Migraine is a very common uncomfortable and painful condition. Almost 15% of the world’s adult population suffer from it. Despite decades of research, the reasons and causes of migraine are still unknown.
Migraine greatly effects the life of the people who suffer from it. It can have different symptoms ranging from average head ache to various different symptoms. It is clear that food does not cause migraine but for those who already suffer from it, there are certain foods that can trigger it.
In fact, 10 to 60% of migraine sufferers claim that they experience migraine after eating certain foods. Here are some of the foods that may trigger migraine if you already suffer from it:
Cheese is often identified as a food that can trigger migraine. It is because, aged cheeses are rich in Tyramine. Tyramine is an amino acid that can affect blood vessels and so trigger headaches. Other foods that are rich in tyramine include foods that are aged, dried, smoked, cured or pickled.
Like Tofu, sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, swiss cheese and salami, the studies done to find the link between tyramine and migraine have mixed results, more studies are needed to confirm the results but so far more than half the studies have found a link between eating cheese and migraine onset.
Processed or cured meats like hot dogs are often reported to trigger migraine. In fact, in 1970s when people first reported migraine, it was called as hotdog head ache. It was the time hot dogs were introduced. Processed meats contain nitrites and nitrates which act as a preservative but can trigger migraines and are not very healthy either.
Processed meats are often reported as migraine triggers. It is possible because nitrates and nitrites cause expansion of the blood vessels which can cause headaches, however, further research is needed to explore how relative it is migraine sufferers.
Fried and Fatty foods:
Fried and fatty foods are also reported to trigger migraines. It is because certain fats in the blood can cause the production of prostaglandins, prostaglandins can cause the blood vessels to dilate and cause increase in pain.
One study found that participants who were eating high fat diet containing more than 69grams of fat had increased frequency of headaches, in the beginning of the study later when their fat intake was reduced, the frequency and intensity of the head ache decreased.
About 95% of the participants reported that they had about 40% of improvement in their headaches. Similarly, another study on a vegan diet found similar results. However, there are other factors like weight loss and no animal meat or products that were also included in the group so it cannot be said if the reduction in headaches were only from reducing fat intake. More studies are needed to confirm that.
Some Chinese food:
Chinese food and some processed foods that are rich in MSG, monosodium glutamate are also thought to trigger migraine. Different reports suggesting that the intake of MSG because headaches have been prevalent for decades now. But the results have been mixed so far, no well-designed studies have found a link between the consumption of MSG and headaches.
Nevertheless, the high salt and fat content in these foods is to be blamed. Still more sensitive people report MSG to trigger migraine.
Caffeine is often used as a remedy to cure headaches. Tea and coffee is often consumed as it is believed to provide cure from headache. Interestingly it actually may trigger headache caffeine withdrawal headache is a common phenomenon where people experience head ache as soon as the effect of caffeine start to wear off.
This is because the blood vessels start to expand after once contracting due to caffeine effect which can cause migraine in people who are susceptible to migraine. Although it is clear that diet alone does not cause migraine but people already suffering from migraine might have some dietary triggers.
If you notice that these foods mention above do that to you, it is best to avoid them. Certain other foods like artificial sweeteners, alcohol, cold foods and drinks and chocolates may also trigger the headache so if you are sensitive, stay away from these foods.
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