Posted Mon 29th Aug 2016
Six common foods to avoid:
It is important to know what foods can lead to a headache so that you can avoid them.
The following foods & drinks have a recorded instance of causing migraines: alcohol (29-35%), caffeine (14%), cheese (9-18%) and MSG (12%).
Tyramine is a naturally occurring substance that has been linked to migraines. It can be found in aged cheese, smoked fish, processed meat, fermented food, food with yeast, and beer.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, and is 180-200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Although there is no clinical verification that it triggers migraines, many migraine sufferers claim a causal link.
Monosodium glutamate or MSG is widely used in canned food and instant food. It triggers the brain to release certain substances and stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which eventually leads to a headache. (Also coded as ‘additive 621, HVP, flavour enhancer)
Nitrates and nitrites are widely used in preserving meats, fermentation and smoked meats such as sausage and fish. Foods high in nitrates include sandwich meats such as salami and smoked salmon as well as lettuce and spinach.
Alcohol: especially Red wine is reported to be a trigger for migraines, as it contains tyramine, histamine and flavonoids.
Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Some painkillers also contain caffeine. It directly affects the central nervous system, but its effect depends on the amount consumed. In a 115ml soft drink, there can be 50-300mg of caffeine. Caffeine can cause restlessness, insomnia and a short temper. However, it works both ways, as it can both trigger and cure a headache, depending on the amount and frequency. For those whose headaches are triggered by caffeine, it is best to abstain as much as possible.
Its also worthwhile noting that there may be a ‘dose’/level of consumption required before any of these foods can set off an attack.
So a little chocolate may be ok as a treat, but a lot of chocolate might set off a migraine.
Source: www.headache.com.au 2016