Sometimes it can be hard to tell if food allergies or certain foods are the cause of migraine headaches, but certain foods definitely can be triggers. To figure out how to get rid of and treat headaches naturally, you need to know the Top 10 Foods That Cause Migraines.
Top 10 Foods That Cause Migraines
Migraines are a type of headache that can be very debilitating. They can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and often include nausea and light sensitivity. Many people who suffer from migraines avoid certain foods, usually ones that contain tyramine or nitrates. However, some foods are believed to cause migraines.
Check out these top 10 foods that cause migraines:
Cured meats like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are known triggers for migraines because of their nitrates. Nitrates are a preservative used to make these meats last longer. They can also cause inflammation, leading to headaches in some people.
2. Alcoholic Beverages
According to a study published in Headache, people who drank more than two alcoholic beverages per week were 20 percent more likely to experience headaches than those who drank less than two per week.
The reason for this association is unknown but may be due to alcohol’s effect on serotonin levels or its ability to dilate blood vessels in the brain — both factors that can trigger migraines.
Caffeine constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure, so it can also trigger headaches.
Chocolate can cause a migraine-like headache if you’re sensitive to its stimulants, including caffeine or tyramine — a chemical found naturally in chocolate. But if you’re not sensitive to either of these ingredients, chocolate shouldn’t cause a problem for you
Eggs contain tyramine, which stimulates the release of histamine, which triggers headaches in some people.
6. Food Additives
Some food additives have been shown to trigger migraines. These include monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfites, tartrazine, and benzoates. Sulfites are used as preservatives in wine, dried fruit, and some processed foods; tartrazine is added to many foods for color; benzoates are used as preservatives in soft drinks, jams, jellies, and baked goods; MSG is used in Chinese food and some Asian sauces.
7. Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates are found in processed meat products such as hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats; they break down into nitrites when cooked at high temperatures (above 302 degrees Fahrenheit). Nitrites have been linked to migraines in many people because they convert to nitric oxide in the body. This chemical has been linked to migraines, especially those triggered by stress.
8. Soy Products
Soy products such as tofu and soy milk contain phytoestrogens, which some people are allergic to. This can cause headaches and other symptoms like bloating and nausea.
Some cheeses can cause migraines because they contain tyramine. These include aged cheeses such as cheddar, brie, and blue cheese. Other cheeses that may trigger migraines include feta, parmesan, and gorgonzola. If you’re allergic to milk or have lactose intolerance, you may already know that dairy products can cause digestive problems.
But did you know that they can also cause headaches? That’s because there’s a protein in dairy products called casein which can trigger migraine attacks in susceptible individuals. If you have a history of allergies or asthma, steer clear of dairy altogether until your symptoms subside.
Onions are a commonly consumed food that has been associated with migraine headaches. It is believed that the sulfoxides present in onions may be responsible for triggering migraines in susceptible individuals. These sulfoxides can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to increased blood flow and oxygenation of the brain.
The list above doesn’t definitively include all foods that cause migraines, but it contains the most common culprits. Eliminating these triggers can help reduce and prevent migraines, but there are other things to consider. For example, diet is just one piece of a migraine puzzle. And keep in mind that not everyone has the same triggers.
Although chocolate is on this list, you may be able to eat a little bit without triggering your migraines. However, if you notice that certain foods are associated with increased headaches, it would be worth giving them up for a couple of months and seeing if your headaches lessened in return.
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