Health And Fitness

Be Cautious! The Foods that Trigger Migraines

You may be aware of common migraine triggers such as stress, lack of sleep, and even exercise, but did you know that what you eat can also cause headaches? Yes! Even if visual stimulation like flashing lights usually set off your migraine attacks. It may come as a surprise to learn that certain everyday foods that trigger migraines in the individuals who are vulnerable to them. If you suffer from migraines, check out this list to see which foods you should avoid.

Your Diet and Migraines: The Connection

Your Diet and Migraines The Connection

While migraines can be caused by a variety of factors that differ from person to person, there’s no doubt that nutrition and eating habits are linked to the ailment. What do we mean by that? Let’s have a look:

  • Certain meals and beverages include ingredients – categorized as the foods that trigger migraines – can cause migraine attacks.
  • Migraines can also be triggered by skipping meals or eating at inconvenient times.
  • Because obesity is a risk factor for migraines, dieting may be utilized to help people lose weight.

Needless to say, the link between food and migraines isn’t always evident, and no single item can be blamed for your episodes entirely. Nonetheless, scientific data suggests that specific foods that cause migraines. Furthermore, 27 percent of migraine sufferers believe that some meals are particularly provocative.

Certain foods and additives are more likely to trigger headaches in a higher percentage of migraineurs, as per Dr. Sara Crystal, clinical neurologist and Cove Medical Director. However, even among individuals, other factors such as stress, hormonal changes, and lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of an attack after consuming a known trigger.

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The Most Common Foods that Trigger Migraines

There is no such stuff as a migraine trigger that is universal. However, in certain people, there are several common triggers that might induce or contribute to migraine attacks. Let’s dive into the most common migraine trigger foods:


Alcohol foods that trigger migraines

Alcoholic beverages are a common migraine triggers, according to studies, with particular compounds in alcohol, such as tyramine and histamine, thought to be the culprit. It is not merely you, believe it or not. Histamine is abundant in red wine, which is a common trigger.

Aged Cheeses

Aged Cheeses foods that trigger migraines

Tyramine, an amino acid produced naturally in the body that helps control blood pressure, is found in aged cheeses. Blue cheese, cheddar, English stilton, mozzarella, parmesan, and Swiss cheeses, among others, include this possible migraine cause. 

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners foods that trigger migraines

Artificial sweeteners are found in a lot of processed foods. These are sugar substitutes that are used to sweeten foods and beverages. However, some sweeteners have been linked to migraines. Aspartame is known to be a migraine trigger especially.


Caffeine foods that trigger migraines

We know some of you are moaning as you read this, but research shows that too much caffeine can cause migraine attacks, and both a 2016 study and a 2019 study suggest that reducing coffee intake can help reduce migraine frequency. If you can’t imagine starting your day without a cup of coffee, take heed of the word “excessive.”


Chocolate foods that trigger migraines

Chocolate is said to be among the common foods that trigger migraines for about 20% of migraine sufferers. The presence of beta-phenylethylamine, an organic molecule that stimulates the central nervous system and brain, is suggested to be the cause.

Foods containing Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Foods containing Monosodium Glutamate

MSG is a flavor enhancer found in frozen or canned foods, soups, snacks, seasoning, and other processed goods. Despite the fact that a 2016 evaluation of the available evidence determined that MSG is no more likely than placebo to cause a headache or migraine, many migraine sufferers claim that MSG is a trigger for them. The intake of this is considered one of the foods that make migraines worse.

Processed and Cured meats

Processed and Cured meats

Nitrates are preservatives found in cured meats such as deli meats, ham, hot dogs, and sausages that help retain color and flavor. These foods can cause nitric oxide to be released into the bloodstream, which is thought to widen brain blood vessels. There is some evidence that nitric oxide might cause or contribute to migraine headaches.

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Which Food is Triggering a Migraine?

How do you determine which of these are the foods that trigger migraines? Because food has a distinct effect on various migraine sufferers, the best thing you can do is look at your eating habits and look for trends that could be potential triggers. You can begin to discover what causes your headaches by gradually eliminating foods one at a time. Food allergy testing can also be beneficial, yet even if you aren’t allergic to specific foods, you should still avoid them.

Dr. Crystal suggests maintaining a careful food diary for at least one month to document everything you eat and don’t consume in order to keep track of your habits. An attack will most likely occur 12 to 24 hours after intake if something is a trigger. You’ll be able to pinpoint the source of your discomfort. The points you should be recording must be the following:

  • The severity and extent of the symptoms
  • Migraine attack timing
  • Your sleeping pattern
  • Your stress spikes
  • Bright lighting, screens, or other stimuli are all examples of stimuli
  • Meal times and items, as well as anything you’re drinking, medications you’re taking, and your menstrual cycle

Migraine Treatment

Migraine treatment may include a combination of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, as well as complementary and alternative therapies. You can treat headache or migraine pain with over-the-counter drugs like Excedrin Migraine. Triptan pain relievers may also be prescribed by your doctor.

Migraine Treatment

If you have migraines on a regular basis, your doctor will most likely prescribe migraine prevention medicine. Beta-blockers, for example, can lower blood pressure and minimize migraine symptoms. Even among persons who do not have depression, antidepressants are sometimes taken to avoid migraine symptoms.

Some unconventional therapies have been shown to be effective in the treatment of migraines. These are some of them:

  • Vitamin B2 which might help avoid migraine attacks
  • Massage therapy may help reduce the number of migraine attacks
  • Biofeedback, which teaches you how to monitor physical responses to stress, such as muscle tightness

Given that, pondering over the foods that trigger migraines you must take the decisive initiatives without wasting much of your time as it may lead you to more severe medical conditions.

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