Migraines are a chronically painful part of life for about 30 million Americans. Migraines are one of those conditions where triggers will set it off. It could be a skipped meal, a day that was too stressful, sleep disruptions, weather changes, being overly fatigued, certain smells, blinking lights, and even exercise.
There are also many triggers related to food and drink. They will be different from person to person. Avoiding migraine attacks means doing your best to avoid triggers. Overall, one’s dietary patterncan have a trigger effect. If you skipped breakfast or lunch, it could translate into a chemical change that launches a migraine. If you decide to do a fast for religious or weight loss purposes (or even precluding a dentist visit), this could also be to blame. Are you a habitual coffee drinker who hasn’t had a cup in two days? Caffeine withdrawal is a well-recognized factor for migraines.
Here are five well-known ingredients that cause migraine headaches:
1. Monosodium glutamate. MSG is infamously present in Chinese food and a slew of other Asian dishes.
2. Nitrates, nitrites. These are used in processed and cured meats such as ham and sausages. They help preserve them. These are two of many additives that can trigger a migraine.
3. Tyramine. This is the hidden ingredient that makes aged cheese a common migraine trigger. But it is even more common than that, as it’s found in red wine, alcohol, and sandwich meat.
4. Certain preparations. Foods that have been fermented, pickled or marinated can all be hidden triggers of migraines. And there are certainly a lot of products like this lining every supermarket’s shelves.
5. Aspartame. Sugar-free foods and drinks contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that give some people a splitting headache.
Now for the actual trigger foods. Here are the world’s most prevalent dietary triggers:
— Caffeinated products: chocolate, tea, soft drinks, and coffee
— Aged cheese: mozzarella, feta, cheddar, parmesan, and blue cheese
— Processed meat: hot dogs, cold cuts, lunch meats, and pepperoni sticks
— Fish: smoked or dried can trigger a migraine
— Potato chips
— Dried fruit
— Bakery items: pastries and even bread can do it
— Chicken liver
This list is not entirely inclusive, but it’s a good start. You might have specific foods that tend to trigger a migraine. By learning what they are and avoiding them as often as possible, you can control this frustrating condition.