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Is Your Diet Triggering Your Migraines?

Is Your Diet Triggering Your Migraines?

Identifying migraine triggers can be a challenging process. Hormonal changes, stress, sleeping habits, mood, and diet can all play a role.
Who is at Risk?
According to the most recent American Migraine Study, 21 million U.S. women and 7 million men over the age of 12 years report having migraines. Classic symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, vision/hearing disturbances, extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Family history of migraines is found in 90% of patients.
Dietary Triggers
Each individual’s triggers are unique. Identifying food triggers can be challenging as migraines may occur on occasion and could be the result of ingesting an excess amount or accumulation of too many different triggers.
Skipping meals, fasting, low blood sugar, and dehydration can also play a role.
Possible trigger foods are listed below.
•Figs, raisins, overripe avocados, tomatoes, bananas, sauerkraut, string beans, raw garlic, snow peas, olives, pickles, onions, pickled, fermented, and marinated vegetables.
•Freshly baked yeast bread, fresh yeast coffee cake, doughnuts, sourdough and bread. Breads and crackers containing cheese, including pizza. Any product containing chocolate or nuts.
Dairy Products
•Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, sour cream), and chocolate milk. Aged cheeses with high tyramine content: blue, brick, gouda, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, Romano, Roquefort, cheddar, Swiss, stilton, brie types, and camembert types.
•Fava, broad, garbanzo, lima and pinto.
Meat, fish, poultry
•Aged, canned, cured and processed meats are all high in tyramine. Examples include: ham, game, pickled herring, salted dried fish, sardines, anchovies, chicken livers, sausage, bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, hot dogs, pate, and caviar. Any food prepared with meat tenderizer, soy sauce or brewers yeast. Any foods containing nitrates or nitrites.
•Canned soup, soup or bouillon cubes, soup base with autolysis yeast or MSG.
•Chocolate ice cream, pudding, cookies, cakes, or pies. Mincemeat pie. Nuts. Any yeast-containing dough and pastries.
•NutraSweet, monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast/yeast extract, meat tenderizer, seasoned salt, mixed dishes, pizza, cheese sauce, macaroni and cheese, beef stroganoff, cheese blintzes, lasagna, frozen dinners, chocolate. Nuts and nut butters. Pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds. Anything fermented, pickled, or marinated. Some aspirin medications that contain caffeine. Excessive amounts of Niacin. Excessive Vitamin A (over 25,000 I.U. daily).
Migraine Diary
One of the best ways that you can identify your individual triggers is to keep a migraine diary. The diary should include pertinent information such as:
• What you ate or drank 24 hours before the migraine
• Time of day when the migraine started
• What you were doing when the migraine started
• Any medications or supplements taken 24 hours before the migraine
• Emotional or mental stressors
• Environmental changes
In addition to keeping a diary, a good health history is essential to identifying migraine contributors. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies can instigate migraines.

Following up this information with a visit to your doctor or a registered dietitian for additional support is a helpful next step towards living migraine free.