List of Foods That Trigger Migraines

Migraine is the third most widespread illness in the world. There are approximately 45 million people in the United States complaining of headaches each year.

Migraines can cause losses of millions and billions when individuals start missing work. 90 percent of this problem comes from those with severe migraines.

While stress is considered the number 1 migraine trigger, beverages and food may be responsible for up to 30 percent of migraines, according to some estimates. Migraines occur most usual in:

  • People between the ages of 35 and 55;
  • Women (18% of women compared to 6% of men);
  • Caucasian people;
  • Lowest income groups.

Headache reactions to foods may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours to develop, making them very difficult to pinpoint.

Here is a list of foods that trigger migraines:                 

#1 Aged cheese

If you’re going to start or end with a cheese plate, understand that aged cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar, blue, brie, Swiss, and Roquefort contain a natural substance called tyramine, which may trigger a migraine in some.

Tyramine is produced in foods from the natural breakdown of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyramine levels increase in foods when they are fermented, aged, stored for long periods of time, or are not fresh.

#2 Caffeine

Foods aren’t the only things you need to watch out for. Some beverages can also cause migraines. Products that contain caffeine might trigger migraines for you, so consider avoiding hot chocolate, cocoa, and chocolate milk. Limiting caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams daily (the amount in 1 to 2 cups of coffee) is commonly recommended, although some individuals may discover that they feel better when avoiding caffeine entirely.

#3 Alcohol

Blood flow to your brain increases when you consume alcohol. Some studies blame migraine on impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, scotch, whiskey, and champagne are the most usual identified headache triggers.

#4 Cured or processed meats

Sausages, hot dogs, even that turkey sandwich you had for lunch, all of those foods might set off a migraine too, according to Rebecca Traub, MD, a neurologist with Columbia Doctors. These processed meats can contain a preservative called sodium nitrate, and researchers hypothesize that this additive may also cause changes in brain chemistry that contribute to migraines.

It’s essential to note that when nitrates are added to processed foods, they can form nitrosamines in the body, which can put you at a higher risk of any type of cancer.

Moreover, nitrates are also found in drinking water, both city and well water. Nitrates can also occasionally be found in canned vegetables and beans and even packaged seafood.

#5 Cold foods

Cold foods can also cause headaches in some sensitive individuals. It’s possible to occur if you are overheated from intense physical exercise or hot temperatures. Pain, which is felt in the forehead, can last from a few seconds up to 2 minutes. More than 90 percent of migraine sufferers report sensitivity to cold substances and ice cream.

Because many of the foods listed above have been identified almost completely anecdotally, track your daily food consumption to determine more precisely what your personal triggers may be. I’d also recommend keeping a food journal to figure any correlation between what you eat and how you feel.

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