Migraines are an unfortunate recurrence in my family. Thankfully, I’ve recently pinpointed a few of my own migraine food triggers, which has brought about some relief.
If you suffer from migraines, try eliminating a few of these six common migraine food triggers and get some relief.
1. Wheat: Those who are sensitive to wheat or gluten may experience migraines in addition to stomach upset when consuming wheat. This isn’t true only for celiac sufferers or the gluten sensitive. For some, grains are simply migraine food triggers and cause no other symptoms whatsoever. Consider avoiding grains for a two week elimination diet if you suffer from migraines.
For myself, I experienced migraines starting in my 20s. In my 30s, after having children and wanting to eat healthier, my migraines increased dramatically. As it turns out, switching to whole grains was a poor choice for me and I’ve since been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Since going off my triggers (grains, processed sugars and red wine), my migraines have blissfully decreased in frequency.
2. Chocolate: Chocolate can trigger migraines due to added sugars and its natural caffeine content. Conversely, for some, eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate can stave off migraine symptoms.
3. Hard or aged cheeses: In aged cheeses, tyramine is often present. The more a cheese ages or breaks down, the higher tyramine can be. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding blue cheeses, brie, cheddar, Stilton, feta, gorgonzola, mozzarella, muenster, Parmesan, Swiss and any processed cheeses if you frequently suffer from migraines.
4. Red wine: Red wines can trigger migraines due to the sulfites or the tannins present in the wine. Tyramine levels also are high because of the fermenting process. And, the alcohol doesn’t help matters either since it can dehydrate you and trigger headaches or migraines as well. If tannins are your trigger, avoid red-skinned fruits and tea as well. If sulfites are the culprit, you should also avoid dried fruits.
5. Cured foods: Cured foods contain nitrites, a migraine trigger. When attempting to isolate your triggers, avoid foods like hot dogs, cold cuts and bacon.
6. Food additives: Food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast extract, hydrolyzed or autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), sodium caseinate, and kombu extract or food coloring can trigger migraines. Processed foods of any kind also can contain high levels of tyramine, a common migraine trigger. Artificial and processed sweeteners also may be triggers.
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