Are the foods you eat impacting your migraines?

Do you get head pain after you eat a certain food? Are you having difficulty figuring out which foods are contributing to your headaches or migraines?

Some foods that have been reported to trigger a migraine are:

 Alcohol (especially red wine, beer and aged
spirits)

 Chocolate

 Caffeine

 Aged cheese

 Cured meats

 Smoked fish

 Yeast extract

 Food preservatives such at nitrites and nitrates

 Artificial sweeteners

 Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

 Foods high in histamine such as tomatoes, strawberries or spinach

The theory is that these foods or chemicals can initiate the release of two brain
chemicals, norepinephrine and serotonin, that start the process of a migraine by
affecting blood flow and stimulating the brain stem, trigeminal nerve and other
brain pathways.

Often, migraines are due to more than one trigger. When several triggers (i.e.
stress, lack of sleep, low blood sugar) are stacked together the likelihood of
getting a migraine can increase when you eat an inflammatory food. Since there
are many triggers you can’t control (i.e. hormones, weather) identifying food
triggers may decrease your migraine frequency and/or intensity.

Some people decide to switch to a healthier eating plan that includes more whole
foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh dairy and lean meats while
limiting processed foods. This type of diet is naturally anti-inflammatory. Others
need to eliminate the most problematic foods from their diet for a period of time
before reintroducing them to identify their food triggers (migraine elimination
diet). Sometimes, when it is particularly difficult to figure out personal food
triggers, a food sensitivity test can help.

Let us help you figure out your best migraine prevention eating plan by working
with our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She can tailor a program for you and
your lifestyle to help you on your way to a migraine free life!

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