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Migraine Headache – Maybe It Is Time to Change Your Diet?
- A migraine headache is a neurological syndrome characterized by such symptoms as severe pain, nausea, a pounding in the head or skull-splitting feeling, and sensitivity to light.
- Changing your diet to avoid a potential trigger food can be a step toward preventing future migraines.
A migraine headache is a neurological syndrome characterized by such symptoms as severe pain, nausea, a pounding in the head or skull-splitting feeling, and sensitivity to light. These intense headaches have become more common in the last 20 years and can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. It may be difficult to believe, but some foods can actually trigger a migraine. Changing your diet to avoid a potential trigger food can be a step toward preventing future migraines. Doctors have devised a migraine diet to help patients predisposed to this medical condition avoid trigger foods that may cause migraines.
Foods that should be excluded from a migraine diet will depend on the individual, and understanding some common food triggers can help you pinpoint which triggers could contribute to a migraine headache. Scientists and medical practitioners believe that migraines are the result of a combination of vascular and chemical changes in the brain, and that food triggers may cause these changes to occur.
Some foods that seem to have migraine triggers are those such as cured meats like bacon, ham, pepperoni, and salami. These foods contain high amounts of nitrates, which can cause a reaction in the brain that may cause a migraine.
Another food that may be good to avoid is chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, and phenylethylamine. It also causes your body to release norepinephrine, which constricts blood flow in the brain by narrowing arteries and veins.
Aged or otherwise strong cheeses can be another common food trigger for migraine headaches, and may need to be removed from your diet.
Caffeine is another trigger, so coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks should be avoided if possible. This leads to a double-edged treatment, however, because caffeine withdrawal can also cause a migraine headache. If you drink large amounts of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, try to cut down slowly over time.
Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, should also be considered for elimination from your diet if you suffer from migraine headaches. Alcoholic drinks contain histamine, which can cause or exacerbate a migraine headache. Other common foods to take out of your migraine headache diet include hot dogs, lunch meats, citrus fruits, pickles, yogurt, sour cream, pork, seafood, and chicken livers, though the list could on and on. It is better to determine which foods affect you, and then eliminate them one by one from your migraine headache diet.
Many common food triggers for migraine sufferers have something in common: they contain large amounts of amines, such as tyramine, histamine, phenylethylamine and octopamine. Many scientists believe that intolerance for these food components are what can act as a cause of the food trigger and a subsequent migraine headache. Changing your diet to exclude any food triggers that are specific to your migraine headache condition can help you minimize both the frequency and the severity of your migraine headaches, overall improving your life function. It is also important to exercise regularly, get restful sleep, and drink plenty of fluids. Not getting adequate exercise, dealing with consistent and high stress and dehydration can all cause migraine headaches.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Headache19 Mar 2009|