Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Migraine Trigger Foods

If you often suffer from migraines like I do, you are no stranger to a quiet dark room with a pillow over your head.  Since many migraines are stress related, resting seems to be one of the only solutions to soothing the pain but it is also extremely time consuming- let alone downright depressing.  Instead of wallowing in the dark, I decided to do a little research and dig deeper as to why these migraines kept reoccurring.

There are certain aspects of your life you can’t change- i.e. sitting in front of a computer all day, stressing about deadlines or chauffeuring your children around.  However, there are parts of your life you can change- such as your diet.  When the results for foods that trigger migraine headaches came up, I was not surprised to see that much of what I consumed on a daily basis was on the list.

While eliminating all of these foods is not necessary, it is a smart idea to cut out a select few for a week or two.  This way you can determine whether a certain food makes any difference in the way you feel.  Even if this strategy doesn’t cure your migraines (as they may be linked to hormonal changes, emotional trauma, certain smells, or medications), it doesn’t hurt to try.

Here are some foods you may consider fading out of your diet:
Foods with tyramine such as: 
Aged cheese (except cottage, farmers, ricotta and cream)
Aged and non-fresh meats and liver (i.e. cold cuts; also watch out for products with meat and hydrolyzed protein, such as gravy and soup mixes)
Nuts (especially peanuts)
Alcohol (red wine is the worst; watch out for flavorings like vanilla which may contain alcohol)
MSG or monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer which is almost universally used in almost all processed foods (watch out for anything labeled: hydrolized or autolized, malt extract, gelatin, glutamate, yeast extract/food/nutrient, sodium caseinate or textured protein)
Some Easy-to-Spot Offenders:
Soy beans & Italian green beans 
Sourdough breads
Ripe banana

After my own testing, I found migraines to be less prevalent when I cut out my big mug of coffee, dairy/ cheese products and alcohol.  Remember everyone’s body is different and what affects you may not be what affects someone else.  Try your own methods out and see what happens!  There’s nothing to lose besides that pounding in your head!

By Jen


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