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General Practice 2023

7 foods that cause migraines (and others that improve)

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7 foods that cause migraines (and others that improve)
7 foods that cause migraines (and others that improve)

Migraine attacks can be caused by several factors, such as stress, sleeping a few hours, fasting for a long time, drinking little water during the day and not exercising. However, some foods, especially those containing sweeteners or preservatives, as well as alcoholic beverages can also cause migraines.

Foods that cause migraines can vary from one person to another, so it can be difficult to identify which food is responsible for the attacks. Therefore, it is usually recommended to keep a food diary in which everything you eat during the day and the time of the migraine attack is recorded, to try to find a relationship.

It is worth remembering that it is recommended to go through a consultation with a nutritionist or a doctor for a more detailed assessment of which foods may be causing migraine, as well as other factors, helping to prevent migraine attacks.

The main foods that can cause migraines are:

1. Caffeinated drinks

Coffee, green tea, black or mate tea, energy drinks and soft drinks contain caffeine, which can trigger migraine attacks in some people. In other people, the ingestion of moderate amounts of caffeine can ease migraine attacks, as caffeine has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Some people who stop drinking caffeinated beverages see improvement in their migraine attacks. Other people, when they stop consuming caffeinated drinks, can make their migraine attacks worse. This happens because consuming caffeine frequently and stopping suddenly, causes withdrawal of the compound in the body, causing headache.

Therefore, it is important to identify whether moderate consumption of up to 400mg of caffeine (600 ml of coffee) is well tolerated or whether these types of beverages should be excluded from the diet altogether.

2. Monosodium Glutamate

Concentrations greater than 2.5 g of monosodium glutamate in food are associated with the onset of migraine attacks and headaches. However, some studies have shown that there is no correlation when consumed in smaller amounts.

Monosodium glutamate is an additive used in the food industry to enhance the flavor of foods such as ready-made sauces, canned foods and packaged snacks. This additive can go by various names, such as glutamic acid, monopotassium glutamate, or monosodium glutamate. Therefore, it is important to read the nutrition label of the products to identify whether or not the food has this additive. Understand how to read food labels.

3. Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages can also cause migraine attacks, especially red wine, white wine, champagne and beer, which seems to be due to their vasoactive and neuroinflammatory properties.

The headache caused by the consumption of these drinks usually appears 30 minutes to 3 hours after consumption and small amounts of alcoholic beverages can be enough to cause the headache.

4. Chocolate

Chocolate is known as one of the main foods that cause migraines. There are a few theories that try to explain why chocolate causes headaches and one of them is that it increases the levels of serotonin in the blood, a neurotransmitter that is linked to migraine attacks.

Despite this, studies have not yet been able to prove that chocolate is actually the triggering factor for migraine.

5. Processed meats

Some processed meats, such as ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, sausage, turkey or chicken breast, can cause migraines.

These types of products contain nitrites and nitrates, which are compounds used to preserve food, and which are associated with headache, as they increase blood vessel dilation, triggering migraine attacks up to 2 hours after your intake.

6. Dairy

Dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt, contain tyramine, a compound derived from the amino acid tyrosine, which may favor the onset of migraines. This compound is present in large amounts especially in yellow cheeses such as blue cheese, brie, cheddar, feta, gorgonzola, parmesan and Swiss.

7. Foods with gluten

Foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, or m alt, and preparations made with these ingredients, such as bread, pasta, or pizza, can cause migraines in people who have irritable bowel syndrome, gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, which is protein allergy.

Other foods that can cause migraines

There are some foods that favor migraine attacks in certain people, but which have no scientific proof, such as citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapples and kiwis; and foods that contain aspartame or sucralose, which are artificial sweeteners.

Therefore, it is important to observe and note which of these foods cause migraine, being advised to exclude them from the diet and check if the frequency and intensity of attacks improve.

In addition, it is important to have a follow-up with a doctor or nutritionist, to avoid excluding foods that are not related to migraine and provide important nutrients for the body.

Foods that improve migraines

Foods that improve migraine are those with calming properties and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, as they act on the brain releasing substances that decrease inflammation and promote well-being, such as:

  1. Oily fish,such as salmon, tuna, sardines or mackerel, as they are rich in omega 3, a type of he althy fat with anti-inflammatory properties;
  2. Banana, oatmeal and avocado,as they are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes blood vessel relaxation and well-being;
  3. Oilseeds such as chestnuts, almonds and peanuts, as they are rich in selenium, a mineral that helps to reduce stress;
  4. Seeds,such as chia, pumpkin, sesame and flaxseed, as they are rich in omega-3;
  5. Ginger tea, as it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain;
  6. Cale juice with coconut water, because it is rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation;
  7. Flower tea,such as lavender, passion fruit or lemon balm, as they are relaxing and help promote well-being.

Consumption of foods rich in B vitamins, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, also helps prevent migraines because this vitamin helps protect the central nervous system.

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