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Want to Avoid Migraines? Changing Your Diet Might Help

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Millions of people worldwide knowledge migraines.

While the role of diet in migraines is controversial, several studies advise that certain dishes may bring them on in some people.

This essay discusses the intensity role of dietary migraine triggers, as good as supplements that may revoke migraine magnitude and symptoms.


What Is a Migraine?

A migraine is a common commotion characterized by recurrent, stroke headaches that can last up to 3 days.

Several symptoms heed migraines from normal headaches. They typically engage only one side of the conduct and are accompanied by other signs.

These embody revulsion and hypersensitivity to light, sounds and smells. Some people also knowledge visible disturbances, famous as auras, before getting a migraine (1).

In 2001, an estimated 28 million Americans gifted migraines. Research has shown larger magnitude in women than men (2, 3).

The underlying means of migraines is unknown, but hormones, highlight and dietary factors may play a role (4, 5, 6).

About 27–30% of those with migraines trust that certain dishes trigger their migraines (6, 7).

Given that justification is customarily formed on personal accounts, the role of many dietary triggers is controversial.

However, studies advise some people with migraines may be receptive to certain foods.

Below are 11 of the many frequently reported dietary migraine triggers.

1. Coffee

Coffee is one of the world’s many renouned beverages.

It is high in caffeine, a opiate also found in tea, soda and appetite drinks.

Caffeine’s tie to headaches is complex. It may impact headaches or migraines in the following ways:

  • Migraine trigger: High caffeine intake seems to trigger migraines in certain people (8).
  • Migraine treatment: Combined with aspirin and Tylenol (paracetamol), caffeine is an effective migraine diagnosis (9, 10).
  • Caffeine withdrawal headache: If you frequently splash coffee, skipping your daily sip may means withdrawal symptoms. These embody headache, nausea, low mood and bad thoroughness (11, 12).

Caffeine withdrawal headaches are mostly described as stroke and compared with revulsion — symptoms identical to those of a migraine (13).

An estimated 47% of unreasoning coffee consumers knowledge a headache after abstaining from coffee for 12–24 hours. It gradually becomes worse, peaking between 20–51 hours of abstinence. This may last for 2–9 days (14).

The odds of caffeine withdrawal headaches increases as daily caffeine intake increases. Still, as little as 100 mg of caffeine per day, or about one crater of coffee, is adequate to means headaches on withdrawal (12, 15).

If you get headaches since of caffeine withdrawal, you should try to say your coffee report or gradually revoke your caffeine intake over the march of a few weeks (11).

Limiting caffeine intake or quitting high-caffeine beverages altogether may be the best option for some (8).

SUMMARY: Caffeine withdrawal is a obvious headache trigger. Those with migraines who frequently splash coffee or other magnitude caffeinated beverages should try to keep their intake unchanging or gradually revoke their intake.

2. Aged Cheese

About 9–18% of people with migraines report attraction to aged cheese (16, 17).

Scientists trust this may be since of its high tyramine content. Tyramine is a devalue that forms when germ mangle down the amino poison tyrosine during the aging process.

Tyramine is also found in wine, leavening extract, chocolate and processed beef products, but aged cheese is one of its richest sources (18).

Levels of tyramine seem aloft in people with ongoing migraines, compared to healthy people or those with other headache disorders (19).

However, the role of tyramine and other biogenic amines in migraines is debated, as studies have supposing churned results (11, 20).

Aged cheese may also enclose histamine, another intensity culprit, which is discussed in the next section (21).

SUMMARY: Aged cheese may enclose comparatively high amounts of tyramine, a devalue that competence means headaches in some people.

 3. Alcoholic Beverages

Most people are informed with hangover headaches after celebration extreme amounts of ethanol (22).

In certain people, alcoholic beverages may trigger a migraine within 3 hours of consumption.

In fact, roughly 29–36% of those with migraines trust that ethanol may trigger a migraine attack (11, 23).

However, not all alcoholic beverages act in the same way. Studies in people with migraines found that red wine was much some-more likely to trigger a migraine than other alcoholic beverages, generally among women (24, 25).

Some justification indicates that the histamine calm of red booze may play a role. Histamine is also found in processed meat, some fish, cheese and fermented dishes (11, 26).

Histamine is constructed in the body, too. It is concerned in defence responses and functions as a neurotransmitter (27, 28).

Dietary histamine dogmatism is a famous health disorder. Apart from headaches, other symptoms embody flushing, wheezing, sneezing, skin itching, skin rashes and tired (29).

It is caused by a reduced activity of diamine oxidase (DAO), an enzyme obliged for breaking down histamine in the digestive complement (30, 31).

Interestingly, reduced activity of DAO appears to be common in people with migraines.

One study found that 87% of those with migraines had reduced DAO activity. The same practical to only 44% of those but migraines (32).

Another study showed that holding an antihistamine before celebration red booze significantly reduced the magnitude of headaches among people who knowledge headaches after celebration (33).

SUMMARY: Some alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, may trigger migraines. Researchers trust histamine may be to blame.

4. Processed Meat

Around 5% of people with migraines may rise a headache hours or even mins after immoderate processed beef products. This form of headache has been dubbed a “hot dog headache” (34, 35).

Researchers trust that nitrites, a organisation of preservatives that includes potassium nitrite and sodium nitrite, may be the reason because (36).

These preservatives are mostly found in processed meat. They forestall the expansion of damaging microbes like Clostridium botulinum. They also help safety the tone of processed meats and minister to their flavor.

Processed meats that enclose nitrites embody sausages, ham, bacon and lunch meats like salami and bologna.

Hard-cured sausages may also enclose comparatively high amounts of histamine, which could trigger migraines in people with histamine dogmatism (21).

If you get migraines after eating processed meat, consider expelling them from your diet. In any case, eating reduction processed beef is a step toward a healthier lifestyle.

SUMMARY: Some people with migraines may be supportive to nitrates or histamine in processed beef products.

5-11. Other Possible Migraine Triggers

People have reported other migraine triggers, nonetheless the justification is magnitude solid.

Below are a few important examples:

5. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): This common season enhancer has been concerned as a headache trigger, but little justification supports this thought (37, 38).

6. Aspartame: A few studies have compared the synthetic sweetener aspartame with an increasing magnitude of migraine headaches, but the justification is churned (39, 40, 41).

7. Sucralose: Several case reports advise that the synthetic sweetener sucralose may means migraines in some groups (42, 43).

8. Citrus fruits: In one study, about 11% of those with migraines reported citrus fruits to be a migraine trigger (44).

9. Chocolate: Anywhere from 2–22% of people with migraines report being supportive to chocolate. However, studies on the outcome of chocolate sojourn vague (11, 44).

10. Gluten: Wheat, barley and rye enclose gluten. These cereals, as good as products done from them, may trigger migraines in gluten-intolerant people (45).

11. Fasting or skipping meals: While fasting and skipping dishes may have benefits, some may knowledge migraines as a side effect. Between 39–66% of those with migraines associate their symptoms with fasting (46, 47, 48).

Studies also advise that migraines may be an allergic response or hypersensitivity to certain compounds in foods, but scientists haven’t reached a accord on this nonetheless (48, 49).

SUMMARY: Various dietary factors have been compared with migraines or headaches, but the justification behind them is mostly singular or mixed.

How to Treat a Migraine

If you knowledge migraines, revisit your alloy to order out any underlying conditions.

Your alloy can also suggest and allot painkillers or other drugs that competence work for you.

If you think that certain dishes trigger your migraines, try expelling them from your diet to see if that creates any difference.

For minute information on how to follow an rejecting diet, see this article. Also, consider gripping a minute food diary.

Some investigate supports the use of supplements for treating migraines, but the justification on their efficacy is limited. Below are summaries of the categorical ones.


Some people use an herbal addition famous as butterbur to assuage migraines.

A few tranquil studies have shown that 50–75 mg of butterbur may significantly revoke the magnitude of migraines in children, teenagers and adults (50, 51, 52).

The efficacy seems to be dose-dependent. One study showed that 75 mg was significantly some-more effective than a placebo, since 50 mg was not found to be effective (52).

Keep in mind that unprocessed butterbur can be toxic, as it contains compounds that may boost the risk of cancer and liver damage. These compounds are private from blurb varieties.

SUMMARY: Butterbur is an herbal addition proven to revoke the magnitude of migraines.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that plays an essential role in appetite metabolism.

It is both constructed by your physique and found in several foods. These embody meat, fish, liver, broccoli and parsley. It is also sole as a supplement.

One study found that CoQ10 scarcity may be some-more common in children and teenagers with migraines. It also showed that CoQ10 supplements significantly reduced headache magnitude (53).

The efficacy of CoQ10 supplements has been reliable by other studies as well.

In one study, holding 150 mg of CoQ10 for 3 months reduced the series of migraine days by 61% in over half of participants (54).

Another study showed that holding 100 mg of CoQ10 3 times a day for 3 months had identical results. However, the supplements caused digestive and skin problems in some people (55).

SUMMARY: Coenzyme Q10 supplements may be an effective way to revoke migraine frequency.

Vitamins and minerals

A few studies have reported that vitamin or vegetable supplements may impact the magnitude of migraine attacks.

These embody the following:

  • Folate: Several studies have compared low folate intake with an increasing magnitude of migraines (56, 57).
  • Magnesium: Inadequate intake of magnesium may boost the risk of menstrual migraines (58, 59, 60).
  • Riboflavin: One study showed that holding 400 mg of riboflavin a day for 3 months reduced the magnitude of migraine attacks by half in 59% of participants (61).

More justification is indispensable before any clever claims can be done about the role of these vitamins in migraines.

SUMMARY: Inadequate intake of folate, riboflavin or magnesium may boost the risk of migraines. However, the justification is singular and some-more studies are needed.

The Bottom Line

Scientists are not wholly certain what causes migraines.

Studies show that certain dishes and beverages may trigger them. However, their aptitude is debated, and the justification not wholly consistent.

Commonly reported dietary migraine triggers embody alcoholic beverages, processed beef and aged cheese. Caffeine withdrawal, fasting and some nutritious deficiencies are also suspected to play a role.

If you get migraines, a health veteran can suggest treatment, including medication medications.

Supplements like coenzyme Q10 and butterbur may also revoke the magnitude of migraines in some people.

Additionally, a food diary competence help you learn if any of the dishes you eat are related to migraine attacks. After identifying intensity triggers, you should see if expelling them from your diet creates a difference.

Most importantly, you should try to say a healthy lifestyle, equivocate stress, get good nap and eat a offset diet.

This essay was creatively published by Healthline. Reprinted with permission.

Dr. Atli Arnarson is a protected nutritionist. He binds a PhD in Nutrition from the University of Iceland and a BSc in biology.

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