nuts
- Canned soups
- Dried figs
- Peanut butter
- Fruits like bananas, papayas, pineapples, plums
- Yeast and yeast extracts
Foods high in tyramine and the other amines that trigger migraines should be avoided as they exacerbate migraine attacks. One should consume fresh foods, as the tyramine content is higher in aged or stored foods.
Food preservatives or additives are closely associated with migraine headaches. A lot of processed foods contain certain food additives in varying amounts. The ones known to trigger migraines are monosodium glutamate salt (MSG), nitrates, nitrites, sulphites and aspartame. Certain food dyes and artificial sweeteners can also worsen the migraine attack at times.
Food containing additives:
- MSG is mostly used in Chinese foods and also in a lot of processed food items
Drinks and Beverages
Certain beverages contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives which trigger migraine attacks. Coffee, chocolate, tea, and all fizzy drinks can pose a threat to migraine sufferers. Alcoholic drinks like whisky, wine, beer and champagne can also trigger migraine attacks.
Milk contains a protein known as ‘casein’ which creates histamines. Histamines produce mucus. If the histamine level increases, a lot of mucus is produced which puts pressure on the brain membranes, thus triggering migraines. Dairy products to be avoided in order to minimize the intensity of migraines are:
- Sour cream
One needs to find out the foods he is sensitive to and try to avoid them. A diary can be maintained to keep a track of the attacks. This helps to identify the probable food items that trigger the migraine headache. Identify the foods that trigger these headaches in your case and stay away from them.