Triggers of Migraines

Ground coffee

If you are among the more than 35 million Americans who experience migraine headaches, you’re painfully aware that nobody understands for sure what can activate them. Specifically when it pertains to foods.

Particular foods are considered possible triggers from anecdotal proof provided by migraine sufferers. Finding out which perpetrators cause your own headaches can be tough.

That’s why if you do get migraines, numerous headache professionals say it’s necessary to keep a day-to-day headache journal of what you eat.

Food Triggers Of Migraines

Registered nurse Jane DeMattia, who deals with patients at Cleveland Clinic’s Headache and Facial Pain Clinic, states foods can have a considerable association with headaches, but confesses that food sets off can be tough to determine, particularly for those who suffer with chronic headaches (more than 15 days per month).

Ground coffeeResponse to foods is various in everyone. What might cause no response in a single person may activate a severe headache in another.

” The most important element is the chemical makeup of the patient,” says DeMattia– not the food itself.

Though not known for sure, the belief is that there is a chemical reaction that happens in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus. When exposed to a trigger– whether it’s a particular food, a specific perfume, stress or an air pressure change– a response happens in which messages are sent along the nerve pathways, which in turn is viewed as pain.

Secondary to this is a vascular reaction where there is inflammation and dilation of blood vessels that causes that painful throbbing in your head.

What might cause this action in someone might be various from that in another, supporting the connection with an individual’s individual DNA makeup and their chemical action.

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A Headache Journal Can Establish A Connection

Jane DeMattia says keeping an everyday headache journal can establish a pattern of the foods you eat in relation to the event of your headaches. “Tracking is huge,” she says.

As you preserve your journal, bear in mind these active ingredients in food that been anecdotally related to migraines:

Tyramine. This substance is discovered in some foods, forming as the food ages. The longer it ages, the greater the tyramine content. Foods high in tyramine include:

  • Aged cheeses (including cheddar, blue, Brie, Stilton, Parmesan).
  • Treated meats.
  • Mature foods.


Jane DeMattia states caffeine is difficult since not just can it be a trigger itself– however all of a sudden stopping caffeine consumption can cause headaches too, she states. More confusing, caffeine is sometimes used as a treatment for migraines, discovered in a number of over the counter medications. Keep in mind, however, that too much caffeine can cause rebound headaches, so the basic guideline is, “Caffeine in small amounts (200 mg or less/day) or none at all.”

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

The food enhancer found in soy sauce, Asian foods, meat tenderizer and a range of canned and packaged foods has actually been anecdotally linked to headaches to name a few symptoms like flushing, sweating and chest pain. DeMattia warns to be cautious at the salad bar: MSG is discovered in much of the offerings there as a preservative.

Food Preservatives

Nitrates and nitrites can dilate blood vessels, causing headaches. Monitor your consumption of:.

  • hot dogs
  • sausage
  • lunch meats and deli-style meats
  • pepperoni.

I advise you to keep to a fatless diet, without fried meat or spice dishes. From time to time consume boiled meat and fish.

If you keep a headache journal, deal with a headache specialist or nutritional expert who can help you translate the data you collect– and figure out the foods that are must to prevent.

Have a good day!


Diet Expert