Wednesday, June 20

Could a Change in Diet Be the Solution to Your Migraine?

This is a guest post from Ashley Willis who loves to write about health, finance, and lowering her credit report.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is characterized by a severe pulsating pain concentrated in a particular part of the head. This pain may be accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and vomiting. If you have migraines, you likely know that certain foods and beverages may trigger attacks. These foods vary from one person to the next, but those on the list that follows are commonly reported as migraine triggers.

1. Aged Cheeses
Dr. Seymour Diamond of Chicago, originator of The Diamond Headache Clinic, says that aged cheeses are one of the most frequently cited food triggers of migraines. It turns out that if you have migraines, you can be sensitive to a substance in aged cheese called tyramine. Tyramine forms when the protein in the cheese breaks down slowly over time. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people who are sensitive to tyramine should be careful to avoid cheeses that include brie, cheddar, feta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and swiss.

2. Soy Sauce
According to, the monosodium glutamate (MSG) that is an ingredient in soy sauce is a migraine trigger in about 15% of people who suffer from migraine headache. In addition, Dr. Noah Rosen of the Headache Institute at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York state says that the salt in soy sauce may lead to dehydration which is another possible migraine trigger.

3. Red Wine
You may have noticed that you get a migraine after you have a glass of red wine. This is because red wine contains sulfites that are used as preservatives and these have been identified as possible migraine triggers. In addition, the alcohol in red wine increases the flow of blood to your brain and can lead to dehydration. Both of these effects of alcohol may trigger migraines.

4. Processed Meats
Foods such as hot dogs, sausage, luncheon meats, and bacon may be migraine triggers because they contain chemicals called nitrites or nitrates that help to inhibit the growth of bacteria and preserve the food color. These chemical preservatives cause your blood vessels to dilate, and this may lead to a migraine headache.

5. Aspartame

Foods and beverages that contain the artificial sweetener aspartame may trigger migraines in some individuals. In an article that appeared in the October 2001 issue of the journal "Headache", researchers from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City reported that Maxalt-MLT, an aspartame-containing medication used to treat migraines, intensified the migraine headache of two patients. Both patients were known to suffer from aspartame-initiated migraines.

If you suffer from migraines, it may be a good idea to construct a headache diary. This involves writing down the date that you got the headache along with all the foods that you ate on that day and perhaps the day before. This way, you may be able to pinpoint foods that are playing some part in the onset of your migraines. If you then avoid these foods, you may see a decrease in the frequency of your attacks.

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