Stress level— check, sleep cycle— check, light— check, exercise — check. You’ve checked for all the factors that could be a potential migraine trigger. And maybe you are doing it all tostave off that head-thumping monster headache. But then, why these migraine symptoms are showing up again and again? Well, maybe the devil is in the diet. That’s right— while migraine attacks are typically triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and other visual stimuli like flashing lights,there’s scientific evidence that suggests such attacks may be also triggered by certain foods and beverages.Want to know which ones these are? Read on to find out.
- Too Much Coffee
Wait! Doesn’t coffee actually help relieve a headache?You might be grumbling when you see this but research shows that consuming too much caffeine can trigger migraines.According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine, episodic migraine sufferers who consume three or more servings of caffeinated beverages per day are more likely to develop a migraine attack the same day or the next. Also, a review of studies on coffee and migraine found that about 6.3–14.5% of people find caffeine as one of the triggers for their throbbing headaches. But if you can’t imagine getting through the day without your morning cup of coffee, that’s alright. But try to keep your daily intake to no more than two cups.
- Dark Chocolate
We hate to break this out, but your favoritechocolate can be the culprit behind all the pounding headaches you’ve been having.Experts claim that chocolate includes caffeine and beta-phenylethylamine, which can cause headaches. Also, according to a research by the American Migraine Foundation, after alcohol, chocolate is the second-most prevalent migraine trigger. So, do you have to swear off your favorite chocolate bar for life?Not necessarily!Like all triggers, not all migraine sufferers are sensitive to chocolates. So, if you know it doesn’t affect you, go ahead and indulge in your sugary treat!
- Ice Cream
Ouch! This one might hurt, but it’s true. Nothing says summer like a big bowl of ice cream. This sweet frozen treat is all you need when feeling blue. But if you get that nasty headache every time you have ice cream, you might need to think twice before getting one. Cold foods like ice creammight set off a migraine for some. But for the majority of sufferers, the headache goes down fast. So, you don’t have to wean it off completely. Just try to have your ice cream or icy beverage more slowly to stay away from the stabbing headache.
- Aged cheeses
Sorry cheese lovers! Here’s bad news.We know nothing makes our taste buds happy than a creamy cheesy treat. But as tempting as this might sound, the truth is aged cheese like Blue, Brie, Provolone, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Camembert and Cheddarcan also be a trigger for migraine symptoms. Why?Because they contain tyramines, which have the potential to come in contact with the body’s neurotransmitters and induce severe headaches. In fact, a study, reveals that 18% of people consider cheese as a trigger for their migraines.So, the next time you get a migraine, ask yourself ifyou recently ate some cheese.
- Alcoholic Drinks
Sometimes, a glass of red wine is all you need to unwind after a hectic day. But for the migraine-prone, it can set off an attack. Alcoholic beverages like red wines contain certain chemicals like tyramine and histamine and you know what that means. The greater the histamine concentration in the alcohol, the more likely it may cause a migraine. While some claim to get a headache within 30 to 3 hours of alcohol consumption, for those who are very sensitive, even a modest amount of booze may be enough to trigger symptoms.
- Processed and cured meats
Love gorging on sausages, salamis, bacon strips, or pepperoni? Well, most of us do. But, do you know these mouth-watering delicacies could be the culprit behind the migraines you get? All thanks to the nitrites and nitrates that are often used in these meats to preserve their color and flavor. Cured and processed meats such as hot dogs, hams, bacon, sausage,and deli meatsoften include nitrites and nitrates which may dilate blood vessels and set off headaches in some people, according to the National Headache Foundation. Also, it has been reported in a study that, 5% of participants having a history of migraines were statistically more likely to develop headaches on days when they consumed nitrites.Though the amount of these chemicalsused in meats is fairly low, some people could be especially sensitive to them. So, next time you hit the grocery store, don’t forget to verify the ingredients before you pick up that pack of bacon.
- Citrus fruits
Now, what’s wrong with the fruits? —you may ask. Sure, fresh tarty fruits are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, which is great for health. But it could also be one of the reasons for your throbbing migraine episodes. While these are not as common triggers as some of the other foods on this list, some people claim that oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes give them headaches. So, try tracking your migraine to see if these fruitsplay a part in your headaches.
The Bottom Line
Okay, before you start purging your pantry and tweaking your diet, here’s the thing you need to understand. Not all of these foods are triggers for every sufferer.While you might be able to wash your ‘sausages-and-bread’ dinnerdownwith a glass of red wine, the same could send someone else into a migraine hell. So, the only way to find out your potential triggers is to keep track of your eating habits, make one change at a time, and see what spurs your headaches.