Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Foods To Avoid For Migraines

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How To Do An Elimination Diet

Worst Foods to Eat with Migraines (Dietary Triggers)

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.

Go slow

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.

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How To Tell If A Certain Food Is Triggering A Migraine

Its important to note that a great range of factors can set off migraines, and what youre eating or drinking may not always be the culprit. Often recommended for migraine management is keeping a migraine diary to track what may be setting off attacks. This means recording:

  • When attacks are happening
  • Your levels of stress
  • Exposure to bright lighting, screens, or other stimuli

If you suspect a particular food and drink is triggering your migraines, consider that other factors, such as dehydration, stress, hormonal changes, and sleep disruptions, can always be factors. So how can you tell? Heres a breakdown:

  • Track the timing: Drinks or foods are considered triggers when they set off an attack within 12 to 24 hours of consumption. The onset of attack can be as quick as 20 minutes.
  • Elimination: If you suspect a food item to be a trigger, avoid it for four weeks and see how your migraines are. If theres no change, then likely it isnt one.
  • A focused approach: Be careful when eliminating foods or drinks from your diet it actually may be worse to avoid all of your triggers at the same time. Try one at a time and go from there.
  • Special considerations: The elimination of foods from the diet should not be attempted in children or if youre pregnant without professional medical advice.

How Do You Identify Your Triggers

So how do you know which of these foods are actually triggering your attacks? Since food affects all migraine sufferers differently, the best thing you can do is examine your eating habits and identify patterns that could be potential triggers. By slowly eliminating foods one-by-one, you can start to recognize what spurs your headaches. Food allergy testing can also be helpful, though you should still be wary of certain foods even if you arenât allergic to them.

To keep track of your habits, Dr. Crystal recommends keeping a careful food diary for at least one month to record what you do and donât eat. If something is a trigger, an attack will likely hit 12 to 24 hours post-consumption. Youâll be able to trace the pain back to the sourceâor at the very least, narrow it down.

We know reading this might make you feel like youâll have to start living off of nothing but water if you want to avoid debilitating pain, but itâs important to remember that not all of these foods are triggers for every sufferer . Migraine is personal, and the only way to learn your specific triggers is to track your migraine, make one adjustment at a time, and see what helps.

And, of course, not all foods are your enemy. Check out this article for a list of migraine-safe foods or this roundup of migraine-safe recipes.

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Does Diet Affect Migraine Attacks

Plenty of research suggests that food plays a role in migraine attacks.

Certain foods can act as triggers, but other foods or dietary patterns may be able to help address factors that can make migraine more likely for some people.

Of patients who report triggers for migraine episodes, 27% of people identify one or more foods as a cause.

Why Does Food Cause Headaches

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

The exact cause of migraines isnât known. But doctors agree that brief changes in your brain activity bring them on. These affect your blood vessels and nerve signals as well. The result: throbbing head pain that can last for days.

Many things can cause migraines, like medicine you take, changes in your hormones, and a lack of sleep. Your diet plays a part, too. In about 10% of people with these headaches, food is a trigger.

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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.

The Worst Foods For Migraines

Migraine triggers can be highly individual. A food or stimulus that will cause a migraine in one person might have no effect at all on another. Thats why you need to experiment with key causes of migraines to see if they have an effect on you. Doing this kind of experimentation is essential if you want to eliminate the debilitating pain of migraines and stay as productive as possible. You may have food triggers or you may not, only time and experimentation will tell. But these are some of the worst foods for migraines, the ones most likely to cause a reaction:

  • Cured meats such as bacon, salami, and Prosciutto
  • Yeast extract, found in breads, cereal products, vinegar, and alcohol
  • Food preservatives like nitrites and nitrates
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Dried fruits that contain sulfite preservatives
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Fruits that contain compounds that may cause a histamine reaction such as oranges, raspberries, plums, bananas, and grapefruit
  • Pre-packaged dips such as mustard dips or salsa
  • Pre-bottled salad dressings

To test out these foods, try eliminating many of the worst foods for migraines from your diet. And then add one at a time back into your diet and see how your body reacts. It can also be helpful to keep a food and migraine diary. This can help you identify potential triggers without removing all your favorite foods from your diet.

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Grains Cereals Bread And Baked Goods

Try these:

  • Any pure, unbleached flour or grain, including wheat, buckwheat, millet, teff, amaranth, rye, kasha, kamut, wheatberries, sorghum, tapioca, spelt, bulgur, barley
  • Rice, wild rice
  • Pasta from approved ingredients
  • Breakfast cereals with allowed ingredients, including all plain grains, oatmeal, corn flakes, shredded wheat, puffed rice, puffed wheat, puffed kamut, cream of rice, cream of wheat
  • Baked goods leavened with baking soda, like biscuits, quick breads, muffins, scones, soda bread, scones
  • Crackers with allowed ingredients
  • Small servings of a yeast-risen bread products are OK for some people in moderation should not be freshly baked

Avoid these:

  • Juice from allowed fruits, vegetables
  • Homemade ginger ale
  • Herbal tea made from allowed herbs and spices
  • Plain vodka, gin or white rum are the least problematic alcoholic beverages, but any alcohol can be a trigger its best to avoid all alcohol for your elimination diet to be most informative

Avoid these:

  • Yeast, yeast extract, brewers yeast, nutritional yeast
  • MSG: MSG hides under more than 40 different names! Truth in labeling has a list of them.

Avoid prepared foods with any of these ingredients .

Serotonin Levels Neurotransmitter Imbalances And Migraines

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

High levels of stress create hormone imbalances that affect many areas of the body, and one key area is your neurotransmitter levels, which are controlled by the Neuroaffect circuit of the NEM system.

This can seriously affect the Neuroaffect circuit, which includes the microbiome or bacterial balance in the body, the autonomic nervous system , and the brain. This system can be pivotal in your experience of migraines because it uses neurotransmitters such as serotonin to communicate. And when it becomes unbalanced, NT imbalances are very common and can cause a range of negative symptoms from mood instability to brain fog and depression.

NTs must exist in a careful balance to ensure good mental and physical health. Unfortunately, this balance can be disrupted when you have AFS. People with AFS often experience an overload of norepinephrine and epinephrine when theyre under stress. This is what causes the fight or flight response. It also causes the ANS to activate, which causes the feeling of being wired but tired. These are excitatory NTs, which means they keep you focused and alert. And when you have high levels of these NTs, its very difficult for inhibitory NTs like serotonin to do their work.

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Dietary Supplements For Migraine Prevention

A majority of patients with migraine have tried using minerals, herbs, and vitamins to treat their headaches. Patients have different reasons for using supplements, including the idea that they are more natural or do not require a prescription. Because these complementary and alternative treatments can affect pain pathways and other body functions similar to prescription medications, it is important to be aware of the nature of these supplements, including potential side effects and the quality of evidence supporting their use for migraine prevention.

Vegan Diet And Migraine

If you find yourself already on a vegan diet and experiencing a lot of migraine attacks, you may be running into the same issue covered above. Vegan food substitutes tend to contain a lot of common trigger items – they are high glutamate and can be high tyramine, or also contain a lot of soy.

Overall trying to combine a vegan diet with a migraine diet is much more challenging than vegetarian. With a vegetarian diet you can often rely on cheese and sometimes eggs, which can offer a more varied diet with a lot of great nutrition and protein.

The biggest struggle I see with people who are vegan is that they are eating so much of these substitutes and when they cut it all out, they’re not getting enough nutrition. Following a migraine diet is not worth restrictive eating. If this is something that still interests you, I highly recommend working with a registered dietician or doing a modified migraine diet where you still include certain things like tofu, but limit the amount of highly processed foods.

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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

What You Eat May Make A Difference In How Often You Have Migraine Attacks

Migraine triggers

If you experience migraines, you know that they can be brought on by a variety of factors. These can include high stress levels, sleep disruptions, weather changes, and your diet, including what you eat and drink, and when.

Dietary triggers are some of the more common triggers reported by people with migraines, says Vincent Martin, MD, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute in Ohio and president of the National Headache Foundation . Part of the frustration of living with migraines can be trying to figure out what triggers them. You might have a glass of red wine one time and have a headache, another time, you dont, he says.

First, its good to understand how migraines differ from other types of headaches. According to , a headache specialist in the department of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, migraines are not just headaches but an issue of brain state, meaning senses like touch, sight, and smell are also affected during a migraine.

While scientists debate the exact cause of migraines, theres no doubt that environmental factors such as diet play a role in triggering them. To prevent migraines , try making these small adjustments to your diet.

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Tips To Identify Trigger Foods

Some doctors may recommend that people with migraines keep a food journal to track what they eat and any headache symptoms that they experience.

It is worth noting that some people may have an immediate reaction to a food, while others may not react until 24 hours after eating it.

The next step is to try removing one potential trigger food from the diet to see if migraines still occur. For example, a person may decide to avoid all products that contain red wine for a week, including red wine vinegar and the wine itself.

This approach can ensure that people do not remove foods from their diet unnecessarily.

Doctors have identified five main trigger categories for migraines, one of which is different food types. The other four categories are:

  • Changes in the environment. Changes in atmospheric pressure, the season, and even storms may trigger migraines.
  • Hormones. Changes in hormone levels that occur due to the menstrual cycle can trigger migraines, as can some hormonal changes during pregnancy.
  • Sensory stimulation. Bright lights, certain smells, smoke, and excessive and repetitive noises can all trigger migraines in some people.
  • Stress. Stress, intensive exercise, illness, or unusual sleep habits may trigger migraines.

Sometimes, a combination of migraine triggers can lead to a migraine headache. For example, a person could be very stressed, miss a meal, and reduce their hours of sleep.

Making dietary changes is not the only option for treating migraines.

What Foods Can Trigger A Migraine

It is possible to have certain foods that trigger migraines for you, but not other people.

Or typical trigger foods may not affect your migraine symptoms at all.

But according to research, there are several foods that may have a higher chance of triggering migraine attacks.

Foods that can trigger migraines include:

  • Alcohol , yeast, and other fermented or pickled foods due to the presence of higher levels of certain probiotic and similar organisms
  • Chocolate due to the presence of beta-phenylalanine
  • Aged cheeses , baked bread, and other foods that contain tyramine
  • Monosodium glutamate and other food preservatives, as well as aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, due to the chemical or processed nature
  • Cured or processed meats due to the presence of nitrates

There is no definitive list of published foods that are known to cause migraines.

Many of the above foods and drinks have certain compounds in common that may act as triggers.

Other research suggests that it isnt the specific foods that trigger migraine pain, but rather the persons individual response to them, including food cravings, hunger, and blood sugar balance.

Other potential dietary modifications to consider for migraine include:

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When To See A Medical Provider

If you experience recurrent or severe headaches or migraine attacks, seeing a medical provider can lead to a diagnosis and more effective treatment methods.

If you are not managing your headache pain well with OTC medications, or you are unsure what is causing your recurrent headaches, a healthcare provider can run tests to determine the underlying causes.

If you do have migraines and are struggling to lower the frequency or severity of pain, keeping a journal that notes potential triggers can help you and your provider pinpoint possible solutions.

You may also require prescription medications to either prevent migraine attacks or more effectively manage the pain.

Discover 11 Foods That Can Help Migraines Go Away

Foods to avoid in Migraine – Ms. Sushma Jaiswal

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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