Can what you eat make a difference? We understand that what triggers a migraine is complex and varies from person to person, but for many of us living with migraine, triggers can be dietary.
A report in the May issue of Environmental Nutrition focuses on further research into the possibility that several foods, drinks and dietary habits are triggers for migraine. What are your dietary migraine triggers?
- Fasting, skipping meals or going five or more hours without eating, may be a trigger, according to a 2012 study in Neurology Science.
- Alcohol, especially red wine and beer, runs a close second to fasting. One or two drinks may trigger a migraine immediately or on the following day.
- Tyramine, is an amine compound found naturally in some foods, can cause blood vessels to dilate, bringing on a migraine. The effects can be even worse the day after eating tyramine-containing foods. Those include red wine, beer, chocolate, avocados, aged cheese (brie, blue, Swiss), dairy foods (milk, yogurt, ice cream), nuts, overripe bananas, soy sauce, pork and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon and ham).
- MSG (monosodium glutamate) is used as a flavour enhancer in many foods including some of our favourite take-away dishes.
- Nitrates and nitrites, compounds found naturally in vegetables and often added to processed meats may be a trigger for some people.
- Aspartame, the artificial sweetener has been known to trigger headaches.
- Caffeine can either be a trigger or a relief. It’s in some helpful medications, but too much can lead to recurrent headaches.
A useful strategy might be to note all the foods eaten and the symptoms that result in your Migraine Diary. Some experts say that just reducing the amount or frequency of dietry migraine triggers may help to successfully manage migraine.