Friday, March 17, 2023

Foods That Can Cause Migraines

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Blame The Cold For Headaches After Eating Ice Cream

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

The stabbing headache after eating ice cream is a reaction to the cold, not the ice cream itself. An ice cream headache is more likely if you are overheated. The pain peaks in about 30 to 60 seconds. “Cold foods, like ice cream, may be migraine triggers for people who suffer from migraines, but for most people, the pain goes away quickly. The solution is to eat your ice cream or drink your cold drink more slowly,” advises Daroff.

How To Identify Triggers

If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.

Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.

Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.

How Do I Determine Which Foods And Drinks Are My Headache Triggers

One common suggestion for figuring out your own personal headache triggers is to track the foods and drinks you consume in a daily food headache diary. You may consider yourself to be sensitive to a certain food or drink if you get a headache consistently 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating that certain food.

However, keep in mind that even though it sounds simple to track what you eat to try to figure out what foods and beverages might trigger your headache, its not this simple.

Problems with food headache trackers

Is it truly the food or drink that is causing your headache or is it one of the many ingredients or chemicals in these foods? Foods consist of many ingredients that contain many chemicals. Chemicals include nitrates/nitrites, phenylethylamine, sulfites, tannins, tyramine, salicylates, aspartate, added sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, glutamate and capsaicin to name a few.

Even beyond consumed foods, drinks and ingredients/chemicals are other factors that must be considered that may complicate identifying the true trigger of your headache. These factors include:

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A Few More Potential Trigger Foods

Even though weâd hate to take the fun out of even more of your favorite foods, we should let you know about these other potential trigger foods. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these foods are commonly reported as migraine triggers, but thereâs no scientific evidence that they really cause them, so donât clean out your fridge just yet. Instead, turn to a migraine tracker to see if any of these might be causing you pain.

  • chicken livers and other organ meats
  • dairy products like buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
  • dried fruits like dates, figs, and raisins
  • most beans including lima, fava, navy, pinto, garbanzo, lentils, and snow peas
  • pickled foods like olives, sauerkraut, and, of course, pickles
  • some fresh fruits like ripe bananas, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, and pineapple
  • smoked or dried fish
  • tomato-based products

The Headache And Food Diary Targeting Specific Foods

Common Foods and Drinks Can Trigger Migraine

Observe the links between suspected food triggers and your attacks. How strong is the association? Remember, we all are subject to cognitive biases that can make us pay more attention to something we believe in than to facts that go against our beliefs.

If a food trigger is suspected, try eliminating this food completely from the diet for at least one month, and observe I there is a change in your migraine frequency. Then reintroduce the food and closely monitor how you feel. Record it in your headache and food diary.

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Bread Grains And Cereals

  • most cereals, except for those containing nuts, dried fruits, or aspartame
  • plain or sesame seed bagels
  • quick bread, such as pumpernickel or zucchini bread
  • most plain pretzels and potato chips
  • unflavored crackers, such as saltines or Club crackers
  • white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread from a store

Foods to avoid:

  • flavored crackers, such as cheddar cheese crackers
  • fresh bread that is homemade or from a grocers bakery
  • pizza, as it is also a fresh bread
  • highly flavored or seasoned chips
  • food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, MSG, and artificial sweeteners

Not eating anything at all can also lead to an increased incidence of migraines. For some people, prolonged hunger and not eating enough are known headache triggers. This may be due to a link between low blood sugar levels and worsening migraine headaches.

A Neurologist On The Bottom Line For Migraine And Food Choices

While it is helpful to identify specific triggers, there is no substitute for taking a whole body approach to migraine. Managing specific triggers, leading a healthy lifestyle, and discussing preventive and as-needed treatments with your doctor are all necessary to manage the disease effectively.

While specific food triggers may exist, eliminating them does not necessarily mean that migraine will be prevented.

Ultimately, migraine is a disease that results from genetic and environmental factors and will naturally fluctuate over ones lifetime. Typically a combination of several triggers can create the stage for a migraine attack to occur. Deena Kuruvilla, M.D.

Jillian Kubala is a registered dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. She holds a masters degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. She is a nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline, Greatist, and Medical News Today. Jillian also runs a private practice based on the east end of Long Island, NY, where she helps her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutrition and lifestyle changes. She has a backyard farm and is passionate about growing nutritious food and supporting local agriculture.

Last medically reviewed on April 10, 2022

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Coffee Is A Headache Trigger And A Pain Reliever

“If you sleep later on the weekend and you wake up with a headache, you probably have a caffeine withdrawal headache,” says Dr. Daroff. A little caffeine can actually help get rid of a migraine headache, and caffeine may be included in some migraine medicines, but too much caffeine can be a headache trigger when you come down from your caffeine “high.” Research shows that you need to be drinking about 200 mg of caffeine to get a withdrawal headache when you miss your “dose.”

Does Food Trigger Migraines And Headaches

Got migraines? These are the foods to eat (and avoid) | Your Morning

Yes, it does. The relation between food and migraine isnt clear-cut. But migraines can be triggered by certain foods. Its proven that 27% of people who suffer from migraines are triggered by food.

Many foods can cause migraines. But we have given the lift of the most common 10 foods, which causes migraines.

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Elimination Diet For Identifying Food Triggers

Everyone is different, and everyones migraine is different. Some people have a long list of foods that trigger migraine while others can eat virtually anything without experiencing the slightest twinge of pain. A universal list of food triggers does not exist, leaving people to conduct their own research to identify the foods that trigger them. To further complicate matters, the amount of a triggering food that you are able to tolerate can change over time.

Elimination diets work by getting rid of any potential migraine trigger for at least 72 hours or sometimes even 30 days. This lets the body to kind of reset and allows you to figure out exactly what is causing the problem.

Reisdorf recommends the elimination diet to determine which, if any, foods trigger your migraine. Basically, that means removing all known foods that trigger migraine from your diet for a couple of weeks, then slowly reintroducing them one at a time to identify any foods that may be causing your migraine.

This diet may mean that you endure a couple of months of simple, maybe even dull by some peoples standards, meals. In the end, though, it can mean more migraine-free days. However, it isnt just about what you can and cant eat. It doesnt mean that if a food is a trigger you have to completely remove it from your diet.

Reisdorf explains, Sometimes it can be about amount too. So maybe you can tolerate a cup of coffee but two sets you off.

A List Of Common Migraine Trigger Foods

Most of what we do know about dietary triggers comes from patient reports, and as noted, they vary a great deal from person to person. Though theres evidence that certain foods can bring on attacks, more high-quality research is needed to confirm these links. Still, some food and drink triggers have been identified.

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Why Do Certain Foods Trigger Migraines

  • Related Resources – Why Do Certain Foods Trigger Migraines?
  • Although the exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, researchers have found that migraines are caused in part by changes in brain chemicals that release inflammatory substances into the blood vessels and nerves in the brain.

    According to some claims, certain foods and chemicals can cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate and trigger migraine attacks. However, many of these claims are based on anecdotal experiences.

    In some cases, migraines may not be triggered by a specific food but instead by food cravings and hunger pangs. Not consuming meals at the proper times can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which can trigger a migraine attack. In other cases, consuming foods that are too hot or too cold can cause migraines.

    How To Treat A Migraine

    Foods you least expect to be migraine triggers! Repin to get an iOS ...

    If you experience migraines, visit your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.

    Your doctor can also recommend and prescribe painkillers or other medications that might work for you.

    If you suspect that certain foods trigger your migraines, try eliminating them from your diet to see if that makes any difference.

    For detailed information on how to follow an elimination diet, see this article. Also, consider keeping a detailed food diary.

    Some research supports the use of supplements for treating migraines, but the evidence on their effectiveness is limited. Below are summaries of the main ones.

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    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:

    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.

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    Keep Asking Questions Until You Get The Answer You Need

    The Medical Experts are all here to answer your questions online or with a phone call.

    Many drinks which contain alcohol will result in a headache by increasing the blood flow to our brain and making your body dehydrated. They are also the triggers of migraines and headaches. Patients with the problem tend to have worse hangovers caused by any alcohol type, according to Robert Daroff, MD, a professor of neurology working at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and also a past president of the American Headache Society. Alcohol will cause headaches in some patients who have gone through a period of cluster headaches.

    Other Lifestyle Tips To Stay Headache

    New theories on what triggers migraines

    In addition to your diet, there are other lifestyle choices you can make to avoid headaches:

    • Try to get good sleep. Experts recommend trying to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day. Avoid oversleeping or getting too little sleep.
    • Stay active. Exercise for at least a half-hour a few times per week.
    • Limit your stress. Seek ways to resolve conflicts peacefully. Make sure to take time to destress and relax each day. Examples include deep breathing or listening to relaxing music.

    Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have chronic headaches or migraines, your doctor may give you prescription medication, supplements, or lifestyle advice. Follow the treatment plan your doctor suggests to avoid headaches.

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    Foods Rich In Magnesium

    A low level of magnesium makes the brain more sensitive to migraine triggers. Indeed, it seems that half of the people with migraines are magnesium deficient. So this deficiency could be the cause of your headache. Enough magnesium is never wrong anyway. For example, it relaxes muscles and nerves and increases your resistance to stress, which can be extra beneficial for people with migraines. Daily 600 mg of magnesium already seems to reduce the risk of an attack.

    Fruits Vegetables And Legumes

    We all know it. To be healthy, we must adopt a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. This also goes for migraines. In addition to providing a lot of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the well-functioning of the body, fruits and vegetables also contain plant estrogen that can make up for a deficiency in women during menstruations.

    Indeed, a lot of women experience menstrual migraines due to a sudden drop in estrogen production just before their period.

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    Foods That Cause Migraines

    Youd be hard pressed to find someone whos never had a headache in their life. But while some of us get away with the odd headache, many others suffer from debilitating migraines that interfere with their daily life and work.1 Some headaches are driven by bodily changes and other factors like stress or sleep deprivation. But did you know that dietary factors can play a part as well, particularly in migraines? In fact, certain foods act as triggers in around 10% of people who get migraines.2

    Lets take a look and see if what youre eating could be causing that headache.

    Catching Triggers In Their Tracks

    6 Common Foods That Can Cause Headaches â Page 4 â Healthy Habits

    Is food responsible for triggering your migraine? Pay attention to how soon after consumption a migraine attack occurssymptoms tend to come on quickly, even as soon as 30 minutes after eating, says Merle Diamond, M.D., president and medical director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago and spokesperson for the National Headache Foundation. If you eliminate the food for a few weeks and the migraine attacks continue, its likely not the food to blame. Dr. Diamond cautions against being too restrictive with your diets, which can cause more stressanother migraine trigger.

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    At The Burger Joint: Skip The Pickles Try Raw Cucumber

    A few favorite burger toppings can be migraine triggers for some, all thanks to tyramine, so the next time you hit up your fave joint, be wary of a few items like raw onion, cheddar or blue cheese and sauerkraut . Pickled food can be high in tyramine, too, so you might consider laying off that pile of pickles. It might sound weird, but raw cucumber can give you that same satisfying crunch, so you might ask your server for a swap-out.

    Food Drink And Additive Triggers

    Perhaps because of the genetic variations, no studies exist that prove a particular food or drink ingredient triggers attacks in all migraine sufferers. There have been studies that show certain ingredients trigger attacks in some people. Theres also evidence from surveys of migraine sufferers and headache diary analysis that these triggers exist. From those research findings and anecdotal evidence from migraine sufferers a few likely culprits emerge:

    Tyramine-Rich Foods

    It appears that some migraine sufferers dont process foods containing the amino acid tyramine in the same way that people without migraines do. A few examples of tyramine-rich foods include:

    • Aged cheeses blue, Swiss, Parmesan, feta, aged cheddar
    • Cured meats salami, summer sausages, pepperoni, corned beef
    • Pickled foods olives, sauerkraut, kimchee
    • Broad beans fava beans, snow peas
    • Fermented soy products soy sauce, tofu, miso soup, teriyaki sauce

    A slice of cheese in your sandwich wont necessarily trigger a migraine, says Stephen F. Knox, M.D., a neurologist with Sutter Medical Group neurologist who treats patients with migraine, but a platter of cheese, olives and salami at the party certainly could especially if you add a glass of red wine.


    Food Additives

    Some studies refute the idea that these additives trigger migraines, but the consensus seems to be that certain additives affect subgroups of migraine sufferers.


    Citrus Fruits


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