Foods that Trigger Migraine Headaches

Migraine Headaches and Food

Migraine headaches can be set off by all kinds of things: Deadlines at work, getting your taxes done and, unfortunately even eating. Current research shows that not only what you eat might trigger a migraine headache, but what’s inside the things you eat as well. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we’re here today.

You Are What You Eat

B. Lee Peterlin, DO, Director of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Headache Research recommends a common sense approach to the eating/migraine argument saying that if you notice that eating a specific food always seems to trigger a migraine, then give up eating that specific food.

According to article on that quotes the good doctor’s research, “The data does not support many of the often-cited food triggers, including chocolate. However, it is sound advice if a patient feels a particular food may be a headache trigger to remove it from your diet. If you put it back in your diet and headaches return, then it likely is a real trigger for you.”

Migraine Foods and Drinks

Your own mileage may differ but here’s a brief look at some of the more widely known foods and drinks that can kick a migraine into overdrive:

  • Alcohol – Red wine, beer, champagne, whiskey, and Scotch can trigger headaches and not just because you drank too much. Some research supports that sulfites, which are added to preserve red wine, are the cause. Migraines can be caused by dehydration which occurs when you drink too much, and that can also cause a migraine. The easy solution is that if drinking gives you a migraine, stop drinking.
  • Caffeine – Go figure that the same ingredient contained in aspirin to ease pain can also cause a migraine. If you drink more than two cups of coffee a day it can cause trouble. Likewise if you already drink a lot of coffee and cut back you can also get a migraine.
  • Food Additives – I’m talking about those secret ingredients in food that make you crave more (Monosodium glutamate, or MSG) or are used to enhance taste. “MSG headaches” have been known to include pulsing pain or pain on both sides of your head.
  • Nitrates and Nitrites – Typically found in processed meat (hot dogs, lunch meat and bacon) and sensitivity to same (the nitrates, not the lunch meat) can expand the blood vessels in your brain, triggering headache pain.

Just like Clockwork

How often you eat, why and at what time can create stress that can trigger a migraine. A lot of times we eat not because we’re hungry but because we’re nervous. A healthy diet can impact how we feel. So sticking to a schedule that includes eating right can only help to make you feel better.

Next time you’re fact-checking your next meal, consider adding the great folks at Savannah Twelve Oaks to your menu. They can help you get on the right track concerning your diet and overall health.

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Vino by Lisa Hicks is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.