Each year millions of people suffer from migraines, a recurring type of headache. Migraines are known to leave those afflicted with a a sensation of a throbbing or pulsing pain, often occurring on one side of the head. Other symptoms include nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and muscle weakness. These occurrences can last from as little as a few hours to as long as several days. While migraines can be self diagnosed, they are often treated by a medical professional.
There are many known triggers of migraines, and here are some of the top food triggers for migraines:
1. Dairy products
In general dairy products are considered to be highly allergic, accounting for about 90 percent of all allergic reactions and are thought to be the most detrimental food group to migraine sufferers. The tyramine and histamine compounds that are found naturally occurring in dairy products lead to the severe headaches. Tyramine levels in foods actually increase during the fermentation and aging process, so it is an especially good idea to avoid aged cheeses such as brie, bleu, swiss, and cheddar.
Alcohol is a diuretic which leads to one urinating more fluid than the body takes in. This source of dehydration can lead to migraines, so it is best that those who are prone to migraines exercise moderation when drinking or forgo the activity all together. Additionally, drinking alcohol can cause increased blood flow to the brain via relaxed blood vessels leading to cases of migraines as well. Though all types of alcohol can lead to migraines, red wine is found to be a specific culprit due to the histamine that it contains so migraine sufferers may want to be especially aware of their wine choices when enjoying a night out with friends.
Chocolate is also a commonly listed source of migraine triggers. While it is generally believed that the tyramine compounds contained in the chocolate tend to be the main culprits for the onset of migraines, it can also be attributed to the fact that many women crave chocolate during times of stress and hormonal changes-both of which are also known causes of migraines. Either way chocolate should only be indulged in moderation by people who are affected by migraines.
Nitrates may cause your blood vessels to expand, thus leading to migraines. Nitrates are a type of chemical that can be found in many processed and cured meats. Foods such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, and even some red meats should be avoided or consumed sparingly by migraine sufferers.
5. Controlling migraines through diet
Those who suffer from migraines may attempt to control them with a migraine diet. While there is no one specific nutritional protocol for migraines, it is generally accepted that avoiding known food triggers of migraines should help to curb their occurrence. Therefore one should reasonably avoid foods high in nitrates, alcohols, and dairy products. The low-tyramine diet is also a possible solution, focusing on cutting out those foods that have higher levels of tyramine including those which are aged or fermented, stored for long periods, and are not fresh.