About 48 million Americans regularly get migraines. If you’re one of them, you really need to find out what’s causing it.
Many people tend to put the blame on what they eat. Even though there may be a connection, there isn’t actually a study or anything proving the correlation. Nevertheless, there are some particular foods that are thought to trigger migraines. These are only based on self-reports, so they don’t have a scientific basis. However, it’s always good to know what’s affecting others because it might be the same that is affecting you. The most common food triggers that are reported are alcohol and chocolate.
One thing that you should bear in mind is that, quite often, migraine sufferers just can’t remember any specific foods they might have eaten and that might have caused them migraines. So, this list is a broad recommendation that tells you what foods you should monitor closely. These foods are the ones that usually tend to contain beta-phenylethylamine (like chocolate), tyramine (like cheeses), and nitrates (such as processed meats).
The foods on the list are:
- alcohol, especially red wine;
- caffeine (that can be found in beverages, foods, and even medicines);
- aspartame sweetener;
- processed meat (like sausages, bacon, ham, or salami);
- yogurt and cheeses;
- Chinese food or soups and soups that contain MSG;
- herbal and vitamin supplements (some include active ingredients or caffeine that can make your headaches a lot worse).
There are many theories behind the foods that are on this list. For example, with alcohol, it is believed that it dehydrates you and in addition to that also has some chemicals that might set the stage for headaches.
Another ingredient on this list is MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is a food additive that is present in many processed, packaged, and restaurant foods. It is usually used to enhance flavor.
Yet another ingredient that is most the most cited by people who suffer from migraines is caffeine. However, with caffeine, there is actually a duality. If you’re used to have a good cup of coffee in the morning and you missed it for any reason, you might have had a migraine. And this is just a sign of withdrawal. But caffeine can also help migraines. Since it eases the swelling that can cause migraines, it will act as a pain reliever.
So, how can you be sure about what foods are causing you migraines?
In order for a food to be considered as a trigger, it needs to give you a headache within 12 to 24 hours, regularly. So, one of the best things you can do is to keep a diary where you annotate everything that you eat as well as when you get migraines. This will let you know, with a lot more certainty, the foods that are causing you migraines.