You Are What You Eat
While you are developing your migraine journal, you will want to pay special attention to the food you eat. Many foods are known trigger migraines, and the effects vary widely. As an example, some people find that caffeine actually helps relieve their migraines, while for others, it is a migraine trigger. Keeping track of your migraines in a journal is the only way to know for sure whether a particular food is triggering your migraines.
Some foods have specific components that are known to trigger migraines. Tyramine is a well-known example. Tyramine is a chemical compound created naturally from the amino acid tyrosine as it breaks down over time.
Tyramine will occur in any protein-rich food when it is aged, fermented, or stored for a long time. This means that tyramine is found in aged cheeses and cultured milk products like yogurt and sour cream, deli meats, pork products (including bacon and ham), and fermented soy products like tofu, tempeh, and soy sauce. All of these foods should be on your watch list for migraine triggers.
Any food that is fermented is a potential migraine trigger, whether it contains tyramine or not. Some fermented foods known to trigger migraines include sauerkraut, pickles, and olives. Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine and high-malt beers, are common migraine triggers.
Citrus fruits will trigger migraines in some people, including oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, papayas, and passion fruits. Other fruits noted as migraine triggers include plums, raisins, figs, bananas, and avocados.
Many people find that chemically processed foods will trigger a migraine. The artificial sweeteners aspartame and saccharin are often suspected, along with food colorings and preservatives. Canned foods, bouillon cubes, MSG, seasoned salt, and meat tenderizer should be considered. Brewer’s yeast, which is a nutrient-dense vitamin supplement, can also trigger migraines.
Other foods known to trigger migraines include:
– Breads, raised coffee cakes, doughnuts, pizza
– Chocolate, cocoa, carob
– Caffeinated drinks including coffee, tea, cola
– Beef and chicken livers
– Nuts and seeds
– Pod beans including lima beans, navy beans, peas, lentils, snow peas
– Peanut butter
Many of the migraine trigger foods are known allergens, including nuts, eggs, dairy products, soy, and wheat products. The medical community is studying the possibility that mild food allergies are the reason why these foods trigger migraines.
The good news is that no one seems to have all of these foods on their migraine trigger list. People who have concerns with citrus fruits, for example, tend to have no problems with pod beans or bread products. The key is using your migraine journal to identify the specific foods that are problematic for you and avoiding those foods.
So, is there anything you can eat that will help you avoid migraines? Yes! That is what we’ll talk about tomorrow.
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