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10 Everyday things that may trigger migraines

Healthcare 3 min read

At some point or another, everyone has had a headache. Whether it occurs naturally or you brought it on yourself because you are a mess of a human being that doesn’t think about the morning after the night out with the girls. Headaches suck... but for people who deal with migraines, it is absolutely lit 🔥. If headaches were Destiny's Child, migraines are definitely Beyoncé.😁😜

migraines _Beyonce funny face

Because migraines can be so terrible, it's important to recognise trigger factors and focus on avoiding them. For some people, specific foods have been shown to trigger migraines. While there is no known "migraine diet" - people may be able to reduce their migraines by monitoring what they eat. In this article, we look at 10 of the foods you may want to avoid if you suffer from migraines.

Spoiler alert: prepare your heart... your favourite food is definitely on the list.😁

Foods that commonly trigger migraines include

1. Alcohol

This is not food... 🤣 But it definitely counts! Alcohol acts on your kidneys to make you pee more fluid than you are taking in. Losing fluid from your body like this can lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches or migraines.

migraines _Alcohol

Drinking alcohol also relaxes your blood vessels, leading to increase blood flow to the brain. This can also cause migraines if you are susceptible to them.

2. Chocolate

Oh no... Chocolate contains several ingredients that may play a role in triggering migraines. One substance, in particular, phenylethylamine may alter blood flow in the brain or cause the release of other chemicals in the brain leading to migraines. Usually, it's darker chocolate that's the offender.

migraines _Chocolate

3. Caffeine

Caffeine has well-known effects on the central nervous system and the blood vessels of the brain. When you use it every day, you can become reliant on it, and drinking 80 milligrams less than your normal amount can cause a headache. Withdrawal from caffeine is known to cause head pain which can last for days.

migraines _Coffee

4. Pickled and fermented foods

Pickled and fermented foods can contain high amounts of tyramine.

5. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG

Monosodium glutamate is a food additive used to enhance the flavour of food. MSG has been to cause animal blood vessels to narrow and contract, may trigger migraines by this action in the blood vessels of the brain.

We promise you, this stuff is in literally everything... check the label of your foods to see.

6. Orange juice

A lot of commercial orange juice is squeezed with the rind on, which bruises it and releases synephrine, a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict. There have been links between migraine headaches and synephrine as well as related vasoconstrictors, so it makes sense that this could be a trigger.

migraines _Orange juice

7. Aged Cheese

Cheeses such as feta, blue cheese, and parmesan contain a substance called tyramine, which is linked to migraines. The longer the cheese is aged, the higher the tyramine content; and the higher the chances of triggering migraines.

migraines _Aged cheese

8.Cured Meats

Cured meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and ham contain nitrates to preserve the colour and flavour while preventing the growth of botulism. Nitrites may trigger the release of nitric oxide and widening the blood vessels which can cause migraines.

migraines_Cured meat

9. Ice-cream and other frozen foods

An ice-cream head or brain freeze is a temporary reaction to eating something that is very cold and is easily avoidable by just eating slowly. For people with migraines, an ice cream headache can lead to a migraine attack. Extremely cold food stimulates nerves in the top of your mouth that cause the blood vessels to constrict. Although an ice cream headache can be dangerous for someone with migraines, for most people this headache goes away in a few minutes.

migraines_cecream rainbow

10.Nuts

All nuts can be a headache or migraine triggers for some people. The culprit in nuts tyramine. It causes nerve cells in your brain to release the chemical norepinephrine. Having higher levels of tyramine in your system can cause changes in the brain that lead to headaches.

migraines_Nuts

A final word before we go

If you suspect that certain foods may be triggering your migraines, try these tips:

  • Write down potential triggers such as foods you ate or things you did shortly before your migraine started
  • Remove all obvious food triggers from your diet once you have identified them, we recommend avoiding those foods.
  • Talk to your doctor if migraines persist
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