Foods that trigger migraines vary for individuals. Migraines and their causes has been the subject of much research and whilst there are no definitive causes of migraines, food is considered one of the major factors. Research shows foods that trigger migraines affect the frequency and intensity of migraines. It is usual that people who suffer from migraines are sensitive to some foods. If you are prone to migraines, even infrequently, it is helpful to keep a food diary to identify the foods that trigger migraines for you. There is some commonality amongst the foods that trigger migraines. They generally include certain chemicals (proteins, enzymes, nutrients and elements) and it is these that scientist believe are the cause. These chemicals are tyramine, fainylaithylamini, tyrosinem glutamic mononatrio, tannin, aspartame, caffeine, sulphites and nitrites. If you are a sufferer check your ingredients and labels to avoid the foods that trigger m
igraines. The guilty chemicals may not be instantly recognizable as an ingredient name so you’ll need to do a bit of research to know what names you should be looking for or you could just avoid these 12 Common Foods That Trigger Migraines:
Table of contents:
- 1. Chocolate
- 2. Red Hot Chili
- 3. Processed Meats
- 4. Olives
- 5. Artificial Sweeteners
- 6. Yeast
- 7. Cheese
- 8. Vinegar
- 9. Coffee, Tea and Cola
- 10. Red Wine
- 11. Whole Milk
- 12. Alcohol
Sorry girls, but it’s true. Chocolate is top of the list of foods that trigger migraines and this applies to both solid chocolate and liquid chocolate. Tannin, Caffeine, and the Phenylethylamine are thought to be the main culprits here.
2 Red Hot Chili
Scientists actually use hot chili peppers to trigger migraines for research purposes so it is definitely a food to avoid. Although chili has other redeeming nutritional value, migraine sufferers are thought to be sensitive to the high capsaicin content of chilies.
3 Processed Meats
Processed meats are foods that trigger migraines due to the Tyramine and the sulfites in the preservatives used to keep the meat fresh. This applies to meat from farm animals as well as meat from the bodies of some aquatic creatures.
These little things in cocktails are actually little migraine bombs waiting to happen as they are another food that contains a high amount of Tyramine.
5 Artificial Sweeteners
The Excitotoxins in all artificial sweeteners have been found to cause migraines due to the effect they have on the neurons of the brain. Sufferers may not be sensitive to all types of sweetener and this is one of the most difficult ones to pin down in your diet. Generally, avoid anything with aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin and sucralose listed in the ingredients.
It’s bad news to think that baked goods are foods than can trigger migraines but yeast contains coumarin which is thought to be a migraine protagonist. This is one to watch out for because yeast isn’t just used as a raising agent in breads and pastries. Yeast extract is a common ingredient used in savory processed foods. Canned soups, meat and fish, snack foods and sauces and savory mixes will all contain yeast extract.
Another food that contains high levels of tyramine, the older the cheese, the higher the concentration of tyramine and consequently the greater propensity to trigger a migraine. It is not just an old wives tale that says don’t eat cheese too close to bedtime.
We’re talking brown (malt) vinegar here as it another of the nasty foods that can trigger migraines thanks to a high tyramine content. The good news is that you don’t have to give up vinegar entirely though, because white vinegar does not contain any Tyramine.
9 Coffee, Tea and Cola
Our favorite beverages contain high amounts of caffeine (except when decaffeinated!). Caffiene is a double-edged sword. Scientists are still confused by the fact that caffeine is beneficial in some people for relieving headaches, yet it is a migraine trigger in others
10 Red Wine
It is not uncommon that people who enjoy white wine find they experience headaches when they drink red. Red wine is host to a number of the migraine triggers including tyramine and sulfites. Throw in a very high tannin content and you have a veritable cocktail of pain. Red wine is too, another of the foods that trigger migraines, that has benefits so, people who do not suffer headaches can enjoy the healthy anti-oxidants and good properties of the tannins.
11 Whole Milk
Whole milk contains choline and casein which are thought to be migraine triggers so the next time you drink a chocolate milkshake, beware!
We are all aware of the dangers of over-indulging in alcohol but for migraine sufferers the risks are multiplied. Many spirits contain tyramine and beers contain yeast.
It does seem scary that there are so many foods that can trigger migraines, especially as this list is far from exhaustive but, the key thing to remember is that in the case of many of these, you may have to consume a far amount before experiencing a migraine. Additionally, you will not be sensitive to all of them. Keep that food diary, identify your Common Foods That Trigger Migraines and eliminate them from your diet.
Have you successfully reduced migraines by eliminating trigger foods?
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